Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Coonhound
Average Cost to keep/care for a Coonhound
Coonhounds are native to America where they were originally bred as scent hounds. They are medium to 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.
Coonhounds can trace their ancestry back to the American and Virginia Foxhounds as well as Bloodhounds that were around back in colonial times. 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 Tolbot Hounds which arrived in England in the eleventh century when the Normans invaded the land are also in a Coonhound’s ancestry too.
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 Coonhound was first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1945 as a breed in their own right, although they are not as yet officially recognised by The Kennel Club here in the UK. (June 2016)
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:
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 has to 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 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 has to start as early as possible to curb a dog's strong tracking instinct. However, their training has to 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, particular attention has to be paid to the "recall" command because if a Black and Tan 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.
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. With this in mind, 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 pysche to work alongside other dogs which adds to their sociable natures. Because they boast a strong hunting and tracking instinct, care has to 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:
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.
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 is allowed to build 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 Black and Tan 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 has to 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, Black and Tan 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 on 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 Black and Tan 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 really 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.
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 £19.22 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). 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 or not they have been neutered or spayed.
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 all 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 pedigree puppy.
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