The Redbone coonhound is a mild-mannered yet energetic hound dog of medium to large size with a friendly and loyal disposition. Easily recognized by their brilliant reddish mahogany color and beautiful eyes full of expression, these hard-working hounds are well-suited to both hunting and companionship. Redbones are also known for their voices—like most hounds, they bay. Some find the Redbone's bay rather sweet and song-like, while others find it irritating.
HEIGHT: 21 to 27 inches at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 45 to 70 pounds
COAT: Short, smooth
COAT COLOR: Deep, solid red
LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years
TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, independent, energetic, intelligent, fun-loving, friendly
ORIGIN: United States
Characteristics of the Redbone Coonhound
Though the Redbone coonhound is an energetic hunting dog with a short attention span, it's actually a laidback breed and easy to be around with its goofy yet soulful personality. Redbones are scent hounds, so the dog will sniff everything with great concentration and intensity. These dogs have lovable personalities, making them desirable family pets.
|Tendency to Bark||High|
|Amount of Shedding||Low|
History of the Redbone Coonhound
Redbone coonhounds originated from red foxhounds brought to the United States by Scottish immigrants in the late 18th century. While you might think their name comes from their color, it actually derives from the name of an early breeder, Peter Redbone.
The majority of the breed's development took place in the Southeastern United States, especially in the state of Georgia. Over time, the Scottish foxhounds were bred for raccoon-hunting traits and were eventually crossed with Irish hounds and possibly bloodhounds which led to the Redbone coonhound we know today. Originally the Redbone's coats featured a black saddleback streak, but through years of breeding their fur evolved into its notable red color.
By the end of the 19th century, the Redbone coonhound was a well-established breed. Redbones have continued to act as excellent hunters and loyal companions. The Redbone coonhound was officially accepted into the American Kennel Club (AKC) hound group in 2009, yet they're still rare outside of North America.
Redbone Coonhound Care
Redbone coonhounds can be great family dogs when properly trained. Socialization is equally important for a Redbone as exercise. This breed is generally friendly to everyone, which makes it a poor guard dog but a good companion. True to its hunting dog roots, this dog is usually not excessively clingy with its owner. Another advantage is that this breed has low-maintenance grooming needs.
This breed has loads of energy and can easily become bored, so adequate exercise is essential—as much as 90 minutes per day is recommended by some experts. These hounds are excellent swimmers, so this is another option to fulfill the dog's movement needs.
Redbones should be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in area and not permitted to roam free. Once they catch an interesting scent, they'll follow it with intensity. With a strong desire to hunt, this hound can get pretty far very fast. Taking your dog for a long walk with lots of opportunities to sniff will help to keep him happy and stimulated.
Redbone coonhounds have short, smooth coats with a fairly low rate of shedding. Routine basic grooming with weekly brushing is all that's typically necessary to keep Redbones looking their best. They tend to have a distinctive musky hound odor, which you can keep at bay with regular bathing.
Like all dogs with long floppy ears, it's important to keep the ears clean and dry to prevent infection. Trim your dog's nails to prevent splitting and tears. Brush your dog's teeth a couple of times each week at a minimum for good dental hygiene and to help prevent gum infections.
Redbones are intelligent dogs, but they can also have a stubborn streak. Proper training is an absolute necessity and will help strengthen the bond between you and your dog. They're easily trained for hunting duties but other mundane commands don't click as naturally. They need lots of patience and persistence when being trained as they're said to be prone to canine Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). As common to most hounds, they're also known to creatively interpret your commands rather than follow them in the way you intended.
Common Health Problems
Redbone coonhounds are generally very healthy dogs. The breed can sustain running injuries while on the hunt, however. Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are two conditions to watch for in a Redbone:
Diet and Nutrition
A Redbone coonhound will need about 2.5 cups of dry dog food per day. It's best to give two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal or allowing free feeding. They're known to be enthusiastic eaters and are prone to overeating.
Be sure to monitor your pet to see whether he is gaining weight. Obesity can shorten a dog's lifespan and put him at risk for other conditions. Discuss an overweight dog with your veterinarian to get recommendations for a feeding schedule, food amount, dog food type, and exercise needs.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Redbone Coonhound
Before searching for a Redbone, think about whether you can give it enough exercise, whether you have any other small animals in your home, and if you're able to bathe it to control its hound odor. If you think you've found the perfect pet match in the Redbone coonhound, start by reaching out to an advocacy organization:
These groups will be able to pair you with a reputable breeder or rescue in your local area. If you aren't certain the breed is right for you, you may be able to try foster care to test if a Redbone coonhound is an ideal pet for your home and lifestyle.
Redbone Coonhound Overview
Great hunting companions
Energetic and lively
Poor guard dogs
Challenging to train for long periods
Loud baying and howling
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
If you think the Redbone coonhound is the right dog breed for you, be sure to do plenty of research before adopting one. Talk to other Redbone owners, reputable breeders, and hound rescue groups to learn more.
If you are interested in similar breeds, look into these to explore their pros and cons:
Otherwise, explore our wide variety of dog breed profiles. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.
Are Redbone coonhounds good apartment dogs?
If you're adopting a Redbone coonhound, be aware that their bay can be a problem in an apartment, urban, or even in a suburban setting. Luckily, they're not as vocal as other hounds when they aren't on the hunt.
Are Redbones good with children?
Redbones tend to get along very well with children and other dogs. They might play too energetically for a toddler, but playing with older children can keep the dog and kids entertained. It may be hard for a younger child to control this dog on a leash—especially if the dog catches the scent of potential food.
Do Redbones get along with cats in the house?
Redbones have a very high prey drive and are hard-wired to chase raccoons and other small animals. Extra care should be taken to socialize your dog to cats. If the two are to share a household, the Redbone should ideally be raised from puppyhood with the cat. Fortunately, they're said to do better with cats than other coonhound breeds.
Are Redbones good for first-time dog owners?
Absolutely yes, but with one big caveat when it comes to training. They are gentle, loving souls that can potentially be easy to train if sessions are kept short (a maximum of 10 minutes) and fun. Redbones tend to learn something and stick with it, which is why a first-time dog owner needs to avoid teaching the dog bad habits that it may never be able to unlearn. It's advisable for novice dog owners to get a Redbone professional basic dog training quickly after bringing it home.