Black and Tan Coonhound

Breed At A Glance


Alert and dedicated, can be wary of strangers

Life Expectancy
10-12 years

Average Height
23-27 inches

Average Weight
50-75 pounds

Coat Color
Black and tan

Coat Length/Texture
Short and sleek

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year-round

General Temperament

The Black and Tan Coonhound possesses a strong work ethic and intense loyalty to it’s owner. Bred to be an all-terrain hunter, this scent hound is happiest on the hunt in the open air and are excellent problem solvers. They are intelligent, alert and eager to follow their master, but require consistent training from an owner who is not afraid to take the reins. They can enjoy being couch potatoes when they are given enough exercise or work, and love living amongst their human families.

Many Black and Tan Coonhounds are happy and easy going, although temperaments among individuals can vary quite a bit. Some can be more aggressive, particularly towards stranger dogs, although this will pass in time as they are natural pack hunters. They are generally good with children, but some can tend to play a little too rough for younger kids. They are not recommended for household with cats or other small animals.

Black and Tan Coonhounds will bark to announce the arrival of visitors but are unlikely to harm them, unless they sense danger or witness a loved one being harmed. However, there are individuals who are more suspicious of strangers, so early socialization is the best approach, especially with companion pets.

Black and Tan Coonhounds have a tendency to follow their nose whenever an interesting scent pops up, so it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash when not in a secure or safe area. They are inactive indoors and require extensive outdoor exercise; they will function best in a home with a large yard where they can roam free.

The Black and Tan Coonhound will remain active and puppy-like well into their golden years.

Breed History

The Black and Tan Coonhound was developed in the United States around the 1700’s by crossing the Bloodhound with the Virginia Foxhound, based mainly on coloring patterns. They were used by Indian fighters and scouts during the late 1700’s over many different terraines and climates. This breed is an excellent scent hound bred to trail and tree raccoon, but it’s tenacity and courage also make it an excellent hunter of deer, bear and other big game.

In 1945, the Black and Tan Coonhound was the first of the coonhounds to be considered a separate breed by the American Kennel Club.

Body Structure and Composition

The Black and Tan Coonhound is a large, muscular and very well proportioned dog that is generally as long as it is tall. The upper plane of the skull is parallel to the plane of the muzzle. The lips are pendulous, and promote a tendency to drool. The long ears fall in folds on the side of the face and help to trap and concentrate scent. The Black and Tan Coonhound has a level topline and deep chest. The strong tail is carried freely. It has a long gait and can cover a large amount of area with each stride.

Medical Information

The Black and Tan Coonhound is a relatively healthy dog, although Hip Dysplasia can be a problem for this breed. Hip Dysplasia occurs when head of the thigh bone no longer fits firmly in the “cup” provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms.

This breed also sees a low incidence of heart and eye problems, and can on rare occasions experience Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV), also knows as bloat/torsion. Excess gas trapped in the dog’s stomach causes “bloat,” and twisting of the stomach (volvulus or “torsion”) causes or is caused by said excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment.

Special care must be paid to the Black and Tan Coonhound’s pendulous ears to prevent infection and parasitic infestations. Be sure to clean them regularly, particularly after a day outdoors in the brush. Brushing once a week to remove shed hair will help maintain household cleanliness. Be careful not to overfeed this breed as they have a tendency towards obesity.

Anecdotal Information

The Black and Tan Coonhound is one of the rarer breeds in the United States. In 2007, the American Kennel Club ranked them 136th out of 157 breeds based on registration statistics.

There are few breeders in the U.S. that focus on this breed, so the price of a puppy can be high. But, as with all pure breeds, paying more in the beginning for a well-bred puppy will often save money and heartache in the future.

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