The Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed is a hunting dog at heart, but they make good family pets as well, because of their calm and quiet behavior indoors. They are affectionate to a degree, and make good companion dogs for people with active lifestyles. They are good with kids in general, but they may not be suitable for very young children because of their dominant nature.
The Black and Tan Coonhound has the distinction of being an all-American dog breed. Considered a crossbreed of Bloodhound and the black and tan Virginia Foxhound, they have been used as a hunting dog from early 18th century.
Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed got its name from raccoon hunting, but it was used for hunting larger animals such as bear too. The Appalachian Mountains, the Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains were their main areas of operation. The hunters of these areas preferred Black and Tan Coonhound for their superior scent tracking ability which was very important in these rugged places.
These dogs are known to keep their nose to the ground while going after the prey. They would start baying when they trap the prey, and then wait for their owner to come to the scene. They are still used for competitive hunting. There are annual events exclusively for Coonhound breeds, where the different breeds such as Blue Tick Coonhounds, Treeing Walkers, English Coonhounds and Plott Hounds compete along with the Black and Tan Coonhounds.
AKC’s official recognition for the Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed came in 1945, but their place is still with the hunting folk rather than at the dog shows.
As their name clearly says, this breed is bi-colored; predominantly black, with highlights or patches of tan on the face, limbs and chest. The legs are long and muscular. The dog stands tall, measuring 23-27 inches at the withers, and it weighs 70 to 75 pounds. The females are slightly smaller.
The coat has very short fur, the black areas having a definite shine. The ears are thin, large, and floppy. The tail is thin and long, and the dog carries it upright when it is excited.
The Black and Tan Coonhounds are calm and quiet indoors, but their true colors come out when they are outdoors picking up a scent. By nature, they are independent and stubborn dogs, ever ready to track and hunt. They have to be trained extremely well to obey commands if you want to prevent them from following their nose.
Except when it is on the trail, the dog has a gentle and mature disposition and is safe around children. But this dog may not always cater to a demanding child. It is reserved and uncomfortable with strangers, and may start to howl and bay to express its disapproval.
Grooming and exercise
The Black and Tan Coonhounds are easy to groom owing to their very short coat. All it takes is a light brushing to get rid of any dead hair; that too, once in two weeks.
These are high-energy dogs requiring a substantial amount of exercise and activities to keep fit and happy. It should ideally have access to a large secure area for roaming in, which makes this dog best suited for the country side or suburban areas. They like to run, and they can run for long distances without fatigue. When free runs are not possible, jogging with the owner, with the dog following on leash, or long walks in the park with some opportunity to run, should be sufficient. But it has to be a regular affair.
These are typically outdoor dogs, and they can withstand wide fluctuations in weather as long as they have some shelter from extreme heat and cold. They can live outside if need be, but when kept as a family dog, spending the nights indoors with the family is ideal.
Common health issues of Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed
The Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed is sturdy with relatively few health issues. These dogs are known to be prone to endocrine dysfunction such as hypothyroidism and eye disorders such as ectropion. Canine Hip Dysplasia can also occur. This breed is among those prone to canine Hemophilia B which is a genetically acquired bleeding disorder, but it is quite rare.