Born to lead and track, the coonhound has a long reputation of being one of the most effective canine hunting companions. Although there are many different types of coonhounds, they are all known for being naturally active and effective hunters.
Depending on your specific need, whether it be hunting game or competing in field trials, there’s likely a coonhound breed for you! Read on for more coonhound dog breed info.
The American Kennel Club recognizes five different types of coonhounds. This page explores the following breeds:
- American English coonhound
- Black and tan coonhound
- Bluetick coonhound
- Redbone coonhound
- Treeing walker coonhound
How Many Coonhound Breeds Are There?
In the U.S., the American Kennel Club tends to govern what is and isn’t an official dog breed. And in order to become an officially recognized breed, someone has to form a club, set breed standards, and follow the AKC’s steps toward recognition. Interestingly, some breed clubs, including the American pitbull terrier, opt not to apply for AKC membership. All of this is to say, this is the list of AKC-recognized types of coonhounds.
These are the five AKC-recognized coonhound breeds and their differences:
- American English coonhound: A sleek, lean, but muscular dog, the American English coonhound is beloved for its speed and endurance. However, this is the breed best first for hunting, with some features like its loud bark not fitting in most homes. It stands about 2 feet tall, weighing somewhere between 45 and 65 pounds. Life expectancy is roughly 11 to 12 years.
- Black and tan coonhound: A larger breed, the black and tan coonhound will work hard during the day but be lazy and sweet at night. This breed is as sweet as it is big and strong, but keep in mind that it’s still a hound and will give chase to any small animal in sight. It stands 23 to 27 inches tall and weighs somewhere between 65 and 110 pounds. Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
- Bluetick coonhound: Bluetick coonhounds are a classic American breed. High-endurance raccoon hunters, the bluetick is known for its big voice and a highly sensitive nose that can pick up prey trails a week old. It stands 21 to 27 inches tall and weighs between 55 and 80 pounds if male and 45 and 65 pounds if female. Life expectancy is 11 to 12 years.
- Redbone coonhound: Even-tempered, friendly and eager to hunt and please, the redbone coonhound is the classic hound bred by American settlers to hunt raccoons. Take note that this breed doesn’t do well with young children, as they mature slowly and are boisterous and rowdy when they’re young. It stands 21 to 27 inches tall and weighs between 45 and 70 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.
- Treeing walker coonhound: This breed was named for being bred to chase prey up into a tree and trap it there while calling to its master. These dogs are smart, brave, and very friendly with both families and other dogs. It stands 20 to 27 inches tall and weighs between 50 and 70 pounds. Life expectancy is 12 to 13 years.
Do Coonhounds Bark a Lot?
Are coonhounds known barkers?
Coonhounds are natural hunters, specifically bred to chase prey and alert their owners to where they are by barking and howling. Therefore, they’ve garnered a reputation for baying or howling, as this 30-second video shows:
How to stop a coonhound from excessive barking?
Coonhounds seek physical activity and socialization to burn excess energy. An unhappy, cooped up coonhound will want to hunt and chase, barking and howling to best express itself. With a strong prey drive, throwing a ball in a fenced backyard is a good outlet for this active breed.
During the training stage, it can be beneficial to purchase an ultrasonic BarxBuddy to aid in teaching a coonhound when it’s the right time to bark and when they need to stay calm. The BarxBuddy attaches an external stimulus to your corrective command, getting their attention and distracting their barking. That way, The BarxBuddy is not used as punishment, but rather as a tool to be used during training so that the coonhound learns when to stop barking on command.
Water training is also an option for coonhounds, as issuing a couple sprays of water from a squirt gun will distract the coonhound from barking. This is followed by a correction command, then a reward treat.
Facts About Coonhounds
Coonhounds are as American as apple pie, being the constant companions for frontiersmen and hunters who were settling the Americas. Coonhounds are pack animals, and will seek constant companionship in either other dogs or people. They’re bred to trail a scent until a prey animal, like a raccoon, is found. They let their owners know where they’ve trapped an animal by baying or howling periodically to alert them to their position. Different types of coonhound breeds are meant for different types of prey and conditions, as well as differences in owner lifestyle.
Are Coonhounds Hard to Train? Do They Make Good Pets?
An innate prey drive means that any type of hound will want to follow their nose and chase prey all day. A coonhound won’t be a good choice for a first time dog owner, as training requires a lot of patience and commitment. They also can’t be alone for too long, as they are pack animals that grow anxious and restless if left alone. Coonhounds also have very sharp, loud barks that can be difficult for apartments or any kind of urban living.
Are They Good With Children?
That said, coonhounds are very good with children and families. While keeping an eye on any breed of dog is best for younger children, most types of coonhounds will put up with any amount of petting. Their sociability can also be a liability if not trained properly, however, as they may jump up on guests and be generally obtrusive. Keep in mind a coonhound matures slower than most breeds, not properly becoming adults until 2 years old.
A coonhound, like any other dog, is a responsibility that will need constant care and attention in order to be happy. If you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll find a loving, family companion with surprising speed and endurance that perfectly fits your active lifestyle.
Do Coonhounds Need Grooming?
Although specific grooming needs vary across different breeds, coonhounds’ coats are generally short, dense, and require minimal grooming. Before doing any sort of grooming, it’s a good idea to take a dog for a short walk or throw a ball around to calm them down. However, keep in mind that most types of coonhounds have a distinct hound odor that never quite goes away. Finding a shedding tool like a grooming mitt is always a good idea. Their nails should be trimmed once a month, and most do well with an electric nail grinder.
American English Coonhound Grooming Needs
American English coonhounds have shorter hair and only require brushing with a bristle brush to remove dead hairs. A routine bath will be needed when they develop an odor.
Black and Tan Coonhound Grooming Needs
Black and tan coonhounds shed constantly and will need to be brushed down with a glove or bristle brush. Check your black and tan’s long, floppy ears for infection and wipe them off with a washcloth when needed. Be sure to brush your black and tan’s teeth when its breath begins to smell.
Bluetick Coonhound Grooming Needs
Blueticks have shorter hair, and will need brushing with a rubber bristle brush or a glove. Be sure to trim any hair around ears and feet to avoid infection or clumping.
Redbone Coonhound Grooming Needs
Redbones shed mildly, so brushing weekly is a good idea to remove dead hair and prevent excess shedding on furniture. They will need trimming between their foot pads to stay comfortable and checking around the eyes and ears for infection.
Treeing Walker Coonhound Grooming Needs
With a sleeker coat, treeing walkers only need a quick rub-down with a wire brush or glove to prevent shedding. Like with any other hound, check the ears for dirt and water buildup that would cause infection.
If you are interested in a coonhound’s natural hunter instinct but hope for the temperament or features of another breed, there are plenty of interesting types of coonhounds mixes available!
- Redbone retriever = redbone X Labrador/golden retriever
- Redbone shepherd = redbone X German shepherd
- Redbone coonnoodle = redbone X poodle
- Basset bluetick = basset hound X bluetick
- Bluetick coonhound harrier = bluetick X Harrier
- Bluetick walker = bluetick X treeing walker
- Bluetick rat terrier = bluetick X rat terrier
- BT walker = boxer X treeing walker
- English bull-walker = English bulldog X treeing walker
- Walker greyhound = treeing walker X greyhound