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All Dog Breeds >>History of Bloodhound

The St Hubert was, according to legend, first bred ca. 1000 AD by monks at the Saint-Hubert Monastery in Belgium; its origins are likely in France, home of many of modern hounds. From ca. 1200 the monks of the Abbey of St Hubert annually sent several pairs of black hounds as a gift to the King of France. They were not always highly thought of in the royal pack. Charles IX 1550-74, preferred the larger Chien-gris, and wrote that the St Huberts were suitable for people with gout to follow, but not for those who wished to shorten the life of the hunted animal. He described them as pack-hounds of medium stature, and long in the body, not well sprung in the rib and of no great strength.[3] Writing in 1561 Jaques de Fouilloux describes them as strong of body, but with low, short legs.

He says they have become mixed in breeding, so that they are now of all colours and widely distributed. Both writers thought them only useful as leash hounds. They appear to have been more highly thought of during the reign of Henry IV (1553-1610), who presented a pack to James I of England. By the end of the reign of Louis XIV (1715), they were already rare. In 1788, D’Yauville who was master of the Royal hounds says those sent by the St Hubert monks, once much prized, had degenerated, and scarcely one of the annual gift of six or eight was now kept. Upon the French Revolution of 1789 the gifts ceased, and hunting in France went into a decline till the end of the Napoleonic wars. When it recovered during the 19th Century, huntsmen, with many breeds to choose from, seem to have had little interest in the St Hubert. An exception was Baron Le Couteulx de Canteleu, who tried to find them. He reported that there were hardly any to be found in France and those to be met with in the Ardennes had been so much crossed that they had not preserved the characteristics of the breed.

It was generally agreed among writers on the Bloodhound in the last two centuries that the original St Hubert strain died out in the nineteenth century, and that the European St Hubert owes its present existence to the development of the Bloodhound.