The Black and Tan Coonhound is a breed of dog used principally for trailing and treeing raccoons. It was developed from crosses between the Bloodhound, and the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. The Black and Tan Coonhound runs its game entirely by scent.
Black and Tan Coonhound weighs 65–75 pounds (29–34 kg) and is 23–27 inches (58–69 cm) in height. The coat is short, dense and glossy. The eyes are hazel to brown, the ears are extremely long, wide, and thin, are set low and far back on the dog's head, and hang well down the neck. The black and tan markings are similar to the Doberman's and the Rottweiler's. The Black and Tan Coonhound's bark is loud and baying; it has been described as a deep howl. The breed standard includes muscular legs that are long in proportion to body length. The tail is set slightly below the natural line of the back. If the dog is alert or excited it carries its tail at a right angle. Males are usually larger and heavier than females.
Not the prototypical house dog, the Black and Tan Coonhound, nonetheless, makes an exemplary pet. It is mellow, amiable, calm, and unobtrusive indoors. Outdoors, its strong hunting instincts take over, and it can be difficult to turn it from a track after it starts trailing. As befitting a dog with its heritage, it is strong, independent, and stubborn. The Black and Tan Coonhound is gentle and tolerant with children, but it may be too independent to satisfy a playful child. It is reserved with strangers and in their presence may bay and howl. The Black and Tan Coonhound can run for miles although it is usually content with a moderate jog or long walk, with an occasional excursion into the field. It can wander if it catches a scent, so a safe area is mandatory.
Use The courage of the Coonhound also makes it proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, cougar and other big game although many US states are restricting the hunting of antlered animals with dogs. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness, as well as the ability to cover ground swiftly with powerful rhythmic strides. Each hound has its own distinctive voice which is often recognizable to its owners from a great distance.
General care Its coat needs only occasional brushing. Most Coonhounds drool to some extent, and the face may need regular wiping. The ears should also be checked regularly.
Health Generally healthy, there is some risk of hip dysplasia, ear cancer and other ear infections, and eye problems. Litter size is generally eight puppies. Expected longevity is 10–12 years.
History The Black and Tan Coonhound is descended from the Talbot Hound, found in medieval England after the eleventh century. Its ancestry is then traced through the Bloodhound and the Foxhound to the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. In 1945, the Black and Tan Coonhound became the only one of the six varieties of Coonhound to be recognized by the American Kennel Club, in the Hound Group. The Redbone Coonhound and the Plott Hound have since been recognized in the Miscellaneous Class. The other three varieties of Coonhound are the Bluetick Coonhound, the English Coonhound, and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.
Notable Black and Tan Coonhounds President George Washington had four Black and Tan Coonhounds named Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy.