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Redbone Coonhound: Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

close up of a happy redbone coonhound

Redbone Coonhound: Info, Pictures, Facts & Traits

Known for a super shiny mahogany coat and a soulful gaze, the Redbone Coonhound is a sweet, loving, and playful hunting dog that’s equally at home as the family pet. These dogs were integral to early settlers as they made their way south and west, helping them to acquire meat and fur from small game animals and protecting the group from large predators.

While Redbones know how to turn their energy and workmanship on and off as needed, these dogs do best in a home that’s committed to meeting their need for exercise and mental stimulation. Here’s everything you need to know about bringing a Redbone Coonhound into your family.

Breed Overview


21–27 inches


45–70 pounds


12–15 years



Suitable for:

Active families, sportsmen


Even-tempered, mellow, friendly, hardworking

Scottish immigrants brought red-colored foxhounds to Georgia, which created the foundation stock of modern Redbones. These dogs were developed from Irish Foxhound and Bloodhound lines, creating mahogany-colored dogs with occasional white markings on the chest and feet.

The name “Redbone” came from one of the breed’s early breeders, Peter Redbone of Tennessee. Originally, these dogs were known as “Saddlebacks” because of the black saddle-like marking on their red coats. This eventually became a full red tone, leading to the name change to “Redbone Coonhound.” They were accepted into the United Kennel Club in 1902 and the American Kennel Club in 2010.

Redbone Coonhound Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Redbone Coonhound Puppies

While a top choice among hunters and sportsmen, the Redbone Coonhound is a relatively rare breed—particularly outside of North America. There are several US breeders developing healthy, well-tempered Redbones, but you may need to do some research and get on a waitlist to acquire one. Avoid the temptation to buy a dog from a possible puppy mill or disreputable breeder, as you could get a puppy with health and behavioral problems from poor breeding.

Redbones are agreeable, easy-to-train dogs, so they don’t often end up in shelters or rescues. However, there are breed-specific rescues for Redbone Coonhound puppies and dogs across the US, so it’s worth checking into your local options to bring home a Redbone in need.

Redbone Coonhound Origin & History

Redbones are one of the six hounds developed by early American settlers to assist with hunting raccoons for meat and fur as people migrated south and west. They needed hot-nosed, fast, and athletic dogs to pursue the swift and evasive raccoon.

The goal in developing the Redbone was to create dogs that were adept at treeing wild game, agile enough for harsh environments including water and mountains, and courageous in the face of formidable wildlife like cougars and bears. The result was a dog revered for its speed and agility in everything from lowlands to rocky hills. Because they’ve been bred for treeing game, they have a strong natural instinct to do so.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Redbone Coonhound 🧠

Redbone Coonhounds are the ultimate American family dog. They’ve lived alongside humans for centuries while America was developed, creating a mellow and agreeable dog that can turn on their tenacity in pursuit of wild game. The Redbone thrives on work like hunting and swimming, but they’re happy to relax and lounge on the couch after a long day. They’re also easy to train, but it’s important to provide exercise and mental stimulation to keep these dogs from getting bored and finding destructive ways to occupy themselves.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

After traveling with early frontier families, Redbones are ideally suited for family life. These dogs are affectionate with family and patient with young children, though it’s crucial to teach children to respect the dog’s comfort and boundaries. Never leave a Redbone, or any dog, unsupervised with young children.

Redbone Coonhound
Image By: Crystal Alba, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Redbone Coonhounds were bred to hunt in packs with other dogs and generally get along well with other family dogs, no matter the breed. However, their instincts to tree and chase prey may create issues with predatory drift with small dog breeds, cats, and small animals. Supervise interactions between your Redbone and small dogs or cats until you see how they behave. You should never allow your Redbone to interact with small pets like hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, or birds.

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Things to Know When Owning a Redbone Coonhound:

Redbone Coonhounds are great all-around dogs, but there are some things to be aware of before you bring one into your family.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Redbone Coonhounds should have high-quality dog food that’s appropriate for their age and life stage. These dogs can become obese with too much food and not enough exercise, which can contribute to health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and joint issues. Speak to your vet if you have questions about your dog’s nutritional needs and body condition.

a redbone coonhound out in the sun
Image By: Cindy Underwood, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

The Redbone Coonhound is a friendly, energetic dog that works well for owners who like to hunt, run, or hike. These dogs aren’t as high energy as some of the working breeds, but they do need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Commit to at least an hour of brisk exercise or play time each day, especially with a younger Redbone.

Training 🦮

Redbone Coonhounds are versatile and agreeable dogs that develop strong attachments to their owners after working alongside humans for many generations. They get along well with people and other dogs, but socialization and obedience training are necessary to ensure you have a well-adjusted adult. Consider enrolling your Redbone into canine sports like agility, rally, dock diving, or coonhound trials, but they can be just as happy as a family dog if they have energy outlets. However, Redbones have a high prey drive that can lead them after small animals, so they should never be trusted off-leash in an unconfined area.

Redbone Coonhound fetching stick in water
Image Credit: Andrea Berg, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Redbone Coonhounds have short, smooth coats that protect them from the elements, but they have low-maintenance grooming needs. A good brushing with a shedding tool once a week will clear out loose hair and keep their skin and coat healthy. You should trim your dog’s nails at least once a month and clean their ears once a week. Baths should only be needed every few months unless your dog spends a lot of time outside.

Health and Conditions ❤️

As a rarer breed, Redbone Coonhounds are generally healthy dogs with few health concerns. Responsible breeders monitor their stock for potential health issues, but there are no recommended health tests for this breed. Redbones may be prone to allergic dermatitis and other conditions that are common in dogs, including bloat, arthritis, parasites, and cancer. Fortunately, many conditions are preventable with proper vet care.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Bloat
  • Heartworm

Male vs. Female

Though owners may say there are differences between male and female dogs, they’re mostly individuals. Males are generally larger, but there are no consistent differences in temperament or behavior between the two. Spaying or neutering your dog is key to preventing a lot of negative behaviors related to sex hormones, such as roaming and vocalization, as well as reproductive health problems.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Redbone Coonhound

1. They’re Movie Stars.

Redbone Coonhounds may not appear in as many movies as Golden Retrievers or Saint Bernards, but they’re the star of the beloved Where the Red Fern Grows. In this children’s story, a young boy buys and trains two Redbone Coonhounds for hunting.

2. Their Striking Red Is a Strict Breed Standard.

The Redbone has some of the strictest breed standards from the AKC. They’re only standard in solid red, which is a hallmark of the breed, but they are allowed to have some white markings on their chest or feet.

a senior redbone coonhound walking outdoors
Image Credit: Michael J Magee, Shutterstock

3. They “Talk” and “Sing.”

Like other treeing dogs, Redbone Coonhounds are quite vocal. Even if they’re not hunting, Redbones are known to bray, howl, bark, and more. Some owners even train their dogs to “sing” using a harmonica, which is a melodious howl that involves high and low notes.

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Final Thoughts

Sociable, mellow, agreeable, and beautiful, the Redbone Coonhound is a top choice for hunters and families alike. These dogs adapt well to different lifestyles and environments, as long as their needs are met, and get tons of love and affection. If you’re considering a Redbone, make sure you’re prepared for the unique needs of the breed, including their desire to have a job, their desire to “talk,” and their affinity for chasing small animals.

Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

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