Black and Tan Coonhound: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

black and tan coonhound

 

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An athletic hunting breed, Black and Tan Coonhounds are friendly, sociable hound dogs. Their noses are incredibly sensitive, and they have a sweet, easy-going personality that makes them a great choice for families. However, they are not well-suited to owners who work demanding jobs outside of the home, as they crave companionship and will complain (quite loudly) when left alone for long periods of time.

Breed Overview

Group: Hound

Weight: 65 to 110 pounds

Height: 23 to 27 inches

Coat: Short and dense

Coat Colors: Coal black with tan accents

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Characteristics of the Black and Tan Coonhound

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; his home state of Kentucky ultimately became a hub for coonhound breeding.

To this day, the activity of what came to be known as "treeing" raccoons with hounds is called a “nite” hunt. The word "nite" was misspelled intentionally as a nod to the uneducated woodsmen who ultimately were responsible for America’s coonhound breeds, including the Black and Tan.

The breed 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, bear, and even mountain lion.

Black and Tan Coonhound Care

Thanks to their short, dense coat that sheds once or twice a year, the Black and Tan Coonhound will require weekly brushing with a brush or rubber grooming mitt to help remove the dead hair before it ends up all over your living room furniture (and carpet, and bed, and pretty much anywhere your dog hangs out in the home). Regular grooming will also help keep their coat and skin healthy. Black and Tans should be bathed occasionally, with nails trimmed regularly, as long nails can create discomfort for these active dogs.

Black and Tans are sturdy, strong, and athletic, and will fit right in to 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. Black and Tan Coonhounds will require a moderate amount of daily exercise, which could be playing outside in the yard or a long, brisk walk.

Because of their prey drive, these dogs 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. Thanks to their breeding they will find any small animal irresistible; their powerful noses make these dogs ideal for anyone who enjoys hunting as a hobby, as they can be trained to hunt just about any kind of game.

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--so 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 thyroid issues, cataracts and hip dysplasia. Their ears can also be prone to infections, so they should be checked regularly. As with all breeds, their teeth should be brushed regularly with canine toothpaste at least twice a week.

Diet and Nutrition

The Black and Tan Coonhound should perform well with a high-quality commercially 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 in order to avoid weight gain or obesity-related issues.

Pros
  • Affectionate

  • Easy-going

  • Intelligent

Cons
  • Independent and difficult to train

  • Doesn't like to be alone

  • Strong prey drive

Where to Adopt or Buy a Black and Tan Coonhound

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

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

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

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