The Coonhound is a calm and relaxed breed
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is a friendly, easygoing dog that belongs to the Hound group of dog breeds. Originally bred to hunt Raccoon, they are tenacious when on the trail but laid-back and relaxed at home. These are large, athletic dogs that cover difficult ground quickly with a sure-footed, easy stride.
This is one of the 6 Coonhound breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. The others are the American English Coonhound, the Redbone Coonhound, the Bluetick Coonhound, the Treeing Walker Coonhound, and finally the Plott Hound.
According to the breed association, this is a happy-go-lucky dog with an amiable and relaxed attitude to life, fitting in well to family life and very tolerant with children. They also get on well with other dogs, and are not aggressive.
Indoors, they are mellow, sociable and unobtrusive. They may even seem uninterested in their surroundings - indoors. However there is a strong hunting instinct, and if the Coonhound picks up a scent or trail outdoors, it will become single-minded and become difficult to deter from its mission.
It's important to have a well-fenced, secure yard to keep this dog where you want it, and strong collar and leash when out walking. He may try to take off after a squirrel or a cat!
The Black and Tan is reserved with strangers, and may bark and howl until it is clear that the master of the house accepts the newcomer. They also howl when left alone for too long, as they love human company and don't like being on their own.
Raccoons were an important source of food and fur to early American settlers. But the frontiersmen who set out West and South had a problem - they did not have a dog suitable for hunting raccoons.
European Foxhounds were bred with Bloodhounds to develop a breed of dog that could follow a scent over difficult terrain for hours on end. The resulting Coonhound would hunt by following a scent trail tenaciously, eventually driving the Raccoon up a tree, and wait for the hunters to arrive with their guns.
This breed was first recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1912, and by the American Kennel Club in 1945.
Height; 25 to 27 inches at the withers (males)
23 to 25 inches at the withers (female)
Weight; 65lbs to 110lbs
Life Span; 10 to 12 years
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is intelligent, and is keen to please it's owner. You would think training would be easy, but the Coonhound is also independent and stubborn, like most Hounds. This makes training a bit of a chore.
It is very important to socialize this breed as a puppy, and to start training as soon as possible. Starting out with short sessions of 5 minutes, repeated several times a day and being consistent with commands and what you expect, will bring the best results.
The Coonhound will tend to pick up the idea of what you want after some repetition, but once learned, never forgotten. Patience and consistency are the most important things to remember. This training is very important, as this breed has a mind of its own, and has a tendency to take off after any interesting smells.
We have an excellent page on the best dog training books.
The Black and Tan Coonhound makes a good watch dog. He will let you know when someone approaches your property with a booming bark. You won't be in any doubt that your attention is needed!
The dog's height and weight may be intimidating to a stranger, and may be enough to deter a potential intruder, but this breed is NOT a good guard dog. They were bred to track by scent, to chase and corner a prey, but NOT to attack. They are not aggressive by nature, and lack the attitude needed for protection.
If you are looking for a dog that can protect you against intruders, look for another breed.
The American Black and Tan Coonhound has a short, dense coat that just needs a weekly brush with a soft brush or hound glove. This will remove dead hairs before they get all over the furniture!
Regular brushing also helps to distribute skin oils through the coat, helping to maintain a healthy sheen, as well as stimulating new hair growth. Most Coonhounds will need a bath once a month or so, to help prevent that 'doggy smell'.
This breed has very long ears, which need to be inspected weekly for cleanliness, foreign objects, infections or wounds. Most Coonhounds will drool to some degree, and you may need to keep tissues handy to mop their mouths.
This is a sturdy and robust breed, with few genetic problems. The American National Breed Club recommends the following tests;
As mentioned before, the long ears should be checked regularly for cleanliness, foreign objects, infections and wounds. The claws should be checked each month, and trimmed if they are getting too long. The dog's teeth should be brushed every day with a dog-specific toothpaste and a small, soft toothbrush.
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