by Kathy Dannel Vitcak 3 min read


When you think of dogs sniffing and trying and using their super-power nose what breed pops into mind? Was it the Bloodhound? Of course, the Bloodhound has the world's most famous nose.


Bloodhounds have 300,000,000 scent grabbing cells compared to our 5,000,000.

From Dogs' sense of smell overpowers our own by orders of magnitude—it's 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute, scientists say. "Let's suppose they're just 10,000 times better," says James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, who, with several colleagues, came up with that jaw-dropping estimate during a rigorously designed, oft-cited study. "If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well."

bloodhound form function


Everything about the Bloodhound from their traits to anatomy is geared toward supporting their sniffing ability. The long pendulous ears sweep the ground and are through to waft smells up toward the nose for capturing and cataloging. 

Their wrinkled jowls also grab smells for later processing. And believe it or not, the slobber that flies as they gallop along acts like uber-sticky dog flypaper capturing more scent particles. 

Their deepset eyes are protected from being scratched as they push through thickets in pursuit of their target. Not only are the eyes deeply set, the heavy brow of their top skull and extra eyelid tissue helps keep eyes safe. 


We credit the monks of St. Hubert's Abbey in Belgium with establishing the bloodlines and finessing the various traits of the Bloodhound breed that became known as St. Hubert's hounds.They are credited with breeding the best combination of dogs to bring out the best tracking dog on earth. Bloodhounds are still called St. Hubert hounds in many parts of Europe. 

The Basset Hound originated from the same dogs as did the Bloodhound, but their short, stocky legs relegated them to working beside hunters on foot. The longer-legged dogs were bred to keep their height and be able to run with men on horseback.

Bloodhounds were prized by nobility of Europe throughout history from the middle ages up through the French Revolution, as they were used not only to track game but also to trail poachers or serfs who dared to run away.



Bloodhounds are the ONLY breed of dog whose testimony is deemed admissible in a court of law in the USA. No other breed can claim this kind of legal clout.

Today's Bloodhound has a dedicated group of fanciers who show them in conformation and tracking trials. The Bloodhound is also used by law enforcement for search and rescue work in finding lost or missing people. And of course, the Bloodhound still works tracking escaped convicts, lawbreakers and those on the run.

How many movies have we all seen when someone calls out, "Release the hounds!" and the Bloodhounds baying can be heard!


Think of the Bloodhound the next time your spouse or significant other thrusts some unidentified item in a Cool Whip bowl they found in the back of the fridge and asks, "Does this smell off?" The Bloodhound three miles down the road would know it is eight week-old tuna casserole that should be removed by the HAZMAT team and disposed of FAST. 


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