The Black and Tan Coonhound was created in the United States, more specifically the mountainous regions of the Ozarks and Smokies, by crossing Bloodhounds and Foxhounds. The original coonhound, Black and Tans were bred to hunt raccoons and opossums but have also been utilized in the pursuance of mountain lions, bear, deer, and other big game. As a scent hound, this breed runs its game entirely by scent, recognizing and following scent trails that may even be days old, to find its prey and “tree” them, keeping them cornered until their human hunter arrives.
Originally the first breed of Coonhound recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945, today the Black and Tan Coonhound is ranked number 138 in popularity of the 193 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Hound Group.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BLACK AND TAN COONHOUND
What characteristics define the Black and Tan Coonhound? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the Black and Tan Coonhound such a unique breed.
Black and Tan Coonhounds are easily identified by their large size, coal-black coat, and long, drooping ears. The short, dense black coat is highlighted with tan accents which may be located above the eyes and on the sides of the muzzle, as well as on the chest, thighs, and lower legs. This short coat is ideal for the breed to follow quarry through rough brush and brambles. Eyes are hazel to brown and ears are long, wide, and thin. Black and Tans should emanate power, with strong, muscular legs that are long in proportion to body length.
Black and Tan Coonhound should weigh between 65 and 110 lbs, with males standing approximately 25-27 inches high at the withers (top of the shoulder) and females between 23 and 25 inches high.
The Black and Tan Coonhound is a contradiction of temperament. They are equally capable of hogging the couch all day at home but also running several miles on the trail, determined to follow a scent. Black and Tans’ mellow, easy-going attitude makes them a great family pet in the home. Their gentle nature extends to a tolerance of children and their purpose as a dog bred to hunt in packs has rendered them extremely dog-friendly. Black and Tans can get along with other types of pets as well if properly introduced at a young age.
Once outside though, hunting instincts take over and this head-strong, intelligent breed can be very difficult to call off of a scent. Coonhounds should be kept on a leash or in a well-secured backyard, as their tendency to wander off chasing game can lead to getting lost. As with all Coonhounds, Black and Tans have a tendency to “sing,” with a baying bark easily heard from an impressive distance away. Coonhounds who are left alone for long periods of time may resort to howling, so consider a canine companion for your Coonhound if you spend large amounts of time away from home. They may also bay in the presence of strangers, though they are merely reserved and not known for aggression. Black and Tans have a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
CARING FOR A BLACK AND TAN COONHOUND
Understanding and maintaining a Black and Tan Coonhound’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership for both dog and owner. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements of a thriving Coonhound to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.
Black and Tan Coonhounds thrive on high-quality dog food specially formulated for large breeds with high energy and exercise requirements. Diets should be appropriately tailored to an individual based on age (puppy, senior, etc) and activity level. Many dog foods have serving suggestions on their packaging, but monitoring food intake and body condition, as well as consulting with your veterinarian, are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the nutrition he or she requires. Black and Tans can be prone to obesity, so use treats sparingly.
Black and Tan Coonhounds require at least 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise each day to maintain optimum health, whether its a play session in the yard or a long walk or jog with a family member. These hounds were bred to hunt and, as a result, can run several miles without tiring and have a strong instinct to chase prey and follow scent trails. Yards need to have tall, sturdy fencing and dogs need to be leashed on walks. Consider a leash that prevents pulling to make walks more enjoyable for both you and your companion. Another obvious option for exercise is the kinds of hunting trips for which they have been bred, coonhound field competitions or scent work contests.
The Black and Tan Coonhound is a working dog. With the high-energy requirements characteristic of the breed as well as their large size, training and socialization during puppyhood are essential. This breed is known to retain the puppy mentality for up to three years, so consistent training and patience are key to successfully raising a Black and Tan Coonhound. Puppy classes are a great way to start training and socializing a new Coonhound puppy early on. At a minimum, your Black and Tan Coonhound should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come. Coonhounds are typically intelligent but have a stubborn streak, so regular training is necessary.
Due to their strong familial ties, Coonhounds left alone for long periods of time can resort to undesirable behaviors such as howling. Some of these behaviors can be mitigated by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys.
Although generally healthy, some Black and Tan Coonhounds suffer from hip dysplasia and ear disease. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. The easiest way to diagnose the problem is via a visit to the vet and x-rays.
Checking and cleaning ears weekly can prevent many ear problems stemming from the accumulation of dirt and wax.
The Black and Tan Coonhound’s short, dense coat sheds once or twice a year. To keep the coat healthy, they should be brushed once a week with a dog brush to remove dead hair, promote new growth, and evenly distribute skin oils. Black and Tans should be bathed regularly, but even then will have a distinct “hound odor”.
Other breeds similar to the Black and Tan Coonhound include: