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.
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There are a number of coonhound breeds, the most popular being the Black and Tan Coonhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, Plott Hound, and Treeing Walker Coonhound.
These dogs are first and fundamentally working dogs — they hunt large and small game. Though good-natured and easygoing, these hardy hounds are so in need of hard physical exercise that they belong with an owner who will take them hunting, jogging, biking, hiking, and/or swimming.
The problem is that unless well-trained for hunting, coonhounds must not be let off-leash, because they are inveterate explorers who will follow their nose over hill, over dale, through the woods — and onto the highway.
When well-exercised, coonhounds are calm and undemanding dogs, apt to sprawl and snore in front of the fire. Without exercise, on the other hand, a coonhound can be a rambunctious handful.
Coonhounds get along very well with other dogs, though some can be dominant and pushy as they test each other for favorable positions in the pecking order.
Befitting their predator ancestry, coonhounds may stalk smaller pets, though they typically get along fine with the family cat (as long as he doesn’t run!).
It is in a coonhound’s nature to constantly figure out ways to outwit his prey, so he often does the same with people. In other words, following commands blindly is not part of a coonhound’s genetic makeup. Put yet another way….coonhounds can be very stubborn! Consistent leadership is a must, and obedience training must be upbeat and persuasive (include food rewards).