Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Coonhound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Coonhound
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Black and Tan Coonhounds are native to America where they were originally bred as scent hounds thanks to their incredible scenting abilities. They are large hounds that over the years have proved themselves very able at their job and are highly prized in America where they have also been a popular choice as companion dogs as well as family pets.
Coonhounds are handsome dogs with their black and tan markings, their kind expressions and their easy-going, laid-back attitude to life which when all added up makes them a great choice for people who like to spend as much time as they can in the great outdoors with a keen, alert canine companion at their side. Although Coonhounds make wonderful companions and family pets, they are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they need to be socialised, handled and trained by people who familiar with their specific needs.
Black and Tan Coonhounds can trace their ancestry back to American and Virginia Foxhounds as well as Bloodhounds that were around back in colonial times. They were bred and developed to hunt raccoons which were a source of food, fur as well as fat for immigrants who first settled in both the southern and western territories back in the day. The hounds these frontiersmen produced were highly skilled at tracking raccoons at night through swamps until their prey went up a tree. The hounds would then bay to mark the location for the huntsman.
They owe their colouring, their build, their long ears and their "cold noses" to their Bloodhound ancestors. However, it is thought that English Foxhounds taken over to America are also in their lineage although before that French hounds known as St. Hubert Hounds as well as Talbot Hounds which arrived in England in the eleventh century when the Normans invaded the land are also in a Coonhound’s ancestry too.
As previously mentioned, they were highly prized in the southern states of America thanks to their strong scenting abilities and the fact Coonhounds boasted an incredible stamina being able to work in many different terrains and over vast distances with no trouble at all. Not only could they track prey on the ground, but they were very adept at finding prey that went up trees. Coonhounds would stay at the base of a tree baying to alert the hunters of their find. They could work well on their own or in a pack and because they have webbed feet, a Coonhound is more than capable of tracking prey through swamps and marshlands with the greatest of ease.
The Black and Tan Coonhound was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1945, although they are not officially recognised by The Kennel Club here in the UK (September 2018). Finding puppies can prove challenging and anyone wanting to share a home with a Coonhound would need to register their interest with breeders first for the pleasure of doing so.
Height at the withers: Males 21 - 27 cm, Females 21 - 14 cm
Average weight: Males 23 - 34 kg, Females 18 - 29 kg
Black and Tan Coonhounds are well balanced, strong, agile dogs that boast an incredible stamina when they pick up a scent. They are handsome and robust looking hounds with their black and tan markings, long ears and glossy coats. Their heads are large and slightly domed being broad between a dog's ears and which Coonhounds carry high adding to their noble appearance. They have nicely proportioned muzzles and their nostrils are large, black and nicely open.
The Black and Tan Coonhound has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones and their eyes are quite prominent, black or dark brown in colour with dogs seeming to have a pleading, enquiring expression in them. Their ears are set quite low and hang well down with the inside edge slanting towards a dog's muzzle. They are slightly oval at the tips and velvety to the touch. These hounds have a strong yet graceful neck with a slight dewlap.
Their shoulders are well muscled and sloping which is a good indication of a hound's strength and speed. Front legs are straight, powerful and well-muscled. Their chests are moderately wide and deep with dogs having relatively short, slightly curved, but very muscular and strong backs. Their hips are round and nicely proportioned with dogs having graceful, arched flanks and well-muscled loins. Their back legs are muscular and strong showing a Coonhound has a tremendous amount of power in them. Feet are well padded and tight with close knit toes. Their tails are strong at the root but taper to the tip which these hounds carry well up forming the shape of a scimitar.
When it comes to their coat, the Black and Tan Coonhound boasts having a smooth, short, tight, fine and glossy coat that offers them a tremendous amount of protection against the elements. The accepted colour under the American Kennel Club breed standard is as follows:
When a Black and Tan Coonhound moves, they cover a lot of ground in an eager, effortless way and can go on for hours without showing any sign or fatigue.
Prospective Coonhound owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration in their looks or conformation. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce hounds with good conformation. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Black and Tan Coonhound boasts a kind and gentle nature in a home environment, but when they are out and about, these attractive hounds can show a good turn of speed more especially if they pick up an interesting scent. They are known to be reliable, loyal and good-natured companions and in the right hands with the correct amount of early socialisation and training, a Black and Tan Coonhound is a pleasure to have around.
They are intelligent, sensitive hounds and as such need to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with a ton of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of socialising a puppy early in their lives. Their socialisation must involve introducing puppies to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs as soon as they have been fully vaccinated for them to grow up to be confident, well-balanced mature hounds.
Like other hounds, the Black and Tan is known to be sensitive by nature and as such they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy-handed training methods which could result in a hound becoming withdrawn and shy. They do, however, answer well to positive reinforcement which brings the best out of these hounds. They are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be trained and handled by someone who is familiar with the needs of this type of hound. Black and Tan Coonhounds need to know their place in the pack and who they can look to for guidance and direction.
They are independent thinkers and if not given the right amount of training from an early age, a dog can quickly start to show a more dominant side to their nature which can result in them being unruly and therefore that much harder to handle. They tend to be a little aloof when they are around people they don’t already know although rarely would one of these hounds show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a stranger unless they feel threatened in any way. In general, they are good around people although some dogs may prefer to keep their distance until they get to know someone.
They are not the best choice for families with young children but make great family pets in households where the children are older and therefore generally know how to behave around dogs. They are not the best choice for people who spend a lot of time out of the home either, but they thrive in households where one person is usually around when everyone else is out of the house which in short means a Coonhound is rarely left on their own for longer periods of time.
If left to their own devices and not given enough exercise and mental stimulation, a Black and Tan Coonhound will quickly get bored and this could lead to them being destructive around the home. They can also develop separation anxiety which often leads to dogs barking and howling when they find themselves alone, a behaviour that can be hard to correct if not gently nipped in the bud from the word go.
Black and Tan Coonhounds are not the best choice for first time dog owners because as previously mentioned, they must be socialised, handled and trained by people who are familiar with their specific needs. They are independent thinkers and training a Coonhound takes time and patience, bearing in mind that they will follow their “noses” ignoring a command when they pick up an interesting scent.
Having been bred to hunt, Coonhounds have a high prey drive and will happily take off after anything that tries to run away whenever an animal crosses their path. As such, care must always be taken as to where and when a Coonhound can run off the lead more especially when there is wildlife or livestock close by.
Coonhounds have a playful side to their natures, although they are slower to react to games than other breeds. They like to take their time and think about things before committing themselves. With this said, they do have their “mad moments” which can be highly amusing, but they are not into games like “fetch” or retrieving objects thrown for them.
Black and Tan Coonhounds are large dogs that need enough space to express themselves. As such, they are not the best choice for anyone who lives in an apartment. They are much better suited to households with large, ultra-secure back gardens that a large, energetic dog can safely roam in whenever possible to really let off steam.
Coonhounds form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. However, they are not known to suffer from separation anxiety providing they are never left to their own devices for too long which could result in some destructive behaviours and mournful, loud baying as a way of getting some attention.
Black and Tan Coonhounds are known to like the sound of their own unique voices a little too much which some people find charming whereas neighbours might not.
Coonhounds love being in and around water and are excellent swimmers thanks to their large, webbed feet. As such, care must always be taken when walking a Coonhound off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Coonhounds are not natural watchdogs although their size and unique voice is usually enough to put any wrongdoers off from entering a property. However, this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to stand their ground and bark.
Coonhounds are intelligent, and they have a boundless amount of energy not only when they are puppies, but throughout their lives. Being highly skilled scent hounds, their training must start as early as possible to curb a dog's strong tracking instinct. However, their training must be fair and consistent throughout their lives which in short, means these active hounds need to be handled and trained by someone who understands their needs. They are never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance which is why it's essential for owners to be the alpha dog in the household when sharing a home with a Black and Tan Coonhound.
In the right hands and environment, they are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement. However, special attention must be paid to the "recall" command because if a Coonhound picks up a scent when they off their leads, they could well take off after it, turning a deaf ear to their owners. As such, it would be unwise to let one of these hounds off their leads unless the area was very secure.
Coonhound puppies, like all puppies are incredibly cute with their large paws and lovely ears which means it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in new homes. However, once a puppy is nicely settled, owners must start out as they mean to go on which means laying down rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It helps puppies understand good behaviour, and what is not. It also helps establish a pecking order and who the alpha dog is in a household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
Black and Tan Coonhounds are known to be gentle and placid characters by nature. However, playtime can be a little boisterous which means care has to be taken when they are around toddlers or small children just in case someone gets knocked over albeit by accident. They are not the best choice for families where the children are very young, but they are the ideal family pet in households where the kids are older.
If well socialised from an early enough age and introduced to lots of other dogs, Black and Tan Coonhounds generally get on well with them. It's deeply embedded in their psyche to work alongside other dogs which adds to their sociable natures. Because they boast a strong hunting and tracking instinct, care must be taken when they around smaller pets and animals, although if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well with them. With this said, these dogs would think nothing of chasing and tracking down a neighbour's cat if the occasion ever presents itself.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Black and Tan Coonhound is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Coonhound is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these energetic, handsome hounds. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Coonhound puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Like other breeds, some Coonhounds gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Coonhounds are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Coonhound breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
For the moment (March 2018), the Coonhound is not a Kennel Club recognised breed and as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place, but all breeders should follow the KC breeding guidelines to ensure the puppies they produce are well-bred.
Coonhounds, as previously mentioned are not a Kennel Club recognised breed, as such there are no Assured Breeder requirements in place.
As with any other breed, these hounds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Coonhound puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or, so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Coonhound puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out making them withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Coonhound puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Coonhounds need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Coonhound in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Black and Tan Coonhounds need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Coonhounds don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Because the Black and Tan Coonhound boasts a short, tight and naturally glossy coat, keeping things tidy is low maintenance. A twice weekly brush is all it takes to remove any loose or shed hair and frequently wiping a dog's coat over with a chamois leather will help it glossy. Because they have such long, pendulous ears it's essential for them to be regularly checked over for any injuries and cuts.
It's also important to check inside a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections which the Black and Tan Coonhound is prone to suffer from thanks to the fact they love playing in water.
Black and Tan Coonhounds have boundless energy and would happily be out and about the whole day long. As such a minimum of 60 to 80 minutes exercise a day is essential to keep these hounds happy, fit and healthy both in mind and body. Because they are so intelligent, they need to be given a tremendous amount of mental stimulation during the day too. If a dog gets bored, they can very quickly find ways of entertaining and amusing themselves which could result in them being destructive and noisy around the home. The old saying of a "tired dog being a good dog" is never truer than when describing a Coonhound.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these energetic, highly skilled scent hounds in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Coonhound puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.
If you get a Coonhound puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise, so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because they are prone to suffer from bloat, it is important that they be fed twice a day instead of giving them just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand to place their feed bowl which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down low to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more a risk of suffering from bloat.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Coonhound puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Coonhound should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Black and Tan Coonhound, you may have to go on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred every year here in the UK. You would need to pay anything upwards of £600 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Black and Tan Coonhound in northern England would be £21.75 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.61 a month (quote as of March 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed amongst other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Black and Tan Coonhound and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Black and Tan Coonhound would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Coonhound puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Coonhounds are a rare breed in the UK which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Coonhounds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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