American English Coonhound: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

american english coonhound

Bitzu Bitzu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bred in the United States, the American English Coonhound is a medium-sized hunting breed with long ears, short fur, and lengthy snouts for sniffing out animals in the wilderness. Like other coonhounds, this breed is a persistent and devout raccoon hunter. These agile, sleek, and muscular dogs are hardworking hounds that possess great endurance—and can even climb trees. On the other hand, they are extremely devoted pack dogs that make sweet and affectionate pets for active owners.

Breed Overview

Group: Hound

Height: 22 to 27 inches (male), 21 to 25 inches (female)

Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

Coat: Medium-length

Coat Color: Tricolor, red, white, lemon, bluetick, redtick, or black and white

Life Span: 11 to 12 years

Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, active, stubborn

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: United States

Characteristics of the American English Coonhound

American English Coonhounds are an exceptionally friendly dog breed known to form close bonds with their owners, children, and other pets in the household. While their temperament is easygoing when it comes to meeting new people and spending time with their family, these dogs are also high-energy and stubborn when it comes to training. If a coonhound is not given enough physical and mental stimulation, he or she is likely to have bursts of energy in the house. American English Coonhounds are best-suited to homes with large, fenced-in yards where they can roam freely off the leash and follow their curiosity outdoors.

These hounds are also known for their unique, expressive personalities and talkative nature. While not all coonhounds show their emotions through barking, they commonly "chat" with their owners when it's time to eat, go outside, or simply when they feel bored. When an American English Coonhound is not following their nose outdoors, they'll often pass the time with long naps and calm, laid-back temperament in the house.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the American English Coonhound

The American English Coonhound is one of six American Kennel Club (AKC)-recognized coonhound breeds that were bred by frontiersmen for a very specific purpose. These dogs were designed to both trail and "tree" raccoons—because, yes, these dogs are uniquely equipped to climb trees—which early North American settlers discovered were an ideal source of food, fur, and fat.

American by birth and English by ancestry, it's believed that the American English Coonhound was descended from English Foxhounds that were brought to America in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was then that "backwoods" breeders crossed foxhounds with other dogs to create the American English Coonhound. Once referred to as the English Fox and Coonhound, the breed was known for hunting foxes during the day and then raccoons at night. As it turned out, these dogs ultimately specialized in the nocturnal creatures.

While foxhunting was a favorite pastime in Great Britain's southern colonies since the end of the 1600s, George Washington himself also had a deep appreciation for English-style horse-and-hound foxhunts. The import of English Foxhounds during America’s earliest formative years ultimately revitalized the gene pool used by colonial breeders to create America’s various coonhound breeds.

Ever since colonial times, the American English Coonhound has remained incredibly popular among raccoon hunters, and today it's considered particularly famous for both its incredible endurance and speed. The American English Coonhound has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1995 and made its first Westminster Kennel Club show appearance in 2012.

American English Coonhound Care

American English Coonhounds are hardy, healthy dogs that don't require much breed-specific grooming care. However, thanks to their active and stubborn nature, these dogs need to be exercised regularly along with consistent, short sessions of training to reinforce good habits.


The American English Coonhound has a very high energy level. Better yet, they are particularly thrilled to be part of a pack, so they make ideal companions for active families, as they'll be more than happy to join their owners for a run, hike, or even bike ride. These pack dogs will also generally get along well with other pets and children in the home. However, because of their desire to be around their families at all times, these are not dogs that should be left alone for long periods of time.

The American English Coonhound requires an exceptional amount of exercise, however because of their extremely strong prey drive, they should never be walked off-leash or allowed to play ball or roam freely outdoors without the confines of a strong and sturdy fence. Like other coonhounds, they're likely to climb fences lower than 6 feet tall, and may even take to digging underneath them when following their nose.


It's important to provide a healthy and balanced diet for these hard-working, active dogs—not only to support their sleek and athletic bodies, but also to keep their coat healthy and shiny. The breed's short and hard protective coat requires weekly brushing (which will also help minimize shedding). Like most breeds, their nails should be trimmed on a regular basis and they should receive regular bathing. Most importantly, clean your coonhound's ears consistently to prevent infections.


This breed will require early socialization as puppies, as they are prone to certain behavioral issues such as possessiveness over food or toys. The American English Coonhound is sometimes described as having a "split" personality because they can be tenacious and motivated hunters, but also sweet and mellow family companions. The breed’s prey drive and seemingly endless energy can sometimes stand in the way of training, as they're not always keen to engage in activities that don't require hunting. Your coonhound may be food-motivated (in the best scenario), but will likely be more consistently attention-motivated as their curiosity can easily drive them away from treats during training.

These dogs also tend to be a more vocal breed, so they are considered a better match for experienced dog owners. Though they are capable of producing a very loud howl, the American English Coonhound is considered a bit too friendly and sociable with strangers to make for a truly effective watchdog.

Common Health Problems

The American English Coonhound is generally a healthy breed, but because it's still primarily bred as a working dog, this breed should be closely monitored for health conditions. Common health problems are typically related to the joints, eyes, ears, and stomach.

  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition that can lead to arthritis, involving pain around malformation of the hip sockets.
  • Elbow dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow joints on the dog's front legs, which can also lead to pain and arthritis.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: This eye disorder affects the cells of the retina that can lead to blindness.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts are an eye condition caused by damage to the lens of the eye that can lead to vision problems and blindness.
  • Bloat: Bloat is a sudden and life-threatening stomach condition in which the stomach is filled with gas, fluid, or even food, causing the stomach to expand. This can make the stomach twist and sometimes put pressure on the main vein to the heart. Since the American English Coonhound is a large, deep-chested breed, owners should familiarize themselves with bloat warning signs and preventative care like gastropexy procedures.

Diet and Nutrition

The American English Coonhound should perform well with high-quality commercial or home-prepared (under veterinary supervision) dog food. However, American English Coonhound owners should be aware that working dogs do have different nutritional needs than dogs that live more sedentary lifestyles. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for these energetic hounds. As with all breeds, treats should be given in moderation and their diet should be controlled— coonhounds can be particularly susceptible to weight gain and obesity-related issues.

Where to Adopt or Buy an American English Coonhound

Be sure to check your local animal shelters and rescue groups for American English Coonhounds that are in need of a forever home. National rescue organizations such as the American English Coonhound Association can be a helpful source of information to help you find your new best friend.

This breed typically costs between $800 and $1,200, though some breeders may charge upwards of $2,000 for puppies. When adopting an American English Coonhound, it's important to ask your breeder to provide the medical histories of the litter's parents and previous generations in their family tree.

American English Coonhound Overview

  • Sociable and friendly with adults, children, and pets

  • Hard-working

  • Mellow and affectionate

  • Strong prey drive

  • Vocal

  • Requires significant daily exercise and regular human interaction

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. Talk to other American English Coonhound owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and its care. If you’re interested in learning about similar dogs, consider these other coonhound breeds:

There's a variety of dog breeds for every type of owner and lifestyle, and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right dog to bring home.

  • Are American English Coonhounds good pets?

    American English Coonhounds make excellent family dogs thanks to their friendly, affectionate nature and lovable personalities, but this breed is also known for their stubborn, energetic nature. Your coonhound is likely to resist training and will need plenty of regular exercise to be a calm, laid-back dog inside the house.

  • Do American English Coonhounds bark a lot?

    Like all hounds, American English Coonhounds are very vocal. Most coonhounds bark on a regular basis, and the vast majority are also consistent howlers that "talk" to their owners when they need attention, food, or outdoor entertainment.

  • How much do American English Coonhounds cost?

    American English Coonhounds typically cost between $800 and $1,200, though some can cost up to $2,000 (depending on the breeder and local demand). The time of year may also factor into prices, as more hunters purchase puppies ahead of training seasons for hunting specific animals.

  • How big do American English Coonhounds get?

    Most American English Coonhounds grow on average to about 24 inches tall at the shoulder, with males reaching between 22 and 27 inches tall and females reaching 21 to 25 inches. They usually weigh between 40 to 65 pounds when full-grown.

  • How many breeds of coonhounds are there?

    There are six breeds of coonhounds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while there are many more similar breeds of hounds that are often mistaken for coonhounds.