Scapegoats: Part 1 - The Bloodhound

In what might be the pit bull apologia’s most sinister machination of all, Jane Berkey et al are attempting to besmirch the image of the Bloodhound in an effort to elevate the image of their beloved pit fighter. On August 25, the Minnesota City Pages ran a four page discussion of dangerous dogs. And there at the bottom of page one: “Pit bulls weren’t always considered dangerous dogs—that honor has shifted from breed to breed throughout history. In the 1880s, bloodhounds tormented the populace.” This reeks of the Animal Farm Foundation, Karen Delise and Andrew Yori. Yori is on the Berkey payroll, a recipient of one of the Vick dogs and a Minnesota resident.

The best lies always possess a kernel of truth to create the illusion of credibility. Yes, before the pit bull, before the rottweiler, before the doberman or the german shepherd, the bugaboo breed was the bloodhound, the CUBAN Bloodhound and the SIBERIAN Bloodhound.

When I say the word Bloodhound, the image of a large brown & black dog with loose skin, long, pendulous ears and a plaintive howl will come to mind. A very distinctive looking dog.

When I say Cuban Bloodhound, do you see a large muscular mastiff/bulldog cross with short cropped ears and a muzzle more suitable to the function of violence and savagery? Or do you still see McGruff the crime dog? The Cuban Bloodhound is presumed to be extinct by most and information about the dog is not impossible but not easy to find.

The Cuban Bloodhound aka Spanish Bloodhound aka Southern Bloodhound aka American Bloodhound
Hilary Harmar briefly addresses the Cuban Bloodhounds in her Bloodhound History. Harmar describes the Cubans as "extremely ferocious and savage creatures" with smaller ears, pointed muzzles and very little connection to the true Bloodhounds.

The White English Bulldog Preservation Society describes Cuban Bloodhounds as similar to the Presa Canario or the Dogo Argentino, dogs that most people classify as pit bull type dogs. The WEBPS describes the dog used by the United States Army during the Seminole Indian War, “This dog depicted could easily be mistaken for an APBT, yet history records this to be a Cuban Bloodhound, known in the south today as the Brindle Bulldog.” The WEBPS claims that only the name is extinct, not the dog and that it still exists in the south as the Brindle Bulldog. The Cuban Bloodhound was not a scent hound, it bore absolutely no physical or temperamental resemblence to the true British Bloodhound. The Cuban Bloodhound was in fact a big game hunting and guarding dog, much like the Presa or the Dogo. A dog with a violent function. It was bred to be a fearless dog that used brute force to capture runaway slaves, exterminate the Seminole Indians and terrorize union soldiers.

The White English Bulldog Preservation Society contends that the Cuban Bloodhound is the “direct ancestor of the Brindle Bulldog and Old Red Bulldog, (a large, highly aggressive guard dog being red in color, and quite rare), of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is said that this Old Red Bulldog is a cross of the Cuban Bulldog and Dogue de Bordeaux, and was developed in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries as a ferocious and malevolent guard dog. The Cuban Bloodhound was a key ingredient in the makeup of many guard and hunting type dogs of the south in early American history, thus the highly aggressive behavior; the notorious “mean streak;” that has followed bulldogs in American history.” NOTE: Training and environment does not follow the bulldog through history, genetics does.

The Siberian Bloodhound aka Russian Bloodhound
The descriptions of Siberian Bloodhounds that I have found vary. Some sources say it is similar to a Great Dane while another source claims it is synonymous with the Great Dane and yet another describes a St Bernard type dog. However, none of them come close to describing a TRUE Bloodhound. That’s because they were not, even though that is what the evil genius Karen Delise wants you to believe.

The Genuine English Bloodhound aka British Bloodhound
Bloodhounds made their way to the United States around 1880. The first importer of Bloodhounds was Jenks L Winchell of Fair Haven, Vermont. In 1881, Winchell retired from his New York magazine and established a Bloodhound kennel in Vermont. He was also the first president of the English Bloodhound Club in America. Bloodhounds were rare and valuable dogs at that time. Yet, as I will demomstrate later, Delise will have you believe that the rare and high priced Bloodhound, in America for less than a decade, was already terrorizing Americans. A quick check of the AKC Stud Books in 1889 reveals that only 14 Bloodhounds were registered. Taking advantage of Google yet again, reveals the value of the Bloodhound. In 1889, John Winchell of Fair Haven, Vermont purchased 2 dogs from a London police chief. The English Bloodhounds were valued at $1000 each. It seems extremely unlikely that dogs valued at $1000 in the 1880’s would not be registered with the AKC, nor would they be chained, be allowed to roam or be used as a guard dog.

Breed Confusion
There does seem to be some confusion between the different Bloodhounds back in the day but nothing like the pit bull apologia is deliberately attempting to drum up now. Part of the confusion can be attributed to the 1852 classic ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Although nowhere in the book does Harriet Beecher Stowe mention Bloodhounds of any kind, Siberian Bloodhounds were used in the stage reproduction of the book and the vicious hounds took on a life of their own. Ironically, a quick search of the book which is available at www.gutenberg.org, yields one reference to a “hound” and two “bull-dog” references. “Legree had trained them in savageness and brutality as systematically as he had his bull-dogs; and, by long practice in hardness and cruelty, brought their whole nature to about the same range of capacities.” Notice the use of the word trained. In reality, fox hounds were initally used to track runaway slaves but they would not bite. Because the fox hound had never been bred to hunt and bite people, these hounds could not be trained, encouraged, or coerced to attack the slaves. This forced slave owners to import Cuban bloodhounds, a dog that had been bred by the Spanish to hunt and kill and that had been successfully used to terrorize natives and slaves in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It is also important to point out that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published approximately 25 years BEFORE the first Bloodhound was imported to America. In addition to the use of Siberian bloodhounds in the stage production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, breed confusion can also be ascribed to the slave owners overemphasizing the ‘blood’ in Bloodhound to promote fear among the slaves.

Some authors describe the Cuban as a Mastiff and others describe it as a Bulldog. In all likelihood, they are all correct. The Cuban Bloodhound was bred for function not form and therefore a great deal of variation existed. All of the Cuban Bloodhound sources that I could locate agree on it’s temperament and they do not paint a pretty picture.

Walter Dyer attempted to repair the damage done to the British Bloodhound in 1917 when he wrote “The Maligned Hound” for The New Country Life. “The so-called Cuban Bloodhound which was used in Jamaica and the Southern States was not a bloodhound in the true sense of the word. He probably possessed less hound than mastiff blood, with perhaps an infusion of bulldog.” Dyer then points out that while the Cuban bloodhound was ready to “tear his victim limb from limb”, the true bloodhound would never attack. Yvette Uroshevich, a contemporary breeder of Fila Brasileros, dogs whose original function was similar to the Cuban Bloodhound writes “If a slave did escape, the Filas were used to track them down. Unlike their ancestor, the Bloodhound, the Fila Brasileiro will grab and hold at the end of the trail.”

Cuban and Siberian Bloodhound Ban

Even before the Civil War people who attempted to keep Cuban Bloodhounds for any other purpose than controlling, terrorizing and hunting slaves found these dogs to be dangerous to keep, and after the end of slavery, these dogs became useless as well as dangerous.

Jesse Edward, an English natural historian had this to say about the Cuban Bloodhound in 1858, “I had one of these Cuban bloodhounds given to me a few years ago, and finding him somewhat more ferocious than I liked, I made a present of him to a keeper in the neighbourhood. He was put into a kennel with other dogs, and soon killed some of them.”

In an article from 1870, Oliver Optic’s magazine, the Cuban Bloodhound or Southern Bloodhound is described as “The bloodhound of the south, and perhaps known best as the Cuban bloodhound, is not of the genuine breed, but is descended from the Biscayne Mastiff, and is trained to fight as well as to hunt. He is inferior to the hound in his powers of following a trail, but is bloodthirsty and cruel. Slavery found a use for these terrible dogs, and the negroes feared them more than the lash or musket of the master; and during the rebellion these hounds served only too well their masters’ inhuman commands. This article was written approximately 10 years before the British Bloodhound was imported to America and 5 years after Henry Wirz was hanged for committing civil war crimes in a Georgia Prison. Wirz used Cuban Bloodhounds against the union soldiers at the Andersonville Prison. See photo of "Spot" above.

By the 1880s people recognized that the Cuban and the Siberian Bloodhounds were too dangerous to be kept like other dogs. In 1886, the state of Massachusetts banned the Cuban and Siberian Bloodhounds:
(sections 2 and 3 are the fines and penalties for violating the law)

Six years later the law was amended to exclude English bloodhounds.

Recognition of the Genuine English Bloodhound
Scottish naturalist and canine historian Henry Downing Richardson felt the Cuban Bloodhound was not entitled to the bloodhound designation. “It is only fair that that gentle and affectionate animal – the genuine bloodhound – a dog far from being cruel or ferocious, should be distinctly separated from these, his disreputable namesakes.”

Wade Hampton, former governor, former senator and Commissioner of Railroads, noted the distinction between the Cuban Bloodhound and the true Bloodhound in 1894, “The Cuban bloodhound is a fierce, intractable dog.” “The English bloodhound, on the contrary, is a noble dog, gentle, sagacious and affectionate.” Hampton goes on to state that he has hunted with both bloodhounds and described the Cuban as “generally worthless for this purpose.”

Author of "British Dogs: Their Points, Selection and Show Preparation, William D. Drury describes the temperament of the bloodhound as “extremely affectionate, neither quarrelsome with companions nor with other dogs. His nature is somewhat shy, and equally sensitive to kindness or correction by his master”. In contrast Drury states the Cuban Bloodhounds were “savage brutes”. “In the Southern States of America it was customary to hunt escaped slaves with hounds and to call those hounds Bloodhounds. It is not wise to make sweeping assertions, and no doubt each district had its special strain of man-hunters, but whatever else these might be, they were not Bloodhounds.”

And finally, Judge John Camillus McWhorter was disturbed by the courts willingness to accept the Bloodhounds’ scenting abilities as a evidence. In 1920, Judge McWhorter diligently researched the subject of Bloodhounds. Judge McWhorter consulted with the leading authority on the British Bloodhounds, Count Le Couteulx De Cautelue and found that the Bloodhound is “docile and affectionate” and so “slow and plodding”, it was rendered useless for hunting animals so it was crossed with the fox terrier to produce fox hounds. The Judge found that the Bloodhound’s savage image was a myth and noted that the kind and affectionate Bloodhound could not be “induced to hurt anyone”. He also realized that any discussion of the true Bloodhound must by necessity include the vicious Cuban Bloodhound because the two dogs were often confused. Judge McWhorter notes that the Cuban bloodhounds were “vicious”. In contrast, the true Bloodhounds were often found at the end of their trail being pet by the person they were pursuing. The Judge’s research found there were no true Bloodhounds in America during slavery and they were not imported until just before 1880. The dogs of choice were fox hounds for scenting (who also could not be induced to inflict harm) and Cuban bloodhounds for capturing their property. The Judge traced the myth of the Bloodhound’s infallible nose to the slave owners who used the fox hounds and called them Bloodhounds and exaggerated their scenting abilities to keep their slaves intimidated. Of course, the reputation of the vicious Cuban Bloodhound helped keep them intimidated too. The Judge believed the Cubans were the result of a cross between the Great Dane which at that time was doing the work that the Dogo and the American Bulldog now excels at - hunting hogs and the Cuban Mastiff - a guarding/fighting dog.

Now that we have become familiar with the historical TRUTHS about "Bloodhounds", let’s see what the pit bull apologia tries to pass off as the truth.

When the average person hears that bloodhounds were the monsters of the 1800’s, they automatically visualize McGruff the Crime Dog. The damage is done. Karen Delise succeeds in further muddying the dangerous dog waters and advancing the pit bull agenda, while slandering an ancient breed dog with absolutely NO documented history of attacks. Merritt Clifton’s dog bite data, lists NO Bloodhounds in serious or fatal attacks from 1982-2009. Likewise for Delise’s own dog bite statistics in her first book Fatal Dog Attacks, NO Bloodhounds were involved in a dog bite related fatality. As a matter of fact, while researching the Bloodhound, the opinions seems unanimous, this dog is probably THE most docile of hounds.
The Bloodhound aficionados on dogbreedinfo.com advise owners to supervise child/dog interactions NOT for the sake of the children but for the sake of the dog! “The Bloodhound is a kind, patient, noble, mild-mannered and lovable dog. Gentle, affectionate and excellent with children. This is truly a good natured companion. These dogs are so good-natured that they will lie there and meekly let children clamber all over them. This breed loves all the attention they receive from them. To be fair to your Bloodhound, make sure your children do not pester or hurt the dog, because Bloodhounds will sit there and take it.” Hmmm, sounds almost like a nanny dog. Compare that to what the pit bull apologists scream in unison after a serious or fatal pit bull attack, “never leave children alone with dogs!” as if all dogs possess the same liability.

Karen Delise addresses the Cuban Bloodhound and the Siberian Bloodhound in Chapter Two of her book The Pit Bull Placebo and deliberately blurs the three different breeds of dogs together to strengthen her argument that the human component is the ultimate determining factor of aggressiveness in dogs.

First on the agenda is the statement that started this journey, “Pit bulls weren’t always considered dangerous dogs—that honor has shifted from breed to breed throughout history. In the 1880s, bloodhounds tormented the populace.” Dissecting Delise’s Appendix A, starting on page 176, for the years 1880-1889, Delise recorded 16 serious and fatal dog attacks by “Bloodhounds”. Breaking it down by specific type, Delise lists 11 Bloodhounds, 3 Siberians and 2 Cubans. Recall that Bloodhounds had just come to America around 1880 and in 1889, two bloodhounds were imported from England for $1000 a piece and the AKC had 14 Bloodhounds in their registry. The probabiltity that the dogs identified as Bloodhounds, were in fact true British Bloodhounds given their population and their value seems stasticially impossible.

Cuban Bloodhound
Excerpts from The Pit Bull Placebo
My commentaries are italicized.

"The case previously discussed of the Bloodhounds killing a burglary suspect they were tracking may be a case of “true Bloodhounds” since these dogs were owned by professionals, worked exclusively as tracking dogs, and were identified by the authorities as Bloodhounds." p 25

Authorities? The same kinds of authorities that Delise now claims cannot identify a pit bull?

"It is known that Bloodhound-type dogs were used by both the Union and Confederate armies to hunt down enemy soldiers, as well as in prison camps. And there is little dispute about the fact that Bloodhounds were used to hunt down fleeing suspects. The real dispute at the time was the level of aggression attributed to these dogs. For every media account of a scent dog attacking and inflicting harm on its human quarry, there were long editorials submitted to the newspapers by Bloodhound aficionados explaining the noble and gentle characteristics to be found in this breed. The obvious point that seemed to escape notice was the fact that dogs did indeed perform in both of these fashions, i.e., savagely attacking their quarry at times and at times showing tremendous restraint and gentleness upon reaching their quarry. As the debate swirled about the true nature and behavior of the Bloodhound, the evidence that owners/handlers determined behavior was seldom discussed." p 10

There is no dispute about the level of aggression in the Cuban and Siberian Bloodhounds. These were savage brutes. The dogs performed in both fashions because they were two different breeds. The only swirling debate is in the minds of desperate pit nutters attempting to create disinformation about the British Bloodhound in the same way that they create disinformation in the pit bull, ie, the nanny dog.

"Many people owned Bloodhounds in the late 1800s," p 20

Many? How about fourteen people.

"So while there can be debate over which breeds of dog contributed to the genetic makeup of the Cuban Bloodhound, it is really of little significance. The behaviors of these animals had little to do with breed genetics and everything to do with the depravity of their masters." p 23

There are two problems with this statement. First, the genetic makeup of these dogs has been determined, they were pit bull type dogs. And second, as demonstrated previously, the "depraved masters" failed to create vicious attack dogs out of the Fox Hounds.

"And so we find, despite the numerous reports of Bloodhound related attacks and fatalities, there is no documented case where a St. Hubert’s/British or “true” Bloodhound was ever positively identified." p 26

And there it is. The one sentence out of 200 pages that speaks the truth and it is lost in the obstreperous roar of the evil genius' adoring fans.

"Here again, we have dogs that, although prized for aggression towards humans, still functioned as tracking or scent dogs, which makes the designation “Bloodhound” technically correct." p 27

I think if the tables were turned, this would be the point in the discussion where all of the pit nutters start to scream "THAT'S NOT A PIT BULL!"

"The following lose-lose situation for a Siberian Bloodhound took place in 1882 in New York City. The son of a policeman was walking a huge Siberian Bloodhound on a “cord” when approached by the owner of a varnishing company. The merchant wished to purchase the dog to guard his factory. The dog was sold for $5 and promptly put to use. Shortly thereafter, an employee showed up one Sunday night to set up the ovens for the next day. The Bloodhound attacked the man and the dog was shot the next morning for his troubles." p 27

This is a perfect example of how the pit bull apologia deliberately distorts reality. I found this New York Times article and the dog is identified as a SIBERIAN Bloodhound, yet in the appendix on page 176, Delise records it as a "Bloodhound". Despicable.

"The behavior of these Bloodhound-type dogs was either the direct result of human encouragement for aggressiveness or the direct result of humans failing to control or use reasonable care with these animals." p 34

The behavior of these Bloodhound-type dogs was the direct result of genetic engineering on the part of depraved masters.

"Cuban Bloodhound, Siberian Bloodhound, British Bloodhound—it matters little, for when these breeds left the hands of those looking for a vicious tracking, attack, or guard dog, severe and fatal attacks by these breeds virtually disappeared from newspaper reports." p 35

The classic deflection of breed matters little or "a dog is a dog is a dog". But the fact remains that even when the gentle British Bloodhound was crossed with a scrappy Fox Terrier to create the Fox Hound, they would not attack the slaves. And I suspect that these breeds "virtually" disappeared from the newspaper reports because people became fed up with this level of savagery and voluntarily gave them up as in the case of Jesse Edward or law makers banned them as they did in Massachusetts in 1886.

In Delise’s zeal to condemn all dogs in order to further her pit bull agenda, she makes a few critical errors.

First, she classifies ALL Bloodhounds as scent hounds, when in fact the CUBAN and SIBERIAN Bloodhounds are guarding/hunting dogs. These dogs didn’t track people, they hunted them. And when they located their human prey, they often savaged them and sometimes even killed them. In contrast, the British Bloodhound is the ultimate tracker and finding the end of the trail is his reward.

Second, Delise describes an 1882 incident in New York where a factory guard dog, a Siberian Bloodhound, attacks an employee (p 27). Delise then records the attack in appendix A on p 176 as simply "Bloodhound", further deliberately blurring the lines between the “bloodhounds” and creating fear around a docile dog.

Third, Delise is highly critical of those who rely on the media reporting of pit bull attacks, yet she herself commits this crime with reckless abandon on attacks that occurred over 100 years ago.

Fourth, Delise tries to reinforce the cruel owner aspect by emphasizing the use of a CORD to control the dog. I found other references during the 1880’s of a leash loosely described as a CORD and ROPE. There were no PetSmarts or Petcos back in the day. People used what they had to make do. They were not necessarily being cruel or abusive.

Fifth, Delise lists the first recorded Bloodhound attack in 1864, approximately FIFTEEN years before the Bloodhound arrived in America!

And sixth, Delise’s biggest mistake was in assuming that no one would check her research. Welcome to google Karen!

The myth of the savage Bloodhound in the 1880's must be stopped before it gains the momentum of the Nanny Dog. Wayne Pacelle, you are in a unique position to ensure that this lie is extinguished.

Beecher Stowe, Harriet Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life among the Lowly, 1852

AKC Stud Book, Volume six, 1889

New York Times Attacked By Bloodhounds, November 22, 1885

New York Times A Siberian Bloodhound Killed, March 24, 1882

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, June 1889

Dyer, Walter The New Country Life, The Maligned Bloodhound, 1917

Citypages.com Dangerous Dogs of North Minneapolis, August 25, 2010

McWhorter, J.C American Law Review, Volume 54, The Bloodhound as a Witness, 1920

Wrightington, Sydney R. The Green Bag, Volume 17, 1905

Jesse, Edward Anecdotes of Dogs, 1858

Clifton, Merritt Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 - December 2009

free download of The Pit Bull Placebo book is available HERE.

special thanks to cking, researcher, editor, collaborator.