Five of the six breeds of coonhound recognized by the American Kennel Club are relative latecomers to the organization. The black and tan coonhound was recognized by the AKC in 1945 while the plott hound had to wait until 2006. The redbone and bluetick coonhounds were recognized in 2009, while the American English coonhound was recognized in 2011. The treeing Walker coonhound was the last coonhound recognized, in 2012. All six breeds belong to the organization's hound group.
Black and Tan Coonhound
The black and tan's roots are believed to stretch back to his 11th century English ancestor, the Talbot hound. The American Kennel Club states that the Saint Hubert Hound and the Talbot hound are believed to be the black and tan's predecessors. Today, he's bred for color -- black and tan -- and his ability to hunt possum and raccoon. He's also adept at hunting deer and big game such as mountain lion and bear. A medium-sized dog, he stands approximately 27 inches at the shoulder and is energetic, smart and friendly.
The redbone coonhound is descended from red foxhounds brought to America by Scottish immigrants in the late 1700s. His height ranges from 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder and as his breed standard states, he should sport a "flashy red coat." He's a very energetic dog who is willing to work for a living. He'll hunt a variety of game, serve as a search and rescue dog or keep the kids busy playing. Intelligent and adaptable, he's also a good candidate for agility, obedience and tracking work.
The bluetick coonhound has some French blood in him, from the French staghound, as well as English foxhound. This hound ranges between 21 and 27 inches at the shoulder and 45 and 80 pounds. His name comes from his ticked black and blue coat. This is a dog with a very high energy level and strong prey drive, so he needs an owner who will keep him busy and put some effort into training him. The bluetick's family will be rewarded with a devoted, affectionate family member. He also excels at agility and obedience, as well as water racing, tracking and treeing contests.
American English Coonhound
The American English coonhound is a descendant of the English foxhound, who was referred to as a Virginia hound in colonial United States. Bred for the rougher terrain of the colonies, he hunted fox in the day and raccoon at night. Standing between 23 and 26 inches tall at the shoulders, he's known for his speed and endurance. When performing his hunting duties, he's stubborn and tireless and at home he's a loving companion. He needs vigorous exercise and makes a good cycling or running companion.
Treeing Walker Coonhound
The treeing Walker coonhound has similar bloodlines as the American English coonhound; he also has ties to the English foxhound. He stands between 20 and 27 inches at the shoulder, with a black, white and tan coat. This is a "very" dog: very intelligent, very energetic and very confident. With proper training and sufficient exercise, he's a great family dog, who often gets along well with children, other dogs and even cats.
The Plott has German roots, from the Hanoverian bloodhound, who was prized for his ability to locate animals wounded or left for dead for a week or more. Today he's the state dog of North Carolina and is as tenacious as his ancestors. The Plott is still used for coon hunting, however he's powerful enough to take on big game such as boar and bear. He stands between 20 and 25 inches tall and comes in a variety of colors, including brindle, black and a rare buckskin. He's an intelligent, loyal dog, however he can become possessive of food and toys, so he requires firm training.
- Coonhounds were bred to hunt. For the coonhound owner that means he's likely to have a dog that is vocal and energetic with a high prey drive.
- Generally, coonhounds require regular, vigorous exercise; after they've had their fill, however, they are happy to wind down with the family.