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While Prone to be A Working Dog First,
The Bluetick Is Extremely Affectionate and Responds to Good Training

Bluetick Coonhound

Although a hunter at heart, the Bluetick Coonhound (also affectionately known simply as the "Bluetick") is very often a devoted family companion today. It gets its name from the markings on its coat, which is a dark blue mottled pattern called "ticking." Sturdy yet lean, athletic and devoted to working, the Bluetick has the typical Coonhound "howling" bark. Determined and steady, this hunting hound can stay on the trail forever, which makes it a very prized hunting companion indeed. With lovable long, floppy ears and the classic "pleading" expression of the hound dog, your devoted pet will tug at your heartstrings – and his leash, as this dog is a hunting hound first and a walking companion second.

History
As the state dog of Tennessee, the Bluetick Coonhound selectively bred in Louisiana with cur dogs (which are extremely intuitive animals used to assist with herding droves of cattle and hunting by driving their prey up trees) including the English foxhound, French hounds, and English coon hounds all intermixed to ultimately produce the Bluetick. The coat color may indicate that it actually descended from the French Staghound, also known as the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. French hounds were brought to the Americas and contributed to all of the Coonhound breeds, one most notably owned by George Washington. He called their "musical" barking reminiscent of the "bells of Moscow." The original French Staghound was too slow to please most American hunters, but when interbred with American hounds, it produced the desired traits of endurance and the ability to follow cold trails.

The Bluetick was originally classified as an English Coonhound, but was separated from the English in 1945. This occurred because enthusiasts wanted to keep the original "cold-nosed," larger and steady personality traits of their breed when English Coonhound breeders wanted to produce a hunting companion that was hot-nosed and faster than the steady but somewhat slower-paced Bluetick. Briefly, puppies born with the Bluetick pattern were uniquely classified as the Bluetick hound, and those with red ticking were called English hounds. Ultimately, the differences between the two were duly reported as each group had its own enthusiastic followers.

Appearance
Muscular and built for speed, the Bluetick Coonhound has a black and white "mottling" pattern that actually looks navy blue on the body. The Coonhound face, with domed skull, broad head, and square muzzle, round eyes and thin, low-set ears is characteristic of the breed, with the texture of the coat itself somewhat coarse to the touch, but smooth, short and glossy. There can be tan markings on the white background of the coat as well, and the head and ears are usually black. The blue "ticking" should be more abundant than the white on the body for the dog to have proper markings for show. Standing 20 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing 45 to 80 pounds in adulthood, this Coonhound is lean without being scrawny. The large eyes often carry an expression of yearning or pleading typical of Coonhound breeds, something that most owners find particularly endearing.

Temperament
Gentle, affectionate and devoted, the Bluetick Coonhound is very intelligent and loving, and is especially attentive to owners that know how to be pack leader. The Bluetick needs an owner with a firm and authoritative (but gentle) manner, someone who knows to set him or her on task. Once given something to do, this dog is utterly attentive and focused, not one to give up easily. At home, this breed will be your shadow, looking to you for direction, affection, and comfort, and will return your love many times over.

One of the things that sets this breed apart from others is that it is likely to "tree" animals. This is great for hunting purposes, although it may be less than advised in a family situation. It is important for you to train your puppy early, as soon as you bring it home, to listen to you beyond anything else. Although attentive and exceedingly devoted, if you don't train your puppy early enough, it can develop a mind of its own and an independent streak that will be difficult if not impossible to break once older. Obedience classes are an excellent pursuit for this breed at no older than 10 to 12 weeks of age.

In general, the Bluetick can be taught to behave well around children and most other animals, but not small animals that are its natural prey. The hunting instinct in this breed is extremely strong, and your pet may not be able to listen to you even if it wants to. Therefore, do not keep small prey animals like rabbits or birds in the same vicinity as the Bluetick.

Finally, and notably, this breed is known for its "bawling" bark. Instead of a true bark, it's more of a howling cry, typical of most Coonhounds. In fact, your pet's howl will be so distinctive to you that you'll be able to tell when your pet is barking even at a distance – thus separating it from other pets' barks in the vicinity. Because of the distinctive bark (and because it can be quite loud), it's advised you don't keep the Bluetick in an apartment setting. Not only is this a breed that needs lots of exercise, the ability to run freely on a regular basis, and lots of activity in general, but your neighbors will not like the fact that your dog may howl or "bawl" at will. In a more private dwelling, your pet's howling is not likely to be so disturbing. This is in fact a most prized characteristic of the Bluetick for hunters, as the type of bark alerts a hunter that the Bluetick is on a scent.

Health
The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, Krabbe disease which is a rare, genetic, often fatal degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system, and cataracts. They are also prone to bloat, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. The dog’s long, floppy ears are susceptible to infections, so they should be checked weekly and kept clean and dry to avoid bacterial or yeast growth. Average life expectancy for the Bluetick is 10 to 12 years.

Grooming
Brush weekly with a rubber curry brush or hound mitt to keep your pet's coat shiny and clean. Some shedding will occur, but it will be minimal if you brush as needed. The Bluetick has a definite "doggie" odor, which you may or may not find endearing (much like the distinctive Bluetick "bark"). You can bathe if needed to reduce this smell, although you probably won't be able to get rid of it altogether. Trim your pet's nails every few weeks, and brush your pet's teeth daily with a good "doggie" toothpaste for good oral hygiene.

References
AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Bluetick Coonhound.
Retrieved August 31, 2013.

Bluetick Coonhound.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetick_Coonhound.
Retrieved August 31, 2013.

Bluetick Coonhound (Bluetick).
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/Bluetick.htm.
Retrieved August 31, 2013.

Bluetick Coonhound.
http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/Bluetick-Coonhound.
Retrieved August 31, 2013.

Group Classification: Hound

Recognized By: APRI, AKC, UKC, NKC, CKC, ANKC, ACR, DRA, AKC

Country of Origin: US

Date of Origin: 1900's

Hair Length: Short

Shedding: Minimal

Body Size: Small, Medium

Weight Male: 45-80 pounds

Height Male: 20-27 inches

Weight Female: 45-65 pounds

Height Female: 20-25 inches

Litter Size: 12-13 puppies

Life Expectancy: 11-12 years

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Colors
Preferred color is a dark blue, thickly mottled body, spotted by various shaped black spots on back, ears and sides.

Living Area
They are not recommended for apartment dwellers. Bluetick Coonhounds are hunters by nature and are not good with other household pets.