Black and Tan Coonhound
Breed Group: Hound
Temperament and Behavior
Though a good-natured easy-going breed, Black and Tan Coonhounds have an innate drive to tree raccoons and will trail deer, or even bear or large cats. With this long-distance trailing ability, it is no surprise that when outside Black and Tan Coonhounds are quite active and that they require fairly strenuous daily exercise. A fenced yard and a leash when walking are imperative. If not constrained, it’s nearly impossible to keep them from trailing when they pick up a scent. Indoors, they are low-key. They are exceptionally tolerant of children and make a great playmate, especially as puppies. But they are a large, strong dog, so care should be taken around smaller children. They are good-natured, amiable, affectionate and can make excellent pets. Some tend to be aggressive toward strange dogs, and smaller pets can be perceived prey. Most are reserved around strangers. Each hound has its own distinctive voice, recognizable to its owners at a great distance– an exceptional hunting trait. If left alone for any length of time, they tend to howl. They make excellent watchdogs and, though not aggressive by nature, if pushed they will assert themselves as a guard dog. Many drool; owners should be ready with a towel. Generally bred for either show or field, show dogs tend to be calmer making them a better pet.
Physical CharacteristicsA large dog, the breed is known for its strength and power as a working hound. They range in height from 23 to 27 inches and their weight is between 55 and 75 pounds. They are well-proportioned dogs, with long ears. Exceptional scent hounds, they exhibit a graceful, rhythmic stride while trailing game. Black and Tan Coonhounds have a sleek black coat with tan markings on the chest, limbs, and muzzle reminiscent of a Doberman Pinscher. Their coat is short and straight but dense enough to withstand reasonable extremes of climate. Their short coat needs little grooming. But a regular brushing can reduce the hair found inside the house from their fairly heavy shedding.
Trainer's NotesBlack and Tan Coonhounds require moderate socialization, mainly to help curb both their aggression toward strange dogs and their drive to track smaller animals. As with all dogs, they require training in basic manners. They make an excellent training partner when it comes to tracking or search and rescue efforts. In other areas, they are quite difficult, even resistive to training. It’s a challenge to tear this dog away from its scenting instincts. The best approach for motivating them in obedience and agility training is using fun, attention-getting activities with abundant treats and praise in short training sessions. Always remember, consistency, patience, and gentleness will help obtain the best results. Because of their size, and strength, combined with their resistance to confinement and training, it is not a breed for an unsophisticated owner.
Black and Tan Coonhound
HealthThe most pressing inherited health issue for the Black and Tan Coonhound is Hip Dysplasia which affects nearly 16% of the breed. They are also susceptible to Bloat, a life-threatening condition related to feeding that affects primarily dogs with deep chests. Two or three meals per day are recommended over a single meal to reduce the chance of being affected by the condition. Less onerous for the dog, they are affected by both Ectropion and Entropion. They are also prone to ear infections and Skin Fold Dermatitis. Their lifespan is typically 10-12 years.
PopularityPopular largely as hunting dogs rather than show dogs or family pets, Black and Tan Coonhound are ranked 131st in popularity by the AKC. With fewer than 200 dogs registered each year, this is a fairly rare breed that is most frequently seen in the southeastern United States. But with more dogs registered by the United Kennel Club and litters of typically 7-9 pups each, finding a puppy may not be as difficult as it may first appear.
Breed HistoryOne of the few breeds that can claim a true American breeding origin, the Black and Tan Coonhound is the result of crossing Bloodhounds and Foxhounds in the southeastern United States. First used in colonial times as tracking dogs, they were further developed in the Blue Ridge, Appalachian, and surrounding mountains where they were used to hunt raccoon and bear over harsh, rocky terrain. Today the Black and Tan Coonhound continues to be selectively bred on the basis of its color and the talent for trailing raccoon and opossum although the breed is just as capable of tracking deer, bear, mountain lion, and other large game. They trail much like their Bloodhound ancestors with nose to the ground but at a slightly swifter pace. Once they tree their quarry, they "bark up" to alert hunters of their location. They are excellent night trackers and participate in highly competitive night hunts.
Additional InformationU. S. President Andrew Jackson is a former Black and Tan Coonhound owner. The National (US) Breed Club is the Black and Tan Coonhound Club.