The American English Coonhound, also known as the English Coonhound or the Redtick Coonhound, is a classic American dog breed with deep roots in our history. These delightful dogs were developed in the American South and on the frontiers in the early nineteenth century. With lineage tying them back to English Foxhounds, they adapted quickly to suit the needs of hunters and trappers on the frontiers in their unending quest for raccoons. Sportsmen today prize American English Coonhounds as being among the most skilled and dedicated dogs to ever partner with man.
AMERICAN ENGLISH COONHOUND CHARACTERISTICS
Now let’s take a closer look at the American English Coonhound and learn a bit about their appearance and temperament.
The American English Coonhound is a well balanced, muscular but lean dog with a striking overall appearance. Males typically stand 24-26 inches tall, weighing between 45 and 65 pounds. Females are usually slightly smaller, measuring 23-25 inches. The weight of both should be proportional with their height. Their deep chests flow upward into neatly tucked waists; their backs are flat and level leading to a long, high set tail.
The head is broad and notable for their kind, dark, “houndly” eyes. Their long ears are also a recognizable feature. Set low to the sides of the hound’s head, they hang nearly to their powerful, sloped shoulders. Their squared muzzles are draped at the sides with soft flews.
Covered in a medium length, hard coat, the most recognizable feature of American English Coonhound is their beautiful coat. They may be red, red and white, blue, blue and white, black and white, or tri-colored. Many have the distinctive “ticked” coat. A ticked coat of hair is marked by a blend of spots of colored and black hairs within a background of white.
An American English Coonhound is known to be friendly and dedicated. They make great family dogs as they are agreeable and get along well with many people. Their gentle nature and playfulness make them a good fit for families with children and other dogs. However, due to their high prey drive, use caution when introducing them to small animals that may have a tendency to flee or climb, especially cats. Sudden flight can trigger their instinct to chase and tree! They are amiable with strangers, making them not the best candidates to play guard dog despite their deep baying barks!
A hardworking dog through and through, these hounds have a high need for exercise. Bred to pursue raccoons across varied terrain through the night, these incredible athletes require a rigorous exercise and play regimen to stay happy and healthy. This also makes apartment living somewhat a mismatch for their needs. They travel well, but take care to give them plenty of opportunities to exercise and stretch their legs mid-journey.
American Coonhounds are intelligent and very trainable. They thrive when they have a job to do, and they love to learn and please their owners! As part of their training and exercise routines, many dogs enjoy high quality, interactive toys. This purposeful work can help channel their energies! Their jovial and sociable nature can make extended time spent alone unpleasant for them. They are dogs that do best when spending most of their time with their owners.
Despite their relentless desire to pursue their prey, the Coonhound has a reputation for also being a pleasant companion. They are known to be easy going, relaxed and even mellow while off-duty.
CARING FOR YOUR AMERICAN ENGLISH COONHOUND
To make sure the trusty hound dog lives a long, happy, and healthy life, pet owners need some to follow some basic care guidelines.
American English Coonhounds thrive on a high-quality dog food. Because of their size and high energy level and need for exercise and play, these dogs can require more food to maintain their body weight. It is important to optimize their nutrition with a high proten and low filler dog food option. As they age, or if they lead a more sedentary life, they can become obese if their caloric intake is not scaled back to stay in proportion with their activity.
Treats are another important source of nutrition for dogs, especially a breed as amenable to training as the America English Coonhound. And always be sure to offer a plentiful supply of fresh water
The American Coonhound was bred to run literally all night! To say that this breed has a high need for exercise is an understatement! If they are not being used as active hunting dogs, they make perfect partners for active people who run, bike or hike. They require a challenging physical outlet to remain healthy, both physically and mentally.
They should never be allowed to be off-leash in an uncontrolled setting. Their high prey drive almost compels them to seek and then follow scents or the sight of potential fleeing prey. And their athleticism makes them difficult to chase down and catch, as they are very, very fast! To best maintain control of that raw power while walking or running, be sure to invest in a high quality leash intended for strong dogs that may pull.
American English Coonhounds are dogs that require consistent and early training. They have deep roots as competitive and independent hunting dogs, and this potential needs to be channeled and handled appropriately to avoid behavior problems. Their training must be approached with kindness and patience, and many repetitions using lots of positive reinforcement.
The American English Coonhound’s innate drive to resolutely focus on and pursue its prey makes it both easy and challenging to train. While their ability to concentrate and sustain attention is high, it can waver if they are not properly motivated by either an activity they enjoy, like a run or a favorite toy, or healthy food treats.
American English Coonhounds are in general healthy, stout dogs. Because most are still bred and used as active hunting dogs, breeders work to screen and manage stock for medical conditions. Their general life expectancy is 11 to 12 years.
It is important to optimize their well being by practicing good nutrition and safety practices. Enthusiastic hunters, American English Coonhounds do have that tendency mentioned before to seek out prey. They will take off in pursuit of game, so be sure to keep them leashed when away from home. At home, ensure that fences are a locked and high enough to keep them from jumping over and escaping or that they have a closed outdoor kennel. Gates must be securely latched and locked- these clever dogs have been known to pop open a gate from time to time!
Like many larger breeds with deep chests, American English Coonhounds can fall victim to bloat. Bloat is a life threatening medical condition that can develop suddenly, most often when the dog has eaten a meal or drunk a large amount of water soon after active exercise. The dog’s stomach twists or rotates within the abdomen, putting pressure on its lungs and diaphragm making breathing difficult. It can also cut off circulation of blood to the dog’s heart and other organs. It is an emergency that requires immediate treatment.
American English Coonhounds can also be predisposed to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition that causes the dog’s hips to be abnormally structured. In some cases, the two parts of the ball and socket hip joint aren’t properly shaped. In other cases, underdevelopment of ligaments that connect the bones to surrounding muscles cause the problem. Regardless of the cause, it manifests in stiffness and pain in the hip joints.