Coonhound dog breeds share a common purpose and ancestry. There are a few different coonhound breeds – the Black and Tan Coonhound is profiled individually. Although often used on fox and other game, their primary purpose was to hunt raccoons. The vast majority of coonhound breeds in existence today (excluding the Plott Coonhound) are descended from English Foxhounds. Bluetick Coonhounds are descended from English Foxhounds and French hounds used to hunt big game. The English Coonhound was bred from English Foxhounds and other hounds imported to the American colonies from England in the 1600s and 1700s. The Redbone Coonhound is the result of several crosses, including English Foxhounds, a red dog of unknown ancestry, a Bloodhound, and some Irish hounds. Treeing Walker Coonhounds are descended from English Foxhounds and a dog of unknown ancestry called Tennessee Lead. Although many people today are breeding coonhounds for breed type according to a breed standard, it’s important to remember that for most of their history these dogs were bred for their ability to hunt and for their physical soundness.
Most coonhounds stand between 23 and 30 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 100 pounds. The dogs have a hound appearance, with long legs, an athletic body, large eyes, and dropped, hanging ears. The coat is usually short and flat. The tail is long. Although quiet in the house, these dogs were bred to run and hunt and need vigorous daily exercise. They must be exercised in a fenced-in yard, because if a small animal appears, they could be gone in a flash!
Although most of the Coonhound dogs are compliant with people, training is sometimes a challenge, as everything these dogs smell will be more important to them than any obedience commands. They can also be quite destructive as puppies. They are good with kids and other dogs but should not be trusted with smaller pets. There are few health concerns.