The Classic American Raccoon Hunter
The Redbone Coonhound Dog is a breed with an interesting history. Originally used for hunting raccoon at night, they have also been used for hunting just about every other type of large game, such as Bears, Deer, Cougars and wild Boar. A member of the Hound group of dog breeds, they hunt by scent.
In appearance, they resemble the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Hungarian Viszla. They are muscular and athletic, with a proud stance and a sense of self-worth. This is one of the 6 Coonhound breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. The others are the American English Coonhound, the Treeing Walker Coonhound, the Bluetick Coonhound, the Black and Tan Coonhound, and finally the Plott Hound.
Temperament of the Redbone Coonhound Dog
The Redbone Coonhound dog breed at home is calm, unruffled, affectionate and eager to please. They are not suspicious nor nervous around strangers, and get on well with other dogs. This is not an aggressive breed.
Although bred as hunters, they are perfectly happy to be in a family situation as long as they can get enough exercise. In this regard, they are probably better suited to a rural environment rather than an urban setting.
Like most Hound dog breeds, the Redbone is intelligent and can learn quickly, but also has an stubborn, independent nature, and will wander off away from home to investigate any interesting smells and scents.
This is quite a loud dog, ready to bark at anything with it’s distinctive yowl. The Redbone uses this bark during hunting to alert the hunter as to the dog’s position. Once the dog has an animal either up a tree or cornered, the bark changes to a very distinctive ‘bay’ that is quite different to its normal bark.
During the hunt, the Redbone becomes locked on to its quarry, sometimes darting off to the side of the trail to check the scent location, before returning to the main scent. Unlike most scent hounds, this breed can follow a ‘cold’ scent – ie. one that is old.
They can follow a scent over difficult and rough countryside, being sure-footed and agile. They are also very good swimmers. They are tenacious hunters, and will follow a scent with unrelenting determination until they corner or ‘tree’ the prey. They should never kill the prey themselves, merely corner or trap it, so that the hunter can catch up.
Breed History of the Redbone Coonhound Dog
The modern Redbone Coonhound dog was developed principally in the Southern states of the USA. The breed can be traced back to red-coated Scottish Foxhounds brought to the area by Scottish immigrants in the 17th century. Later, Irish Foxhounds and Bloodhounds were added to the mix.
The name ‘Redbone’ does not come from the gorgeous deep chestnut colorof its coat, but from an early breeder by the name of Peter Redbone. By the early 20th century the breed had acquired its present day color and shape.
The early dogs were used mainly by hunters and farmers, and were unknown in the show ring. Actually, this breed is virtually unknown outside the USA. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2010.
Height; 22 – 27 inches at the withers (males) and 21 to 26 inches (females).
Weight; 50lbs to 70lbs (males
45lbs to 65lbs (males)
Age Span; 12 to 14 years
Ease of Training
The Redbone Coonhound dog breed is intelligent and responds to careful and patient training. However, like most of the hound breeds, they also have an independent streak, and can be seen as stubborn if you don’t appreciate the nature of the dog.
Their breeding involved tracking and hunting, so chasing down interesting scents and animals like rabbits, squirrels, badgers and also cats seems to be what Redbones love most. They have a strong instinct to follow a scent or moving animal, and it can be time-consuming to train them to return reliably when off-leash.
Redbone Coonhound dogs are very vocal, and will let you know as soon as someone approaches your vicinity, whether they are known or strangers. In this way, they make very good watchdogs.
They do not make such good guard dogs, however, because they are not aggressive by nature, and are more likely to stand barking loudly rather than take any action. This is what you might expect from a breed that was developed to track down and chase prey, cornering the animal and baying loudly to show the hunter where to come.
They do not attack. In this respect, they are similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which will corner a lion but wait for the hunter to come along and shoot. If you want protection with a guard dog, look for another breed.
That said, the loud warnings and physical size of the Redbone may be enough to intimidate all but the most determined intruders.
The Redbone Coonhound dog has a short, sleek protective coat that does not shed much. It really only needs a grooming mitt every other day to keep that gorgeous chestnut coat in top condition. This also distributes the skin oils through the coat, giving it that glossy appearance.
Ears should be checked regularly, teeth brushed, and nails clipped if they grow too long.
The Redbone is a generally healthy dog breed, and doesn’t suffer from many conditions. The main thing to watch are the ears. They are quite long, from the breed’s Bloodhound ancestry, and may pick up dirt, small foreign objects, infections or injuries.
The National Breed Club does not have any specific recommendations for health tests or screening.
Famous Dogs of the breed
A Redbone Coonhound dog features in the Clint Eastwood film “The Outlaw Josey Wales”