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Get to Know the Black and Tan Coonhound, a Southern Charmer

This trailing dog is laid-back and easygoing -- until he gets a whiff of raccoon. Then you had better be ready to run!

Caroline Coile  |  Nov 30th 2015


Want a living breathing piece of Americana? One who can bay louder than any dog in the neighborhood and trail any raccoon to its tree? The Black and Tan Coonhound is an easygoing, amiable fellow who seldom gets the respect he deserves.

 by Shutterstock.

Black and Tan Coonhound by Shutterstock.

More interesting things about the Black and Tan Coonhound

  • One of the few true American breeds, the Black and Tan was developed in the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, Ozark, and Smokey mountains from crosses of Bloodhounds and various Foxhounds, particularly the black and tan Virginia Foxhound.
  • Originally developed to trail raccoons and bears, they now specialize in raccoons and opossums, often trailing at night. They trail accurately and swiftly; owners can distinguish a dog’s particular voice when baying.
  • Recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1945, it is a popular breed for UKC night (“nite”) hunts.
Back & Tan Coonhound by Shutterstock.

Black and Tan Coonhound by Shutterstock.

  • The AKC also recognized the breed in 1945. It is a member of the Hound group.
  • It has competed in the Westminster dog show since 1947, but only twice has one even placed in the Hound group there.
  • The Black and Tan is a type of scenthound — a dog who hunts by following a mammalian scent trail. It has an extremely keen sense of smell, but is swifter than a Bloodhound.
  • The breed is much more popular as a hunting dog than as a pet, although it makes a fine companion.
BLack and Tan Coonhound by Shutterstock.

Black and Tan Coonhound by Shutterstock.

  • The Black and Tan Coonhound is currently the 120th most popular AKC breed, down dramatically from 86th five years ago.
  • The Black and Tan may be confused with the Bloodhound. The Black and Tan only comes in black and tan, is more lightly built, and is much less wrinkled.
  • Owners include Andrew Jackson. That’s pretty cool!

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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier