Coonhounds – Different Breeds, Characteristics, Hunting Skills

coonhound dog breeds

Coonhounds are fantastic dogs due to their exceptional athleticism and aptitude for hunting. Therefore, we decided to create the most complete guide on the internet about these dogs. You will learn about all the Coonhound breeds, their main characteristics, and why they are amazing hunters.

You are going to learn all about the Coonhound temperament, coloring, and work uses. Once you are finished reading our guide, you will know it all about these unique, fierce, and athletic dogs. Without any more to add, let us start!

List of Coonhound Breeds

Coonhounds come in different breeds. Therefore, we decided to put them together in a list. You will find all the details about each one so you can see which breed meets your expectations and requirements the best.

Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound is the result of crossbreeding the Tan Virginia Foxhound and the Bloodhound. The breed originates from the United States and it was the first of the six types of Coonhounds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945. Nonetheless, we can trace back its ancestry to the Talbot Hound, a hunting dog from England that was very popular during the Middle Ages. Below, find more information about their size:

  • Height: Male 25-27 inches/female 22-25 inches
  • Weight: Male 66-74 pounds/female 55-70 pounds

They are generally healthy and have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Nonetheless, they have the risk of developing the following health issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Ectropion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hemophilia B

Black and Tan Coonhounds are easy-going, friendly, adaptable, smart, and gentle. Therefore, they are excellent with children, ideal for families, and even friendly with strangers when trained and socialized properly. The price of a Black and Tan Coonhound puppy is around $500 to $1,600. The closer they get to ideal appearance standards and temperament traits, the more expensive they will be. The bloodline and reputation of the breeder also influence the price.

coonhounds and hunting
Coonhounds are amazing hunting dogs.

Redbone Coonhound

The Redbone Coonhound is original from the southern United States and it was developed to hunt raccoons, boar, cougar, bear, and deer. The main ancestor of the breed is the Red Foxhound, which arrived in America during the late 1700s thanks to Scottish immigrants. Below, find our size chart:

  • Height: Male 22-27 inches/female 21-26 inches
  • Weight: Male 50-70 pounds/female 44-70 pounds

Their life expectancy is around 11 to 12 years. Regarding health issues, they are generally healthy, but you need to watch out for the following conditions and diseases:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Pelger-huet anomaly

Therefore, you need to monitor them frequently for these types of health issues. Always clean their ears properly and check their eyes. Redbone Coonhounds are loyal, loving, friendly, energetic and independent. They make excellent family dogs; however, due to their independent nature, they can be hard to train at times. You need to remain collected yet firm at the hour of commanding them. The price of a puppy is usually around $500 to $800. Top pedigrees and champion bloodlines will usually cost more, but that average applies to the majority of healthy puppies.

English Coonhound

The English Coonhound originated in the southern United States regardless of its name. In fact, it has other names including the Redtick Coonhound, American English Coonhound, and the Virginia Hound. European settlers brought the ancestors of this breed during the 17th and 18th centuries. They designed it via selective breeding, so it could adapt to the more demanding and rougher conditions of southern America. George Washington, Robert Brooke, and Thomas Walker all played a role in creating this breed. Below, find the complete size chart:

  • Height: Male 24-26 inches/female 23-25 inches
  • Weight: Male 50-75 pounds/female 40-70 pounds

American English Coonhounds can live between 11 to 12 years. They are healthy, robust and strong; however, they have a tendency to develop the following health issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Ear infections
  • Gastric torsion

The Redtick Coonhound is laid-back, friendly, social, affectionate and loyal. They are incredible family dogs and do well with other dogs. They can be stubborn at times, but you can handle it with firm, consistent training. The price of a puppy is around $1,000 to $1,200. Top bloodlines, ideal physical features, and desirable temperament traits will drive up the price.

Bluetick Coonhound

The Bluetick Coonhound originated in Louisiana and it descends directly from the Bleu de Gascogne Hound (France). Nonetheless, it was crossbred with other breeds as well including:

  • The Cur
  • Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound
  • English Foxhound
  • American Foxhound

Similar to other Coonhound breeds, they were bred for hunting. However, this variety was specifically designed for tracking, especially at night. Even though they have been around for several decades, they only became a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club in April 2009. Here you have the size chart for this breed:

  • Height: Male 21-27 inches/female 20-25 inches
  • Weight: Male 55-80 pounds/female 45-65 pounds

The Bluetick Coonhound has a lifespan of 11-12 years, which is similar to most Coonhounds. They are healthy, athletic and strong. Nonetheless, they have a tendency to develop certain health problems and conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Gastric torsion
  • Ear infections

They are loyal, active, friendly and social. Nonetheless, they are even more stubborn than other Coonhounds, and therefore, training them becomes a harder challenge. The price of a puppy of this breed is around $700 to $1,000. If you want to get a pup that descends from a top bloodline, then you will have to pay even more than $1,000.

Treeing Walking Coonhound

The Treeing Walking Coonhound developed in the United States and the result of the crossbreeding of a dog known as the Tennessee Lead and the Walker Hound during the 19th century. Since then, it was bred to hunt mainly raccoons, but also big game like mountain lions, bears and deer. Below, find the size chart for this breed:

  • Height: Male 22-27 inches/female 20-25 inches
  • Weight: Male 50-70 pounds/female 50-70 pounds

The Treeing Walking Coonhound has a life expectancy of 12-13, which is greater than the average for other Coonhound breeds. The only health issues they could suffer are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Eye problems

Other than that, they are a healthy breed that will stay with you for several years to come. A healthy diet and plenty of activity is the recipe for a happy Treeing Walking Coonhound. They are smart, confident, loving, affectionate and loyal. However, like other coonhounds, they have a tendency to act aloof, independent and stubborn, and therefore, you need to tame it with consistent, firm training. The Treeing Walking Coonhound is among the most affordable Coonhound at $400 to $600 a puppy. Factors like bloodline, pedigree and the reputation of the breeder could increase the price.

Plott Hound

Unlike other Coonhounds, the Plott Hound does not have the Foxhound as its ancestor. The ancestors of this breed were boarhounds, which are original from Germany. Johannes “George” Plott brought five Hanoverian Hounds with him when he emigrated to North Caroline during the 18th century from Germany. However, the man responsible for developing the Plott Hound was his son, Henry Plott. They were mainly bred for hunting bears as well as big game. Below, find the size chart:

  • Height: Male 20-25 inches/female 20-23 inches
  • Weight: Male 50-60 pounds/female 40-55 pounds

They have a life expectancy of 12-14 years, which places them above the majority of coonhounds. They have a tendency to develop the following health issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Gastric torsion
  • Ear infections

They are fierce, strong, determined and confident when hunting, but affectionate, obedient and docile in the home, which makes them excellent hunting and family dogs. You can buy an authentic Plott Hound puppy for $300-$500. They are remarkably affordable, but a puppy from a champion bloodline will cost you more.

Characteristics of Coonhounds

Coonhounds are different from other dogs thanks to key physical features and temperament traits. Below, find our full revision that will allow you to know more about these fantastic dogs.

Athletic

Coonhounds have an athletic body that has been designed for endurance, speed, and power. Their main purpose is hunting, and therefore, they display athleticism in every sense. They can run very fast and move through difficult terrains with agility and ease. Their body structure, which differs slightly from breed to breed, is mainly characterized by:

  • Powerful forequarters and hindquarters
  • Broad chest
  • Muscular and strong frame
  • Powerful and muscular back
  • Light gait

They do exceptionally well in dog sports due to their body design and physical qualities. For example, varieties like the Redbone Coonhound can run as fast as 40 miles per hour, which places it very near to Salukis and Vizslas. In fact, many experts rank them as the fastest hounds.

Short Coat

The coat of Coonhounds is very short, which will save you a lot of time and money in grooming. However, you need to remember that they tend to shed a lot, and in addition, they smell more than other dogs.

Therefore, they can become a problem if you suffer from allergies, and especially if you live in a small or secluded space. You can control their body odor with regular baths and cleaning, but even then, they will smell, and in addition to the notorious shedding, they can still trigger allergies. Their coat will only require weekly brushing with a medium-bristle brush. Remember to do it gently, so you do not damage their skin.

coonhound coat
Coonhounds boast an easy short coat!

Fantastic Hunters

When it comes to hunting, they are among the best dog breeds in the world. Their purpose is to hunt, be it raccoons or big animals such as bears, mountain lions, boars, and deer. Their physical qualities make them exceptional for this task.

They are scent hounds by definition, which means that they will run their game entirely by smell. Therefore, they can track any sort of animals from big distances. In the case of the Bluetick Coonhound, it can do it even at night. They are exceptional when it comes to trailing and treeing, which makes it easy for hunters to shot the target. It is especially helpful when hunting raccoons and similar game.

Due to their fierce, brave and courageous temperament, they can confront big animals efficiently. The best examples of this are the Plott Hound and the Redbone Coonhound. The key to training their hunting instinct is via positive reinforcement. They have innate hunting abilities; nonetheless, you need to train them and reinforce them to make the best version out of your Coonhound.

Intelligence

Coonhound breeds are notoriously smart, which makes them ideal for complex tasks in hunting. To let you see how smart they are, let us check how many repetitions they need to learn a new command:

  • Black and Tan Coonhound: 25-40 repetitions
  • Redbone Coonhound: 15-25 repetitions
  • English Coonhound: 40-80 repetitions
  • Bluetick Coonhound: 40-80 repetitions
  • Treeing Walking Coonhound: 40-80 repetitions
  • Plott Hound: 40-80 repetitions

From all the breeds, the Redbone Coonhound processes training much faster. Many times, they take more time to learn a new command due to their inner stubbornness, rather than low intelligence.

However, once they understand what you want them to do they will do it flawlessly. They know how to work in a group, and that is a huge advantage when hunting. In fact, they were bred with this purpose in mind, and therefore, they feel more confident when in a pack. Their intelligence is another reason why they are ideal for dog sports, because when combined with their excellent athleticism, they bring a high class performance.

Stubbornness

They are independent thinkers, which makes training them a challenge, especially for novice owners. That is why many Coonhounds require more repetitions to learn a new command or process training, because they are stubborn, and it becomes a problem when you do not know how to tackle it down.

First, their stubbornness is due to their hunting nature. When they go after prey, they do not back down until they catch their target. It is a highly desirable trait that allows them to be successful when hunting, but as you can easily tell, it can be problematic outside of such a scenario. Therefore, stubbornness is well-ingrained into their genetic markup. The only way to deal with it is via consistent, firm and collected training. Yelling or punishing them will not do any good, because they know their own minds and they will not learn unless they are interested to do it.

In conclusion, their stubbornness is a double-edged sword. It will be very useful in the field, but it takes an experienced dog owner to deal with it, so you can mold your dog according to your expectations, goals, and needs.

Barking

Coonhounds have a predisposition to barking excessively, and therefore, the best way to control this behavior is to stop it when your dog is a puppy. However, even then, they tend to bark a lot more than an average dog. In addition, you need to meet their exercise requirements, because they can stop barking out of stress and anxiety. By keeping your dog satisfied with its exercise requirements, it is less likely to bark for no reason other than to alert you of a possible threat and similar situations. You also need to follow these tips to control this negative trait:

  • Use blackout curtains and use white noise to stop your Coonhound from barking at night, because they tend to be active during the night as well. Remove all the possible stimulus that could trigger this reaction
  • When your Coonhound barks unnecessarily, proceed to give it your back and ignore it until it stops barking. After that, turn around, praise your puppy and give it its favorite threat
  • Use a quality dog silencer
  • Use a training no-bark collar
  • Teach your dog the “be quiet” command

Follow our tips and you will have your pet under control.

Friendly with Strangers

Surprisingly, Coonhounds are friendly with strangers, and it all emerges from their deep love for people. They will not attack strangers; however, they still require early socialization to tame any problematic temperament trait.

Due to their friendliness, they are not good designated guard dogs. However, they can be trained as good watchdogs, because they will howl in an alert of a stranger or possible threat.

You will not have to invest a lot of time and effort into training them to do well with strangers and other dogs because the tendency to do it is already built-in in their nature.

coonhounds are friendly with strangers
Coonhounds are very friendly with strangers.

Need for Exercise

Coonhounds are energetic dogs that need plenty of physical activity to thrive. The bare minimum for a dog of this kind is a 60-minute exercise session, which can include activities like:

  • Walking
  • Sprinting
  • Jumping

It will help a lot if you have a big yard, so you can play with your dog and allow it to run freely. They have tons of energy, and unless you suffice their needs, they can turn destructive and even develop anxiety and depression. They will have their highest exercise needs when they are puppies and young dogs (around 2 years old). Therefore, you must be ready to play with them a lot and take them for daily walks and exercise sessions.

However, take note that their exercise requirements go low during the summer due to high temperatures. Nonetheless, you should supply them with enough play and exercise indoors, so you can keep them happy and satisfied.

Coonhounds – The Skillful Hunters

From all the people who look forward to owning a coonhound, the majority are hunters and it is due to evident reasons, because these dogs are skillful, exceptional hunters.

Hunters by Scent

They are scent hounds, and thanks to their cold noses, they can pick up smells from several days ago. It means that they can trace their prey skillfully and with precision. Therefore, they are regarded as exceptional tracker along with Bloodhounds and Basset Hounds.

An Athletic, Powerful Body

Raccoons can be more challenging to hunt than you imagine, and when we talk about mountain lions, bears and boars, the game becomes even more challenging and powerful. Therefore, Coonhounds possess an agile, fast and strong body that allows them to be successful when hunting.

Smart, Cooperative Work

They are famous for their treeing tactic, which consists of driving the prey to climb up a tree, to make it easier for the hunter to hit the target. Furthermore, they are capable of working in a pack with other hounds, which makes them even more efficient.

Stubbornness for Hunting

They never back down or give in when chasing prey. They will go after it and catch it no matter what. Therefore, they are stubborn because it is part of their hunting nature.

Coonhounds – FAQs

During our research, we found that people interested in Coonhounds had a tendency to ask some questions more frequently than others, and therefore, we put them together in a single section.

Are Coonhounds Dangerous?

Coonhounds are not dangerous as long as they receive proper training, early socialization and their exercise requirements are fulfilled. They are highly active dogs, and therefore, when they do not receive the amount of physical activity they require, they can turn destructive.

However, they are not prone to displaying aggressiveness, which is surprising provided they are hunting dogs. Therefore, they are excellent family dogs and they do exceptionally well with children of all ages.

Nonetheless, they can be dangerous to small animals since they have a high prey drive. They will chase small creatures, and therefore, they can be dangerous to pets such as rabbits and cats. However, you can manage this risk by training and socializing them from an early age.

Are Coonhounds Easy To Train?

Coonhounds are not easy to train for novice owners due to their stubborn nature. They are smart, and therefore, they can process training; however, their stubbornness requires consistency as well as a calm yet firm temperament to handle them.

They are independent thinkers, and therefore, you need to show them that you mean what you say, which is something that first-time owners will find exceptionally hard to accomplish. Therefore, unless you can afford to hire a proper dog trainer to assist you, Coonhounds are better suited for seasoned dog owners.

An alternative solution to this situation, in case you really want to own a Coonhound as your first dog, is to adopt an adult Coonhound from an animal shelter, because you will be able to see if they have the behavior you expect.

coonhound body
The agile Coonhound breed’s body.

Do Coonhounds Shed?

Coonhounds tend to shed a lot despite their short hair coat. In addition, they also smell more than other breeds, and therefore, it can cause problems for some people, especially if you live in small spaces. They are best suited for people who have big yards and who can brush their coat regularly and bathe them frequently.

Therefore, they are not a good choice for people with allergies and/or who live in reduced spaces such as a small apartment.

Why are Coonhounds Called Coonhounds?

These dogs have such names because they were bred for hunting raccoons. Therefore, by uniting the word hounds with the last five letters from the word raccoon, they created the name Coonhounds.

Therefore, its name was born due to its main activity, which was to hunt and control raccoons, which vastly differs from the racist connotations that some people have brought to this type of dog.

Do Coonhounds Like Cats?

Coonhounds can do well with cats as long as you train them properly and socialize them with cats in your home as early as you get them. Ideally, you should raise them together, so they can become familiar, and in addition to training, you will be able to control their prey drive and hunting instinct.

Nonetheless, it depends on the individual dog. Some Coonhounds will do exceptionally well with cats, whereas others will not be able to live in the same space with them regardless of training and socialization.

Therefore, when buying your Coonhound puppy, you should look to get it from a breeder that has already socialized it with cats, dogs, and other pets, so you know that it has the desirable traits you want to find in your dog.

Now you should be an expert on the different types of Coonhounds and their origins. If you are considering purchasing one of these lovely pups, make sure to identify one with the right temperament for your home and lifestyle.

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