Treeing Tennessee Brindle

Treeing Tennessee Brindle
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you pretty laid back and want a laid back dog to match your attitude? The Treeing Tennessee Brindle may be the right dog for you! While many things are still being discovered about this “new” breed, that was developed in the 1960s, one can see that these dogs are relaxed at home, but can run an animal up a tree fast!

Used for hunting, these dogs are smart and have a great sense of smell. The best part is that they love children!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityBelow Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingHigh
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Hound Dogs
Height:1 foot, 4 inches tall to 2 feet tall
Weight:30 to 45 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years

The Treeing Tennessee Brindle breed was originally developed in the 1960s thanks to a man named Reverend Earl Phillips, who wrote for a hunting magazine. He learned about dogs with brindle curs, which meant a dog who could hunt and tree animals.

Still, even today, not a lot is known about this breed and records from the American Kennel Club only go back to 1995. When the breed was being created, the main idea was to have a small dog that had strong hunting skills.

As for their appearance, you will see a brindle coat or a black coat, with short hair and occasional trim on the body. Some dogs have white marks on them, which is acceptable to the breed’s standard.

The females stand up to 1 foot, 10 inches tall and the males can stand up to 2 feet tall, and both weigh between 30 and 45 pounds. You will notice that they have some loose skin, but they are muscular, and they have a straight tail.

These dogs love to hunt! They are known to be great “treeing” dogs which mean they chase animals up trees so the owner can then capture the animal. These smart dogs have a great sense of smell and occasionally will cry out, or “bay”. They love to be outdoors and on the hunt, but when indoors, they are relaxed and calm, and they do not mind playing with the children!

The breed is known to be a perfect companion, for experienced dog owners. They love having attention and being around people — even when relaxing, they will lie down at your feet, just to be close to you.

Their bond runs deep with their family and they enjoy being included in events and vacations with you. Another great thing is that they are easy to groom, needing a weekly brushing and a just a few baths per year. The breed is not known to be predisposed to any health issues but can develop hip dysplasia and bloat.

Training for this dog will be needed, especially if he is chasing your cat around the house! They are already predisposed to be great hunters, and when they are given training for hunting, they will excel greatly.

For indoors, they need positive reinforcement, like hugs, treats, or even a “Good Boy!” from time to time. However, you need to stay firm with them so they will respect and trust you. If you want them to bark less, you should train them as early as possible to learn a command to be quiet. If you give them a punishment while training, they may get upset or disrespectful.

The Treeing Tennessee Brindle tends to stay active and needs daily exercise. Their friendly attitude makes you want to engage with them whenever you see them, as they love humans and are willing to be a great watch dog for you, but they do not make the best guard dogs. It is also recommended that you be an experienced dog owner when making the choice to bring this breed into your home.

Main Highlights
  • There is still a lot to learn about this fairly new breed that was developed in the 1960s.
  • This breed is a great hunter and has a perfect sense of smell, and it was developed to be a small dog that could hunt and also be a good tree dog.
  • Because they are raised to be hunting dogs, you will have to train them to not “cry” or howl out, or chase the cat around your house. They do make good watch dogs, but if you want a guard dog, you should look elsewhere.
  • Overall, they are friendly, non-aggressive, and smart, which makes training easy. They love humans and other dogs in the home, and are outgoing!
  • While very active, they do like to be lazy around the house. Each day, they should be walked, or given some exercise to increase their heart rate. If you take them for a hike, they will be the happiest dogs!
  • The Treeing Tennessee Brindle is better off in a home for single people, couples or families that are experienced with dogs. They prefer living in the country or suburbs, with space to play.
  • Experts are still unsure of what the average litter size could be for this breed, due to its ongoing development.
Breed History

The Treeing Tennessee Brindle is a new dog breed by most people’s standards, originating in the United States in the 1960s. When a man named Reverend Earl Phillips learned of “brindle curs”, while working for a hunting magazine, he got really interested in developing a breed from Old Brindle Cur dogs and the dogs were revered for their hunting prowess.

In 1967, Phillips began to promote the Brindle and founded the Treeing Tennessee Brindle Breeder’s Association which was located between both the Ozarks and the Appalachian Mountains! The American Kennel Club recognized and began keeping records of the breed in 1995.


You can expect the males of this breed to stand anywhere from 1 foot, 6 inches tall to 2 feet tall. The females will stand anywhere from 1 foot 4 inches tall, to 1 foot 10 inches tall. The average weight for this breed is anywhere from 30 to 45 pounds, as long as they are fed properly and given regular exercise.

Personality and Character

Overall, the Treeing Tennessee Brindle is a smart, loyal, loving dog that can hunt well, and makes a wonderful companion for the family. These dogs love to be included with you, whether they’re doing work outside, exercising, or lying at the end of your bed. If he is near you, he is happy! They are not aggressive, unless they are threatened, and are friendly to strangers and children.

These dogs are very laid back when they are at home, and sometimes need to be nudged to get moving! When they are outside, they thrive. They will have a great time going camping with the family and being where they feel most comfortable. Because they feel protective of the family, they will make a great watchdog for your home.

Health and Potential Problems

From what is known about this breed, there are no known predispositions to any medical conditions. However, some dogs of this breed are known to be affected by ear infections, joint problems, and more.

  • Hip Dysplasia is extremely common across all dog breeds. This happens when the hip joint and the thigh bone do not fit together smoothly like they should. This will cause your dog lameness and pain. The reason your dog may get this range from diet, injury to genetics.
  • Ticks can occur with this breed because they love to be outdoors, hunting, and in the woods. Do checks on their body every so often for ticks on the dog’s skin, as they feed on the blood. If left unchecked, your dog can become anemic, get Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms include lameness and fever and it can be treated by tick medication from the vet.
  • Bloating can occur in this breed which twists the dog’s stomach thus holding in water, food, and air inside. This can kill your dog if the veins in the abdomen are obstructed for too long. This will lead to low blood pressure and can damage organs as well as send your dog into shock.
  • Ear Infections in dogs can be happening if your dog is scratching the ear a lot, you see discharge or blood coming out, if there is a smell or swelling inside the ear or if your dog is experiencing hair loss in the area. For a remedy use ear cleaner solutions or consult your vet if the problem persists.
  • Patellar Luxation is a dislocated kneecap in your dog. This is when the knee cap moves from the thigh bone and can cause pain for your dog, and you may notice them limping or not using the leg. Many times this is genetic and involves surgery to correct the issue.
  • Bad Teeth can happen in this breed easier than other breeds. This can lead to gum disease, bad breath, and other infections. You should brush your dog’s teeth several times a week and consult your vet on keeping their oral health a priority. Bad teeth and breath can sometimes be a sign of other health problems.
  • Lyme Disease may be the culprit if your dog has a high fever, joint swelling, no appetite and is tired all the time. If this is untreated, it can lead to kidney disease. This is only caused by ticks who suck the blood of the dog and only up to 10% of dogs are ever affected. If this is occurring, seek the vet for help.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by ticks and is actually a bacteria, not a virus. Symptoms include lethargy, lack of appetite, urinating blood, eye pain, inflammation, lack of coordination, swollen lymph nodes, irregular heartbeat, and depression. Your vet will prescribe medication and may recommend your dog stay in a vet hospital if necessary.
  • Anemia in this breed can be caused by ticks sucking blood from your dog’s body. Anemia is when your dog has low red blood cell counts. Symptoms of this include lack of appetite, pale gums, extreme lethargy, and lack of physical movement. If serious, your dog may need a blood transfusion. Otherwise, they can be given medications.
  • Obesity can occur if you allow your dog to be in the house all day and lying around being lazy. It can also happen if you allow your dog to graze with their food when they want to. The breed needs to be exercised each day in order to stay in shape. Having excess fat can cause other health problems, especially extra pressure on joints, and making their lungs and heart work harder.
Care Features

Do not be surprised if your Brindle wants to sleep at the end of your bed, or on the floor next to you, due to their watchdog personality and bond with you. They are extremely affectionate with their family, so you may want to invest in a dog bed for them!

Due to their intelligence, if you begin training them young, they will learn more. It is not uncommon to teach this breed tricks other than just sitting, not barking, or lying down. However, they thrive when training with you while hunting, and love to chase squirrels and other animals up trees, as they are treeing dogs.

This makes it easier for the hunter to make the kill, making the dog feel accomplished, helpful, and part of the pack.

Feeding Schedule

It is not recommended to leave food out for this dog breed, as it will cause unnecessary weight gain, which can then cause health problems and obesity. This large breed needs an active dog food formula, and can eat the recommended dosage listed on the food bag by weight.

Occasional treats are fine, especially during training, and as always, leave them plenty of fresh water. If you find that your dog may have issues with its food, it may be an allergy, and they should be seen by the vet for further instruction.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The breed comes in 2 colors; brindle or black, and they have smooth coats that are short. Some of the dogs will have white markings on them, which goes with the breed standard. Some owners are known to keep the dew claws on this breed, too.

As for grooming, they are fairly easy, and only need minimal grooming. If you brush their coat once per week, they are good to go, due to their short hair. Their teeth can be brushed every day, and they can be bathed whenever they begin to get stinky. As with any dog, their bodies should be checked weekly for any sores or infection, as well as their eyes, ears, nose and mouth for anything abnormal.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Treeing Tennessee Brindle absolutely adores children! They are playful, active dogs, so they will bond well with kids in the home. Naturally affectionate and loyal, these dogs will watch over the family and enjoy being a part of it.

They love to be involved in events with the family like camping or hiking, especially outdoor events. As for other dogs in the home, they do not mind, and will be friends with other dogs. They may chase cats, however! But they are not known to be very aggressive at all.

In conclusion, the Treeing Tennessee Brindle is a smart dog breed that is easy to train, especially for hunting purposes. They are beautiful, large dogs that love the outdoors, and going hiking or camping with the family, as they love to be included with their loved ones.

You will find them affectionate, and often lying at your feet, sleeping! These dogs can be the epitome of lazy in the house, but soar when they are outdoors, doing what they were bred to do. They love children and other dogs, and make great watch dogs, which can make for a peaceful home. This breed is a real winner!

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.