ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tan Coonhound
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Black and Tan Coonhound dogs were developed in the United States for hunting and treeing raccoons and possums. They are the most recognized of the Coonhound breeds due to their size and coloring, and they are still an extremely popular breed among hunters for their ability to pick up a cold scent no matter how faint it is. People also appreciate their work ethic and the ability to work in harsh climates and rough terrain.

The breed makes a great addition to the active family as, without sufficient daily physical activity and opportunity to vent their energy, they become destructive and harder to deal with. The Coonhounds are great family pets; they are calm indoors, loving and gentle with children and get along with most dogs and other pets.

They are not suitable for life in the city due to their energy levels and vocal nature but would love a house in the country with a fenced yard where they can roam freely. A fenced yard is a must when it comes to this breed as they are known to wander away from home if they pick up an interesting scent and follow it for miles before realizing they are now nowhere near their house.

The Black and Tan Coonhounds are not suitable for fastidious housekeepers as they drool, slobber, have a doggy odor and shed plenty.

Breed characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Hound dog 
Height:21-27 inches tall at the shoulder.
Weight:40-75 lb.
Life Span:10 to 12 years
Main Highlights
  • American breed developed for hunting raccoons in the 1700’s.
  • They are believed to be decadents of the Bloodhounds, Foxhounds and the now extinct Talbot Hounds.
  • Not suitable for city living as they are vocal and have a distinctive bay and howl that might not be pleasing for neighbors.
  • They are the most recognized of the Coonhound breeds and famous among hunters for their ability to pick up cold trails, work ethic, and great stamina.
  • They are perhaps not the greatest breed for the novice or inexperienced owner as they are stubborn and like to do things their way. They require a confident and consistent handler who is intelligent and more stubborn than they are.
  • The breed is gentle and affectionate with children and gets along with other dogs and animals as long as they have been properly socialized.
  • The black and tan Coonhounds require plenty of activity. Without daily exercise they can become destructive and loud.
  • They are slow to mature, so expect puppy behavior and antics until they are at least 3 years old.
  • They have a tendency to slobber and drool, coupled with loose hair on every surface and doggy BO; they are not the tidiest breed.
  • The breed is prone to obesity, and needs to be provided with appropriate diet and encouraged to exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
  • They make great a watchdog as their looks are often intimidating enough to deter intruders. They are highly unlikely to cause any serious damage even to unwanted trespassers.
Breed History

The Black and Tan Coonhounds have been developed in America from the Talbot Hounds, which are now extinct but were used for hunting by the rich and noble of the period, Bloodhounds and the English Foxhounds. The breed was first developed in Ozark, Smokey Mountains, Blue Ridge and the Appalachia in the 1700’s. They were mainly used for hunting and treeing possums and raccoons but they are not ones to back down from larger game such as deer, bears and mountain lions.

They are the most recognized out of the six Coonhound breeds and the most famous among hunters for their ability to track a cold trail, no matter how old and faint it might be.

The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1945 and today, they rank 131st most popular breed according to the AKC.

Size

The Black and Tan Coonhounds are the largest of the Coonhound breeds. The male Coonhounds measure at 21-27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 50-75 lb. The females being generally smaller measure at 21-24 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 40-65 lb.

Personality and Character

They were bred for hunting and for the longest time weren’t considered a house pet. Although their prey drive is strong and they are known for their ability to pick up cold scents, they also make a great family pet. They are kind to children and enjoy playing with them. They get along with other dogs and animals for the most part as long as they have been properly socialized.

They are single-minded once they pick up a scent and can work tirelessly in the field for days but at home they are laid back, calm, playful and loving.

They are suspicious towards strangers and make great watch dogs. Also, they thrive on human interaction and shouldn’t live outdoors by themselves if they are an only dog.

The breed makes a great addition to the active family or individual as they love nothing more than to go on bike rides, runs, jogs, swims or hunting trips with their humans. They have great stamina and require constant mental and physical stimulation.

They also have a great sense of humor, and enjoy counter surfing as well as getting into mischief. The breed is slow to mature and you can observe puppy behavior until they are about 3 years old. They are also stubborn, have a mind of their own and very independent. Overall, they make a funny, gentle and loving companion to the right family.

Health and Potential Problems

The Black and Tan Coonhounds are generally a healthy breed but irresponsible breeding has left them vulnerable to some physical problems and temperament issues. Most reputable breeders and shelters make sure the puppy or dog have received a clean bill of health prior to adoption or purchase. Breeders also test their dogs prior to breeding and the puppies for any hereditary or genetic disorders.

You should be careful with backyard breeders as most of them don’t have the necessary knowledge or understanding of the breed. Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill as those operations are more interested in the financial gain than the physical and mental well-being of the dogs in their care and most animals are kept in horrific conditions.

Below you can find the health issues that affect this breed the most:

  • Hyperthyroidism: A condition which occurs when the body is unable to regulate proper thyroid hormones levels. Symptoms may include baldness, obesity and lethargy and is usually treated with medication and dietary adjustments.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A common hereditary condition in dogs, occurs when the femur doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket. The condition may cause discomfort, lameness and arthritis in older age. It is generally treated with medication or surgery in severe cases.
  • Cataracts: An eye condition that usually occurs in advanced age and causes opacity on the eye lens, leading to poor vision or complete loss of eyesight. The condition can be corrected with surgery.
  • Cancer: A disease found in both humans and dogs. Some types of cancer are treated with chemotherapy, some with surgery and some call for a combination of both.
  • Ectropion: An eye disorder that is caused by the sagging or rolling out of the eyelid, exposing the eye and making it more prone to infection and irritation. The condition can be corrected with a surgery in severe cases.
Care Features

As with all other breeds, and even more important for dogs who have been bred for hunting, early socialization is a viable tool for the well-rounded and emotionally balanced adult dog. Introducing the puppy to new people, children, animals, different environments and various scenarios should begin as soon as possible.

The black and tan Coonhounds are naturally suspicious of strangers, enrolling them in puppy kindergarten is highly recommended, where they can be introduced to the new world under supportive and professional guidance. The class will also help develop a bond between the handler and the Coonhound.

The Coonhounds are stubborn and have a mind of their own; they need to be persuaded to do things instead of being told. The handler must establish themselves as a pack leader and someone who’s worth following from early on. They need to set rules and boundaries and they should be reinforced using treats and praise.

They need a consistent, firm, calm and stubborn handler and training sessions should be kept short and interesting. The Coonhounds don’t see a point in repeating things over and over again. Any harsh treatment or training should be avoided as it will be met with resentment and fearfulness as well as willfulness. Obedience training is highly recommended for the Black and Tan Coonhound.

A sense of humor is also necessary when sharing a life with a Coonhound as they are known to put a special twist on obedience training and get into mischief. They are known counter surfers, and it is highly recommended to not leave any food items where the Coonhound can reach. If they can reach it, they will eat it. This is a breed that enjoys their food and can become obese if given the opportunity. High-quality diet formulated especially for the breed’s needs and divided into a number of meals a day, as well as regular exercise are key to helping them maintain a healthy weight.

A fenced yard and proper identification are also very important for the safety of the breed. They have been known to wander off away from their homes in pursuit of an interesting scent. A secure fence is a must but also a collar with the owners contact information as well as a microchip are all recommended methods of ensuring the safe return of your beloved companion in case they do decide to go on an adventure by themselves.

The Black and Tan Coonhound is an active breed with plenty of stamina and excess energy and they need to be provided with plenty of opportunities for a vent on a daily basis. They enjoy going on runs, jogs, hikes, biking and swimming with their humans. Without sufficient exercise, they become bored and destructive, loud and generally a handful.

Crate training might be an important tool in keeping your belongings safe from a bored Coonhound when you are away. Crate training is also recommended for house training and been proven to help with separation anxiety and alleviating the stress levels in dogs when their people left the home.

They are not suitable for city dwelling as they are a vocal breed and have the distinct bay the hounds are known for — something that many neighbors would perhaps not enjoy.

Feeding Schedule

The breed would benefit from 3-5 cups of high-quality dog food, divided into 2 meals.

Each dog’s nutritional needs are different and vary based on their size, age and activity levels. Puppies for instance, consume more food than an adult dog to compensate for their rapid growth and development. High-quality food, rich in meat protein, without unnecessary additives such as corn and grain will go a long way in supplying your companion with the nutrients they require. Healthy coat, skin, physical and mental vitality and longevity start with a healthy diet.

It is important to note that the Black and Tan Coonhounds are prone to obesity, if there is food in the vicinity, they will eat it. It is highly recommended to divide their daily consumption into meals instead of leaving it available to them at all times. Encouraging them to exercise is another key for healthy weight and a healthy dog.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The breed’s coat is dense and short, ideal for the type of work they have been bred for. The common colors, as the name might suggest, are black and tan.

The coat doesn’t require extensive upkeep but brushing them 2-3 times a week will minimize the amount of hair floating around in the home.

Their ears do require regular maintenance due to the floppy shape which makes it easier for moisture and debris to get trapped in the ear canal and cause reoccurring ear infections.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The black and Tan Coonhounds get along great with children. They are willing participants in the children’s games and can match their energy levels. They are gentle, affectionate, patient and willing to put up with a lot from the younger members of the family. However, their patience shouldn’t be exploited, and the foundation for a mutual love and respect between children and dogs should be laid even before bringing the puppy or the dog home. Children should be taught respect towards dogs and understand that just like us, dogs require space.

Too many dogs are being put down, abandoned or surrendered to shelters simply because of the adult’s failure to educate children on the proper dog handling etiquette. Any tail or ear pulling or teasing should be discouraged immediately. Play time between dogs and children should be supervised by an adult at all time.

The Coonhounds were bred to hunt in packs and they generally get along with other dogs. They usually get along with cats and other animals as long as they have properly socialized or raised together. Due to their high prey drive they should be supervised when around smaller animals until and if they accept that they are all part of the pack. Although breeds have general similar traits, each dog should be treated as an individual, their behavior and character depend heavily on breeding, training, handler and environment.

The black and tan Coonhound will give you a run for your money and keep you on your toes no matter how clever you think you are. They like to do things their way and generally think they know best. So, we can easily say that it takes a special kind of individual to train and live with the black and tan Coonhound. They love their families but are also independent and not clingy or needy. They have an exceptional work ethic and great skill for hunting and tracking. At home, they are lovable goofs who get along with younger members of the family as well as the other furry members of the pack.

They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, but at the end of a long action packed day, they’d love nothing more that curl up at your feet and share a life full of love, laughter and activity with you.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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