Black & Tan Coonhound

Loyal Companion for Hunting – and for Life

Black & Tan Coonhound

Black and Tan Coonhound: Loyal Companion for Hunting – and for Life

The Black and Tan Coonhound was originally a hunting dog and still does well for this task. However, it's also a great companion dog, passionate about working, and very dedicated to "tracking" tasks. It loves its owner and is willing to listen without fail. It's gentle and friendly with people, including children, although like any dog, it must be taught that its owner is its master, since without proper training, a Black and Tan Coonhound may become destructive or high-strung.


The Black and Tan Coonhound probably had as its ancestors the St. Hubert Bloodhounds and the Talbot hounds. The Black and Tan Foxhound may also have been another ancestor. The Talbot hounds are now extinct. The Black and Tan Coonhound is the first of the coonhounds to be considered separate from the foxhound. The Talbot hound was a favorite of William I, Duke of Normandy, in the 11th century. The now-classic black and tan colors were specifically bred in over a period of years.

Originally, the Black and Tan Coonhound was used to trail and tree raccoons (hence the name "coonhound"), keeping them in place until human hunters could come and take care of the task at hand. They've also been used very efficiently to hunt other game like deer, opossum, bears – and even mountain lions. It does well in difficult terrain, perfect for hunting tasks, and can withstand both intense heat and bitter cold. First recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945, this breed makes a great watchdog as well as hunting companion, with superior tracking abilities and exquisite physical agility.


Black and Tan Coonhounds have an exquisite sense of smell and track game entirely by scent. Today, these dogs also make great family pets, given their sense of loyalty, gentle natures, and unwavering devotion to their masters. They can still also be used for hunting purposes, of course, and these are dogs that love to work. They are very agile and athletic, and they crave something to "do."

Different types of Black and Tan Coonhounds: Field and Show

There are actually two different types of Black and Tan Coonhounds: those that are bred specifically to work for hunting and field trial work, and those that are bred for show. Both are very energetic and need lots of exercise, but those bred to work specifically in the field are even more energetic and need even more exercise. Both make perfect family pets, as long as they are given firm but gentle discipline at all times, are trained to follow direction, and are allowed the generous amount of exercise they demand.


Today, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a large dog, specific to the United States. It's considered an all-American breed, one of the few. Adult males stand 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder, with females being slightly smaller, 23 to 25 inches tall. The dog is moderately heavy, with a weight of between 50 and 75 pounds, lean for its size.

The coonhound has a long, oval head with a long muzzle, long, low-hanging ears, and round, hazel to dark brown eyes. This is a sturdy dog, with long, straight legs and a long, narrow tail that's carried gracefully in a low curve or above the back.

As the name implies, these dogs are black all over with tan markings above their eyes, on the sides of their muzzles, and on their toes, chests and legs.


The Black and Tan Coonhound's ears will need regular attention because of a propensity for ear infections, but other than that, a regular coat brushing is generally all that's needed for good upkeep.


This beloved family pet and dedicated working dog craves direction and control. As long as they are properly socialized, Black and Tan Coonhounds are utterly devoted, gentle companions and diligent working dogs; they exist to answer to their masters, and love to work. However, if Black and Tan Coonhounds are not properly socialized, they can become aggressive simply because they don't know what to do. They truly crave firm, patient, consistent leadership to be happy. They train very successfully and are absolutely attentive and devoted when given firm but kind direction.

The Black and Tan Coonhound is extremely energetic, with field-type coonhounds being even more energetic than those bred specifically for show. Your pet must absolutely have vigorous daily exercise, including at least one long walk every day. These are perfect pets for families, because they are very docile and patient (again, as long as they're properly socialized) and will do well even with rambunctious children. Care should be taken, however, to make sure that your pet knows any children are above him or her in the "pack" order. As long as this is done, Black and Tan Coonhounds are extremely well-behaved, calm and subservient even with small children.

Possible Aggression

However, even the most angelic pets can become aggressive if they're not given enough direction. They can become high-strung and snappish (dangerous for dogs of this size) if they're not given enough exercise, or if their masters don't let them know that they are consistently in control. Strange dogs can sometimes cause your pet to be aggressive if you don't exercise absolute authority. While this dog is exceedingly obedient in almost every situation, if there's a strong scent to follow, your pet may have a propensity to passionately track it.

Propensity To Run

As obedient as the Black and Tan Coonhound is, it's still a hunter at heart. Therefore, you should never let your pet off his or her leash in an unsafe area, as any scent that piques its interest can cause your pet to simply take off after it. Even though you may very often be able to tell your pet to heel with complete assurance that he or she will obey, you should still play it safe if there's any traffic, etc., around. Unfamiliar (and interesting) scents may prove too much to resist, luring your pet into frantic pursuit with little attention to surroundings.


True to its origins as a hound-dog, the Black and Tan Coonhound will howl relentlessly if left alone. Because they are so dedicated to their masters, they can also experience extreme separation anxiety when isolated. Your pet should always have companionship and should not be left alone for any length of time.

Best Environment

Since black and tan coonhounds don't do well if left alone, with little exercise, without consistent discipline, or a true purpose in ife, they also don't do well in a confined apartment space. While they crave the challenge of vigorous activity, they can at times be relatively inactive when they're indoors as long as they're given lots of exercise at other times. They should have at least a large yard to run and play in, as well as daily walks. They do best in family environments, with lots of activity and people to bond with.


The Black and Tan Coonhound is quite healthy, and very athletic. It can run for miles at a stretch and is not prone to many health problems except for hip dysplasia (common with large breeds), as well as some propensity for ear infections. Not a particularly tidy dog, this breed is an ample drooler, which is not considered a health problem but instead simply a characteristic of the breed. The Black and Tan Coonhound has a long lifespan. These dogs live roughly 10 to 14 years, quite long for a breed of this size.


AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Black and Tan Coonhound.

Retrieved February 3, 2012.

American Black and Tan Coonhound (Black and Tan) (Black and Tan Coonhound).

Retrieved February 3, 2012.

Black and Tan Coonhound.

Retrieved February 3, 2012.

Black and Tan Coonhound-History and Health.

Retrieved February 3, 2012.

Spotlight Breed: The Black and Tan Coonhound.

Retrieved February 3, 2012.

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