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The Blood Hound Dog
( Originally Published 1894 )
The bloodhound whether because less needed now than formally or not, is less cultivated and is therefore more rare. Mr. Bell's description of the breed is as follows:-" They stand twentyeight inches high at the shoulder; the muzzle broad and full; the upper lip large and pendulous; the vertex of the head protuberant; the expression stern, thoughtful, and noble; the breast broad; the limbs strong and muscular; and the original colour a deep tan, with large black clouds. They are silent when following their scent; and in this respect differ from other hounds, who are generally gifted with fine deep voices. Numbers, under the name of sleuth-hounds, used to be kept on the Borders; and kings and troopers, perhaps equally marauders, have in olden times found it difficult to evade them. The noble Bruce had several narrow escapes from them; and the only sure way to destroy their scent was to spill blood upon the track. In all the common routine of life they are good-natured and intelligent, and make excellent watch-dogs. A story is related of a nobleman, who, to make a trial whether a young hound was well instructed, desired one of his servants to walk to a town four miles off, and then to a market town three miles from thence. The dog, without seeing the man he was to pursue, followed him by the scent to the above mentioned places, notwithstanding the multitude of marketpeople that went along the same road, and of travellers that had occasion to come; and when the bloodhound came to the market town, he passed through the streets without taking notice of any of the people there, and ceased not till he had gone to the house where the man he sought rested himself, and where he found him in an upper room, to the wonder of those who had accompanied him in this pursuit."
A strong characteristic of the Bloodhound is of course his remarkable scent for blood.
"Bloodhounds," says Bingley, "were formerly used in certain districts lying between England and Scotland, that were much infested by robbers and murderers; and a tax was laid on the inhabitants for keeping and maintaining a certain number of these animals. Some few are yet kept in the northern parts of the kingdom, and in the lodges of the royal forests, where they are used in pursuit of deer that have been previously wounded. They are also sometimes employed in discovering deer-stealers, whom they infallibly trace by the blood that issues from the wounds of their victims. A very extraordinary instance of this occurred in the New Forest, in the year 1810, and was related to me by the Right Hon. G. H. Rose. A person, in getting over a stile into a field near the Forest, remarked that there was blood upon it. Immediately afterwards he recollected that some deer had been killed, and several sheep stolen in the neighbourhood; and that this might possibly be the blood of one that had been killed in the preceding night. The man went to the nearest lodge to give information; but the keeper being from home, he was under the necessity of going to Rhinefield Lodge, which was at a considerable distance. Toomer, the under-keeper, went with him to the place, accompanied by a bloodhound. The dog, when brought to the spot, was laid on the scent; and after following for about a mile the track which the depredator had taken, he came at last to a heap of furze fagots belonging to the family of a cottager. The woman of the house attempted to drive the dog away, but was prevented; and on the fagots being removed a hole was discovered in the ground, which contained the body of a sheep that had recently been killed, and also a considerable quantity of salted meat. The circumstance which renders this account the more remarkable is, that the dog was not brought to the scent until more than sixteen hours had elapsed after the man had carried away the sheep."