Redbone Coonhound

An Excellent Hunter, the Redbone Coonhound Is Also a Wonderful Companion for Children

The Redbone Coonhound originated in Georgia, when one Peter Redbone began to develop the breed in the late 1800s. After his initial attempts, other breeders got together and decided to develop a good hunting dog that was red in color, and that had both agility and speed. Their first litters were dogs with red coats and black "saddle" markings, which they called "Saddlebacks."

After some more experimentation, the black was eliminated and the dog that we know today came to be, with its red coat. These dogs are perfect for hunting, and have all the qualities that hunters (and breeders of hunting dogs) typically look for. The Redbone Coonhound is the second coonhound to be registered in the United Kennel Club, and until recently was only known for its hunting abilities rather than its achievements in the show ring. Only now are owners beginning to show them; the Redbone Coonhound was registered with the American Kennel Club in 2001 as member of its Hound Group.


With red foxhounds brought to America in the late 1700s by Scottish immigrants, and Red Irish foxhounds imported before the Civil War, raccoon hunters began to look for fast, hot-nosed dogs that could locate and tree raccoons. By the late 1800s, the first Redbone Coonhounds came to be when the American Foxhound and Bloodhound were interbred. There's some disagreement as to where the name actually comes from: It could come from either the breeder's name, Peter Redbone, the deep rich color of the dog's coat, and/or the colloquial label of "Redbone," used for any dog that was a good hunter/tree dog and red in color.

After significant refinement, these solid red dogs became a specialized breed that focused on prey that climbed trees (such as raccoons), without fear of larger prey. The Redbone Coonhound is also agile enough to travel over varied terrain and even to swim if necessary. The Redbone Coonhound can handle both large and small prey.

Originally, the Redbone Coonhound was not a show dog. While hunters loved the breed, they were unknown outside of those circles. Today, however, the American Kennel Club recognizes it as a show breed, and it's been classified at the AKC Westminster show as of 2011. Because the breed is still largely used for hunting, the Redbone Coonhound is relatively unknown outside of the United States – and yet to be discovered in Australia or Europe.

Notably, it is assumed that the Redbone Coonhound was the dog represented in the famous book and movie of the same name, Where the Red Fern Grows.


Strong, robust, and beautiful, the Redbone Coonhound has a smooth, shiny, coarse and "thin" coat that doesn't require a lot of care. Interestingly, even though thin, the coat provides plenty of protection against the weather. The coat is almost always some varied shade of red, although very occasionally, black puppies have still been born. There are sometimes small white markings on the legs or chest. The Redbone Coonhound is the only coonhound to be solid in color.

The Redbone Coonhound stands 21 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weight is generally from 45 to 70 pounds in adulthood. Muscular, lean, and well proportioned, the Redbone Coonhound is typical of a coonhound, with a wide-barrel chest, straight legs, and an expressive face adorned by long ears and a "sorrowful" expression. The head is held high and proud when the Redbone Coonhound is hunting or being shown.


This lovely, highly cherished dog is arguably the most beloved of the coonhound breed, and the easiest to handle, with a mellow, easy-going personality that aspires to please. This dog serves as an excellent companion – especially to children. Goofy, empathetic, intelligent and energetic, the Redbone Coonhound becomes incredibly attached to its human family.

The Redbone Coonhound is also perfectly at home with other pets as long as it has been introduced to them while still a puppy. Be aware that this dog may think that cats and other small rodent-type pets are prey if never exposed to them while quite young. This is instinctive behavior that can be squelched for the most part if you acquaint your Redbone Coonhound to the other pets in the house while the dog is in early development.

Self-control? Not quite. Although the Redbone Coonhound is very obedient, if you leave food anywhere within reach, be aware that it may be gone before you get a chance to do anything. So keep people food in general and toxins such as chocolate safely concealed to avoid any unnecessary hazards.

Finally, this dog is extremely intelligent and yearns to win your approval – but has a relatively short attention span and a definite tendency to interpret your commands in ways which may be self-serving. If you see your dog doing something wrong, correct the flaw gently right away – while always maintaining positive reinforcement – because once a Redbone Coonhound misunderstands a particular behavior as "acceptable" or "appropriate," it can be very difficult to remove that perception from its repertoire and make sure it doesn't happen again. Socialization is necessary early and often; obedience classes work well for Redbone Coonhounds, too.


Relatively hardy and with few health problems, like many dogs, the Redbone Coonhound can still be prone to hip dysplasia; ask your breeder to give you OFA certification as to the quality of your puppy's health in this regard. It's also a good idea to have your puppy cleared by the Canine Registry for the eye problems to which Redbones can be prone. It's not a good idea to rely on a "vet check" instead of genetic testing to determine whether there are any problems. Once your pet is older, it will be prone to arthritis, as many dogs are. Average life expectancy for the Redbone Coonhound is 11 to 12 years.


Fortunately, the Redbone Coonhound needs very little grooming. Just brush occasionally; this dog sheds very little.



Retrieved April 9, 2015.

Redbone Coonhound.

Retrieved April 9, 2015.

Redbone Coonhound.

Retrieved April 9, 2015.

Redbone Coonhounds.

Retrieved April 9, 2015.

Redbone Coonhound.

Retrieved April 9, 2015.

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