Black and Tan Coonhound: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

black and tan coonhound


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The black and tan coonhound is a large-sized, friendly, and sociable hound dog. The breed is known for its incredibly sensitive scent skills and a sweet, easy-going personality that makes it a great choice for families.

This breed of family dog also continues to be selectively bred for both color as well as its hunting abilities, particularly for both raccoon and possum. However, the black and tan has also proven proficient in hunting larger animals, such as deer, bears, and even mountain lions.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Hound

HEIGHT: 23 to 27 inches

WEIGHT: 65 to 110 pounds

COAT: Short and dense

COAT COLOR: Black with tan accents

LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years

TEMPERAMENT: Gentle, lovable, trusting, adaptable, easy-going, even-tempered


ORIGIN: United States

Characteristics of the Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and tans are sturdy, strong, and athletic, and will fit right in with an active family lifestyle. On the other hand, they can also be couch potatoes and love nothing more than a long snooze on the sofa.

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

History of the Black and Tan Coonhound

The first coonhound breed registered by the AKC (1945), the black and tan coonhound was born when frontiersmen first crossed European hound dogs including foxhounds and bloodhounds to create a unique American breed. The black and tan is considered an older breed, as it is also believed to have descended from the Talbot hound, which was well-known in England in the 11th century.

These all-American dogs eventually became known as coonhounds, and they were tasked with the responsibility of hunting game—primarily raccoons at the time, which provided an ongoing source of meat, fat, and fur for the settlers who set out for the western and southern territories in post-Revolutionary America.

At the time, there was simply not a breed that was properly equipped to hunt the nocturnal creatures. Though foxhounds were being used in traditional English-style fox hunts, these dogs were bred to run across the flatlands of a Southern plantation and weren't quite up to the task of chasing raccoons through the woods or murky swamps at night.

The new coonhound breed proved to be up to the challenge, as they could trail the raccoon scent regardless of the terrain, and then call out to the hunters in their almost musical howling voice to mark their location. They weren't necessarily the fastest dog, but they could trail their prey as sharply as a bloodhound and then "bark up" when they located their quarry. One of the earliest coonhound enthusiasts was legendary explorer and huntsman Daniel Boone and his home state of Kentucky ultimately became a hub for coonhound breeding.

Black and Tan Coonhound Care

A black and tan coonhound will require a moderate amount of daily exercise, which could include playing outside in the yard or taking a long, brisk walk. Thanks to its breeding, beware out in public that this breed will find any small animal irresistible. The coonhound's powerful noses make this dog ideal for anyone who enjoys hunting as a hobby, as it can be trained to hunt just about any kind of game.


This calm and relaxed dog only needs between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. But when walking, remember this dog has a strong prey drive, so it should always be securely walked on a strong leash, and a tall, sturdy fence is a must-have for any black and tan coonhound owner. Your coonhound is bred to seek out scents, so let it use its nose to sniff around when walking.


Thanks to their short, dense coat that sheds once or twice a year, the black and tan coonhound will require weekly brushing with tools such as a brush or rubber grooming mitt to help remove the dead hair before it ends up all over your home. Regular grooming will also help keep their coat and skin healthy.

Black and tans have other basic grooming needs, as well. They should be bathed occasionally and nails trimmed regularly, as long nails can create discomfort for these active dogs. As with all breeds, their teeth should be brushed regularly with canine toothpaste at least twice a week. This breed's ears can also be prone to infections, so they should be cleaned and checked regularly.


Though they are intelligent and devoted to their families, the black and tan coonhound is also considered to be an independent breed—so training can sometimes be a challenge. These are not dogs that will blindly obey their owners at all costs, though they can certainly be trained.

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for this breed, as once they've learned something, they'll be inclined to continue doing it that way. Consistent training right from the start is an absolute must.

Common Health Problems

The black and tan coonhound is generally a healthy breed, although they have been associated with some conditions, including:

  • Hypothyroidism: This breed is prone to this condition, which is an endocrine disease causing a lack of thyroid hormone production.
  • Cataracts: Commonly found in many breeds, this disease causes the lens of the eyes to become opaque.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common canine disease that affects the functionality of the hip joints.

Diet and Nutrition

The black and tan coonhound should perform well with a high-quality commercial or home-prepared (under veterinary supervision) dog food. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. As with all breeds, treats should be given in moderation and their diet should be controlled to avoid weight gain or obesity-related issues.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Black and Tan Coonhound

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. Talk to other black and tan coonhound owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and its care. Consider rehoming a black and tan. Check your local animal shelters and rescue groups for dogs of this breed in need of a forever home. Depending on the breeder, expect to pay between $600 to $1,600 for a black and tan coonhound puppy.

Begin your search through these resources:

Black and Tan Coonhound Overview

  • Affectionate

  • Easy-going

  • Intelligent

  • Independent and difficult to train

  • Doesn't like to be alone

  • Strong prey drive

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you’re interested in learning about similar dogs, consider these other coonhound breeds:

There's a variety of dog breeds out there to explore and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right dog to bring home.

  • Can black and tan coonhounds be left alone for long periods?

    This breed is not well-suited to overly busy families, owners who are rarely at home, or who work demanding jobs outside of the home. Black and tan coonhounds crave companionship and will complain (quite loudly) when left alone for hours at a time.

  • Are black and tans good for apartment living?

    Though a large dog, this breed is good at living in small spaces. That's because it is relatively inactive indoors, and only requires daily walks. However, this breed does tend to bark frequently.

  • Is this a good breed for a first-time dog owner?

    A black and tan coonhound is a great first dog because it is gentle and only needs moderate exercise. But it is a large dog, might be a bit stubborn to train, and does need constant company. So if you are a first-time dog owner who happens to be a homebody, this breed could be a great fit for your lifestyle.