Bluetick Coonhound

Breed At A Glance


Friendly and a diligent hunter, but can be tough to train

Life Expectancy
11-12 years

Average Height
Males 22-27 inches; Females 21-25 inches

Average Weight
Males 55-80 lbs; Females 45-65 lbs

Coat Color
“Ticking” composed of black hairs on a white background, creating a bluing effect

Coat Length/Texture
Short, dense slightly coarse coat

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year-round

Also known as Blue Tick Coonhound

General Temperament

The Bluetick Coonhound is a very intelligent and family-friendly dog. They are kind and self-assured, and like many hounds, they bond deeply to their family. Blueticks love to bark and howl and will do so to greet visitors, although they are not naturally aggressive towards people. They will, however, sniff new arrivals thoroughly until they are satisfied, which can be off-putting to people who aren’t familiar with the breed. Blueticks have admirable endurance and a strong dedication to their work, often excelling in hunting and tracking trials.

When properly socialized from puppyhood, Bluetick Coonhounds are quite tolerant with children, although kids should be taught to not take advantage of this fact. Some individuals can be somewhat dog aggressive. Early socialization is very important to this breed. Blueticks have an inherent passion for the hunt and should not be trusted around smaller house pets, such as cats or rabbits.

Although they are intelligent and eager to please their owner/handler, training a Bluetick Coonhound can be an arduous process. They require consistency, patience and adequate motivation. But once trained, they make wonderful companion pets and dedicated hunters. They are not recommended for apartment life as they need plenty of room to roam; they will function best in a house with a large yard. Like many scent hounds, Blueticks cannot help but follow their nose once they pick up a scent, so be sure to keep the dog on a lead when not in a secure area.

This breed loves to bark and howl, and any new owner must be prepared to accept this as part of owning a Bluetick.

Breed History

The Bluetick Coonhound most likely found its origins in Louisiana from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne (French Staghound) and the English Foxhound. This breed was established as a raccoon hunter, fastidiously trailing and treeing their prey for their human hunting companions over difficult terrain and in bad weather. They were originally classified as English Coonhounds, but American breeders chose to develop the breed separately to promote endurance rather than speed during the hunt. The breed took on the name “Bluetick” in 1945.

Although this breed enjoys recognition with the United Kennel Club, the Australian National Kennel Club and the New Zealand Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club only accepts foundation stock registration of Blueticks at this time (as of April, 2008).

Body Structure and Composition

The Bluetick Coonhound is so named for their black-on-white speckled coat, which creates a bluing effect. It is a large breed with a deep chest and sturdy, agile body. The pendulous ears are set low on the skull. The muzzled is squared and proportionate to the skull. The dog is slightly longer than it is tall, and the topline is higher at the shoulders than at the hips. The tail curls up in an elegant arc. The Bluetick has a steady and determined gait, covering a large amount of ground with each stride.

Medical Information

The Bluetick Coonhound is a healthy breed with very few common health issues. Some can develop eye problems as they age. Hip Dysplasia, a condition in which the head of the thigh bone no longer fits firmly in the “cup” provided by the hip socket causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms, is occasionally seen in this breed.

Some individuals can also experience bloat, also known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). 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. Feeding the dog two to three small meals per day (as opposed to one large meal) and avoiding exercise immediately after eating may help prevent this condition.

The Bluetick’s floppy ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid infections.

Anecdotal Information

The official mascot of the University of Tennessee is a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey. Additionally, the Bluetick is the state dog of Tennessee.

The Bluetick Coonhound is featured in the book Where the Red Fern Grows.

Several singer/songwriters, including Emmylou Harris, Charlie Daniels and Neil Young, have written and performed songs about the Bluetick.

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