Redbone Coonhound

Breed At A Glance


Affectionate, people-oriented, good problem solvers

Life Expectancy
11-12 years

Average Height
21-27 inches

Average Weight
50-70 lbs

Coat Color

Coat Length/Texture
Shiny, smooth and short

Shedding Propensity
Light year round

Also known as Red, Reds

General Temperament

As a hunter, the Redbone Coonhound is fierce with unending endurance, and can work over various terrain in all types of weather. As a family pet, it is even-tempered, loyal and affectionate. Although they were bred to be revered treeing hounds, they can be happy just being with their human family and taking part in everyday activities. This breed has a melodious baying bark which they use liberally on the hunt as well as in the home.

The even-tempered Redbone Coonhound is a great companion for children, although the can be somewhat overwhelming for smaller children. They are pack hunters and therefore will usually get along well with other dogs. Their treeing instinct runs very strong, however, and they may try to hunt other household pets such as cats. Redbones are sweet-natured dogs, and although they may bark to announce the arrival of visitors, they are not reliable guard dogs.

Redbones love to please their owners, but because they mature slowly both mentally and physically, they can take a bit longer to train. Puppies can be particularly boisterous and destructive if not given appropriate amounts of activity. Adults of this breed are excellent problem-solvers, and can find ways into (or out of) seemingly secured containers or enclosures, including crates and backyard fences.

This breed is energetic and active and not recommended for apartment life. Redbone Coonhounds will function best in a home with at least a medium-sized yard. They also enjoy a good swim. They are aggressive on the hunt and may run off if they pick up a good scent, or sight something they may want to tree; it is therefore important to train them to be on a leash from an early age, otherwise they may try to drag you along with them.

Breed History

The Redbone Coonhound evolved as a cross between Red Foxhounds and Irish Foxhounds, which were brought to the United States during the 18th century. American hunters sought a “hot-nosed” hunting dog, i.e. a dog that could follow a fresh trail quickly and swiftly tree raccoons. For a brief period, breeders in the southeastern United States (namely Georgia and Tennessee) focused on establishing a dog with a flashy solid red coat that could be reproduced reliably from generation to generation by carefully breeding various local treeing hounds (the Bloodhound may also have been included). Once the brilliant color was achieved, they returned to improving the breed’s function and versatility. By 1900, the versatile and efficient Redbone Coonhound was already a well-respected breed.

The Redbone Coonhound is currently listed under the “Miscellaneous” class with the American Kennel Club as it awaits full breed recognition.

Body Structure and Composition

The handsome Redbone Coonhound is a strong and well-proportioned dog, approximately as long as it is tall. The skull is broad and flat, flanked by long pendulous ears set low on the head. A “pleading” expression accentuates the face. The lean neck leads down to a topline that is slightly higher at the shoulder than it is at the hindquarters. Redbones have a deep chest with well-sprung ribs, allowing for maximum lung capacity during the hunt. The legs are well-boned and muscular and the feet are webbed. They have a swift and steady gait on even the roughest of terrain.

Medical Information

The most prevalent medical problem facing the Redbone Coonhound is Hip Dysplasia, a condition which occurs when the head of the thigh bone degenerates and no longer fits into the cup provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of this disease, and reputable breeders should be able to provide this information to potential puppy buyers upon request.

Obesity can also be a problem for this breed. Be sure to feed your Redbone a high quality diet and give him plenty of exercise.

The coat of this breed is easy to care for and requires only an occasional brushing. They tend to have a strong “doggie odor,” but should only be bathed when absolutely necessary.

Anecdotal Information

Two Redbone Coonhounds named “Old Dan” and “Little Ann” were featured as the beloved pets of Billy Coleman in the novel Where the Red Fern Grows.

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