FCI standard Nº 84

Mrs Jeans-Brown, revised by Mr R. Pollet and R. Triquet
Group 6 Scenthounds and related breeds
Section 1.1 Large sized hounds
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 12 August 1960
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 13 March 2001
Last update
Friday 12 July 2002
En français, cette race se dit
Chien de Saint-Hubert
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
En español, esta raza se dice
Perro de San Huberto
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd


Scent hound for large game venery, service dog, tracking dog and family dog. It was and it must always remain a hound which due to its remarkable sense of smell is foremost a leash hound, often used not only to follow the trail of wounded game as in the blood scenting trials but also to seek out missing people in police operations. Due to its functional construction, the Bloodhound is endowed with great endurance and also an exceptional nose which allows it to follow a trail over a long distance and difficult terrain without problems.

Brief historical summary

Large scent hound and excellent leash hound, with very ancient antecedents. For centuries it has been known and appreciated for its exceptional nose and its great talent for the hunt. It was bred in the Ardennes by the monks of the Abbaye de Saint-Hubert. It is presumed to descend from black or black and tan hounds hunting in packs which were used in the 7th century by the monk Hubert, who was later made a bishop and who when canonised became the patron saint of hunters. These big scent hounds spread throughout the Ardennes, due to the presence of large game, sheltering in the widespread forests of the region. These Saint- Hubert hounds were famed for their robustness and their endurance, especially when hunting wild boar.
The first Saint-Hubert hounds were black but later black and tan was also to be found. In the 11th century these dogs were imported into England by William the Conqueror. At the same time, dogs of the same type but with an all-white coat, called Talbots, were also introduced there.
In England the imported dogs provided the basic root stock. The progeny of these Bloodhounds received their name as a derivation of " blooded hound " which means a dog of pure blood, therefore a pure-bred.
Subsequently the breed was also developed in the United States of America. In the Southern States especially, these dogs were used for hunting runaway slaves.

General appearance

Large-sized hound and massive leash hound, the most powerful of all the scent hounds. It is harmonious in its lines, endowed with strong bone, good muscle and a lot of substance, but without ever appearing heavy. It is long in structure, fitting into a rectangle. The overall appearance is imposing and full of nobility. Its attitude is solemn. The head and neck attract attention because of their abundant, supple and thin skin, hanging in deep folds. Its movement is impressive, rather slow and with a certain rolling gait but lithe, elastic and free. No characteristic should be so exaggerated as to destroy the harmony of the whole, to give an over-done appearance or even less to harm the health or well-being of the dog.
Among possible exaggerations should be mentioned eyes which are too deep set or too small; distended eyelids; too much and too loose skin with too many and too deep folds; too much dewlap; too narrow a head. Dogs which are too big, with bodies too heavy or too massive, are equally undesirable because this impedes their function.

Important proportions

Length of body / height at withers : 10 / 9.
Depth of chest / height at withers : 1 / 2.
Length of head / length of body : 3 / 7.
Length of muzzle / length of head : 1/2 .

Behaviour / temperament

Gentle, placid, kind and sociable with people. Particularly attached to its owner. Tolerant of kennel companions and other domestic animals. Somewhat reserved and stubborn. Just as sensitive to compliments as to corrections. Never aggressive. Its voice is deep but it rarely barks.


Cranial region

The most characteristic point of the breed is the imposing and majestic head, full of nobility. It is deep but narrow in relation to its length and long in relation to the length of the body. The bone structure is clearly visible. The lateral sides are flattened and the profile is square. The topline of the muzzle is near1y on the same plane as the upper outline of the skull. On the forehead and cheeks, the abundant thin skin forms wrinkles and deep folds, falling when the head is carried low and continuing into the strongly developed folds of the dewlap. The skin is less abundant in the female.
The skull is deep, long, rather narrow with flattened sides. The brows are not prominent although they may appear so. The occipital peak is very developed and distinctly pronounced. 
Only slightly marked.

Facial region

Black or brown, always black on black and tan dogs. The nose is broad, well-developed, with wide open nostrils.
As long as the skull, deep, broad near the nostrils and of equal width throughout its length. The topline of the muzzle is muzzle is either straight or slightly convex ( slight ram's nose ).
Very long and limp ; the upper lips fall over the lower lips and at the front form a right angle with the upper line of the foreface, which gives a square profile to the muzzle. Towards the corners of the mouth they become fleshy flews ( less pronounced in the female ) which blend imperceptibly into the abundant dewlap. The edge of the upper lips comes down about 5 cm below the lower jaw. The edge of the lips is well-pigmented, black or brown, depending on the nose colour.
Jaws and teeth
Complete dentition, in correct scissor bite; strong white teeth, set regularly in well-developed jaws. A pincer bite is tolerated.
Hollowed and lean, especially under the eyes.
Dark brown or hazel, of a lighter hue ( amber ) in dogs without black saddle or mantle. Eyes of moderate size, oval, not weeping, neither protruding nor sunk into the socket, leaving the iris totally visible. Lids with no irregularity in their contour, normally fitting around the eye-ball ; lower lids a little slack so that a little haw is visible are nevertheless tolerated. At no time should the eye-lashes touch or interfere with the eyes. The expression is gentle, kind and dignified, with a rather melancholy air.
Thin and supple, covered in short hair, delicate and velvety to the touch ; very long lobes, reaching at least beyond the end of the nose when they are laid on the upper line of the foreface; ears set very low, level with the eyes or even lower, on the side of the head, falling in graceful folds curling inwards and backwards (curling ears).


Long so that the dog can follow the trail with its nose on the ground ; strongly muscled ; the skin of the throat is loose and extremely developed, presenting a double dewlap, but this is less pronounced in the female.


The topline and underline are almost parallel.
Slightly pronounced.
Straight, broad, long and solid.
Broad, strong, short, very slightly arched.
Well-muscled, almost horizontal, never falling away, very broad and quite long.
Oval in shape, broad, well let down, clearly forming a keel between the forelegs; thoracic cage long enough ; forechest and point of shoulder standing out, ribs well-sprung, neither flat nor barrel.
Underline and belly
Underline almost horizontal ; underside of chest well let down ; flanks well filled, broad and let down ; belly only very slightly tucked up.


Long, strong, thick, set high, in continuation of the dorsal line ,tapering gradually towards the tip; carried sabre fashion ; on the move the tail curves gracefully above the line of the back, never curled or twisting sideways .The underside of the tail is furnished with harsher hair, about 5 cm long, which becomes progressively shorter towards the tip.



Well-muscled, powerful forequarters, straight and perfectly parallel.
Long, well-sloping, well-muscled but not over-loaded.
Upper arm
Long, sloping and forming good angulation with the shoulder.
Well set, neither turning out nor in.
Straight, strong round bone.
Sturdy , upright seen from the front, slightly forward sloping seen from the side.
Compact, very solid, neither toeing in nor out ; toes well-arched, well knuckled up and tight (cat feet) ; thick solid pads ; short strong nails.


Solid, powerfully muscled, well-balanced with the forequarters; seen from behind perfectly parallel, neither close nor open.
Upper thigh
Good length and strongly muscled.
Lower thigh
Sufficiently long and strongly muscled.
Well-angulated, neither turning in nor out.
Strong and short.
Solid , close to the ground and well-angulated.
Hind feet
Like front foot.

Gait and movement

The assessment of the very typical movement of the Bloodhound is extremely important. At its normal gait, the trot , the movement is even, with measured steps, springy and free, covering more ground than any other scent hound and very characteristic of the breed, rolling but without crabbing. The hind legs move well at the back , there is good drive from the hindquarters, the reach of the fore and hindquarter movements is equal and the topline remains horizontal. The limbs move parallel but at greater speed the feet single-track. The tail is carried high like a sabre without the curve becoming too pronounced. The Bloodhound must be capable of maintaining a trot for a long period of time without showing signs of tiredness.


Supple over all the body , loose and elastic. The thin skin, very loose and abundant over the head, is very characteristic. On the forehead and the lateral sides of the foreface, the skin forms folds which hang down and which are even more noticeable when the head is carried low .However over-done wrinkles and folds on the forehead and brows must never harm the eyes. Folds of skin on the body due to too much skin are not desirable.


On the body , the close-lying hair is short, dense, quite harsh and weatherproof. On the head and ears the hair is very short and soft to the touch. The underside of the tail is furnished with hair a little longer and coarser.
There are three distinct coat colours : the bicolours black and tan and liver and tan and the unicolour red. Among black and tan dogs the amount of black varies, according to whether it is a mantle or a saddle. In a dog with a mantle, black is predominant : the tan ( fawn ) is only found on the muzzle, the cheeks, above the eyes , on the forechest, on the limbs and the anal region. A dog with a saddle has a greater expanse of tan because the black is more or less limited to the dorsal region.
The same positioning of coloured zones is to be found in the bicoloured liver and tan. The colours are not always clearly stated nor distinctly defined. In the darker areas, it is possible to find them interspersed with lighter or badger hairs. Such a mixture of different coloured hairs is allowed.
For the unicoloured red, the red can vary from light red to dark red. A washed-out tan for bicolours or red for unicolours is not sought after.
A little white on the forechest, on the toes and at the tip of the tail is tolerated without being sought after.

Size and weight

Height at withers
The ideal height is 68 cm for males. 62 cm for females. Tolerance of 4 cm more or less.
Males about 46 - 54 kg, females about 40 – 48 kg. Height and weight must be balanced.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 General appearance : Cloddy; lacking in substance; light bone; too high or too low on leg, square construction rather than rectangular ; lack of nobility.
 Head : Skull broad and voluminous or excessively narrow ; receding forehead ; skin on forehead falling too far forward; occipital peak not sufficiently pronounced; too marked a stop; bridge of nose concave; muzzle short or not deep enough; top lips not pendulous enough.
 Nose and lips : Loss of pigment.
 Dentition : Teeth missing.
 Eyes : Too small, too sunken in sockets ; lower lid too pendulous, too much haw visible.
 Ears : Too short, too thick, set above the eyeline, too close to the head, too flat.
 Neck : Short, slender, very little dewlap.
 Body : Short or too long; chest not well let down, forechest not protruding enough in profile; slab-sided or barrel-chested ; weak or arched back, croup overbuilt or falling away; belly too tucked up.
 Tail : Low set; squirrel tail, ring tail, curled tail; knotty or kinked tail; hook or deviated tail.
 Limbs : Under or over angulated ; short upper arm ; not upright seen in profile ( front pasterns too sloping or wrists weak ), nor from the front ( feet turning out or in, forearm curved, elbows out etc ) or from behind ( hind legs too close together, wide apart or barrelled ; hocks closed or open etc); spreading, hare or flat feet.
 Gait / Movement : Close movement or open; weaving, crabbing, restricted or stilted gait ; mincing gait; poor transmission by the back.
 Coat colour : Light or washed-out colours.
 Temperament : Lacking in confidence or shy.

Disqualifying faults

 Temperament : Aggressive or overly shy ; any dog showing signs of physical anomaly should be eliminated.
 General appearance : Lack of breed type.
 Dentition : Over or under shot; wry jaw; crooked mouth.
 Nose and lips : Very lacking in pigment or pink ; anything other than black in black and tan dogs; anything other than brown or black in dogs without black saddle or mantle.
 Eyes : Light yellow ( hawk eyes ).
 Coat colour : Any colours which do not correspond to those described ; too widespread white markings, such as white going up as far as wrists or hocks, or too much white on the forechest ; white patches anywhere other than the forechest, toes and tip of tail, like a white muzzle or a white blaze etc.
 Size : Outside the tolerated limits.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

With the Gris de Saint-Louis, brought back by the king of his crusades in the Orient, the Fauves de Bretagne and the White Dogs of the King, the Dog of Saint-Hubert is one of the four breeds of royal dogs cited by Charles IX as ancestors of all dogs of great venery.

Already, in the fourteenth century, Gaston Phoebus, Count of Foix, one of the greatest huntsmen in history, extolled the merits of the black dogs he had found at the Abbaye Ardennes under the patronage of Saint Hubert, protector of traditional hunters. Gaston Phoebus used these black dogs as bloodhounds, with fire marks on his eyebrows and a little roux in his coat. The monks of Saint-Hubert, who raised these dogs, offered their six most beautiful young subjects each year to the King of France, on the occasion of his birthday. This tradition, which lasted until 1789, helped to make Saint-Hubert the most famous of the French common dogs under the Ancien Régime, since it was the pride of the great royal packs.

After the Revolution, the race collapsed. At the end of the last century, Count Le Couteulx de Canteleu regretted that there were only a few Saint-Hubert left in France, and it was probably Bloodhounds of English origin. In fact, as early as the 11th century, William the Conqueror had brought St Hubert's Dogs to England, who were certainly crossed with Mastiffs, one of the oldest known breeds in Britain. And if the bloodhounds portrayed by Phoebus often have a thick head, none have the face as wrinkled as that which, characterizing the Mastiff, will end up with the Bloodhound. Until the end of the seventeenth century besides, it was common to dog slogans with the "dogs of strength", which was used to organize spectacular fights against bulls, hence the appearance of the Bulldog and the Bullmastiff, both of which have their muzzle deeply wrinkled, like the present Saint Hubert.

The English long kept the habit of importing Saint-Hubert. Under the reign of Henry IV, indeed, whole packs were taken across the Channel, especially those which M. de Beaumont offered to Queen Elizabeth. The current standard of the breed is, according to the rules of the International Kennel Federation, held by Belgium. It is in fact the return to their country of origin, the Ardennes, dogs mixed with other breeds in England, then set in a new standard.

The Swiss Running Dogs, which are said to be descended from dogs formerly raised in the famous Ardennes abbey, have much finer heads. However, there is one exception: the current Jura dogs, type Saint-Hubert, whose head is massive and wrinkled.

It is therefore essentially in the form of the Bloodhound that St. Hubert survives today in Europe. In France, at the end of last century, Le Couteulx de Canteleu claimed to have raised more than 300, from dogs provided by Mr. Hatford or the packs of Grantley Berkeley (from which came one of his favorites, Druid of Jennings). Today, Mr. Boitard, who for more than fifteen years has already raised at least 500, perseveres; while recognizing that his dogs are well bred with English blood and that the old Saint-Hubert no longer exists.

This dog once had unusual qualities that can be appreciated today through the behavior of the Bloodhound, whose very name is evocative. Indeed, this name, which was given to St. Hubert after he had been born in England, can be translated as "dog of pure blood" or "dog near blood". Very fine nose, the Saint-Hubert was used by the monks of the Ardennes to find the pilgrims who were lost in the immense forests. Hence the habit, later, among the English, to use Bloodhounds to find escaped convicts of penitentiaries.

Not fast, but very catchy: this definition corresponds well to the dogs that the count of Foix, then the kings of France, wanted to use especially as bloodhounds. Moreover, in Britain, this dog is also called "Sleuth Dog" (sleuth is, originally, a term which refers to a bloodhound, in the canine sense of the word, but which has passed into popular language for indicate a cunning detective, which is found, in French, in the expression "fin limier").

In the United States, too, the Bloodhound is used to find fugitives on the run. The French breeder quotes on this subject several revealing anecdotes. For example, a Louisiana police journal has published a snippet that is a true patent of efficiency: "Bayou, Mr. Fesk's private bloodhound, has finally found Jo Kent, who has been fleeing the penitentiary for ten days. Mr. Fesk pulled out his dog early Saturday at 6:30 am Jo Kent was found late afternoon in the swamps of St. Rose County. Still according to Mr. Boitard, a Bloodhound tracked a killer on the run for fifteen days. The pads of his feet were in blood, like his nostrils, which irritated the abundant dust he breathed. The dog found the fugitive, while the police could not locate it despite the help of two helicopters. Our breeder has also sold dogs to firefighters to search for lost people. They are, according to the users, more effective in this role than the German Shepherds.

For hunters, the main defect of the Bloodhound is its slowness, which explains why it has been gradually neglected in France. But his delicate nose and his perseverance make him excellent as a bloodhound or as a rapper, and, like his ancestor Saint-Hubert, he remains the best tracker of all hounds, with a voice whose stamp is of a beautiful power. However, the venery having difficulty surviving, the Bloodhound is no longer used in France by shooting fighters, who also make a dog of blood. In the same way, it is very popular in Germany for the search for injured big game.

Besides his thinness of nose and tenacity (The Couteulx Canteleu did not he said that, obstinately, a Bloodhound is able to force a deer alone?), The Dog Saint-Hubert will be a great attachment to his master, at least if he does not mistreat him. On the other hand, he may be vindictive with other representatives of the species.

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