American Black and Tan Coonhound
American Black and Tan Coonhound – General Description
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is a breed of dog used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon. It’s a cross between the Bloodhound, and the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. The American Black and Tan Coonhound runs its game entirely by scent. The courage of the American Black and Tan Coonhound also make it proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, cougar and other big game, although many US states are restricting the hunting of antlered animals with dogs. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness, with the ability to cover ground swiftly with powerful rhythmic strides. Each hound has its own distinctive voice which is often recognizable to its owners from great distance.
Classification and Standards
- FCI Group 6 Section 1
- AKC Hound
- CKC Group 2 – Hounds
- UKC Scenthound Breeds
Coonhounds are an American style of hunting dog developed for the quarry and working conditions found in the United States. Coondogs are highly valued.
In the colonial period, foxhounds were imported for the popular sport of foxhunting. Various breeds of foxhounds and other hunting hounds were imported from England, Ireland, and France, making up the initial composition of the dogs that were later known as Virginia Hounds.
Foxhounds were found to be inadequate for hunting animals that did not hide near the ground, but instead took to the treetops to escape, such as raccoons, opossums, bobcats and even larger prey like cougars and bears. The dogs were often confused or unable to hold the scent when this occurred, and would mill about.
The name is derived from their original use in hunting raccoons.
Treeing dogs were developed, chosen for a keen sense of smell, the ability to track, chase and corner any manner of animal independent of human commands, and, most importantly, to follow an animal both on the ground and when it takes to the trees. A good coonhound will bark and keep its prey treed until the hunters arrive. Bloodhounds specifically were added to many coonhound lines to enhance the ability to track. Some dogs have webbed toes to deal with the rivers and swamps so common in their hunting grounds.
The American Black and Tan Coonhound can hunt individually or as a pack. Generally, hunters do not chase their quarry along with the hounds, unlike organized foxhunting, but wait and listen to the distinctive baying to determine if a raccoon or other animal has been treed. Besides raccoons, coonhounds are excellent at handing all manner of prey if trained properly.
Other Coonhounds include:
- Bluetick Coonhound
- English Coonhound
- Plott Hound
- Redbone Coonhound
- Treeing Walker Coonhound
Character & Temperament
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is a gentle, adaptable, and lovable dog. Many are easygoing and people-friendly, and the American Black and Tan Coonhound is happiest when performing the work it has been bred for. Easily distracted by their incredible sense of smell, these dogs require patient handling and encouragement. Though most are trusting and sweet-natured, American Black and Tan Coonhound puppies require a fair amount of encouragement to boost their confidence, especially when living indoors as pets. Black and Tan Coonhounds are happy to be couch-potatoes when given plenty of exercise, and they enjoy the company of their human family. Black and Tans may seem cautious or nervous around strangers or unfamiliar dogs, but will socialize well with time, as they are bred to hunt and work in packs. They don’t become senior citizens until about ten years old, and will be active, fun-loving buddies for their first decade.
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is best known as a raccoon hunter, the breed has also been used very successfully to hunt other types of game such as bear, stag, oppossum, deer and mountain lion – even on difficult terrain. It withstands well the rigors of winter as well as intense heat. Some of the American Black and Tan Coonhound talents include hunting, tracking, watchdogging, and agility. Black and Tan Coonhounds are the only breed officially recognized as Coonhounds by the American Kennel Club.
This breed drools and slobbers, a trait that can be troublesome. This breed is not well-suited for someone who is looking for a quiet dog; Black and Tan Coonhounds, like all coonhounds, are quite vocal and will bark and howl often.
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is effective at warning their owners when a stranger enters the yard. Their bark sounds threatening to strangers, but they are unlikely to actually bite unless they sense danger or they or their pack are threatened.
Though not seen frequently in urban areas, they enjoy popularity in rural areas. It is said that coonhounds are found on the porch of more rural homes in the United States than any other breed. While that is not a statistical fact, their place on the AKC registered breeds list ranks them as one of the more popular breeds.
The American Black and Tan Coonhound is descended from the Talbot hound, found in medieval England after the eleventh century. Its ancestry is then traced through the Bloodhound and the Foxhound to the Virginia Foxhound, commonly called the “black and tan”.
In 1945, the American Black and Tan Coonhound became the only one of the six varieties of Coonhound to be recognized in the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club. The Redbone Coonhound and the Plott Hound have since been recognized in the Miscellaneous Class. The other three varieties of Coonhound are the Bluetick Coonhound, the English Coonhound, and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.
Size & Appearance
The breed standard for American Black and Tan Coonhound is as follows:
- Eyes are hazel to brown
- Ears are extremely long, wide, and thin, set low and far back on the dog’s head, hanging well down the neck.
- Their black and tan markings are similar to the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler but have key distinguishing differences from these breeds. The most prominent are the long tails and ears, and their loud, baying bark.
- Legs are long in proportion to the body length, muscular and finely modelled.
- The tail is set slightly below the natural line of the back, strongly tapered, and carried at a right angle, when the dog is alert or excited.
- 23 to 27 inches (58 to 69 cm) at the shoulder
- 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) head (back of skull to tip of nose)
- 65 to 130 pounds (29 to 59 kg)
- Males are typically larger and heavier boned than females.
Health & Maintenance
Generally healthy, but there is some risk of hip dysplasia, ear cancer and other ear infections, and eye problems.
- Clark, Ross D. DVM, and Joan R. Stainer. Medical & Genetic Aspects of Purebreed Dogs. Fairway, Kansas: Forum Publications, Inc, 1994.
- American Kennel Club The Complete Dog Book 18th Edition New York, New York: Howell Book House, 1992.
- American Kennel Club – Black and Tan Coonhound History
- Krysta (Flickr: Black And Tan Coonhound) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Scraig at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons
Animal Planet – Breed All About It: American Black and Tan Coonhound
American Black & Tan Coonhound
FCI-Standard N° 300 / 04. 10. 2002 / GB
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 30.01.1991.
F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION :
- Group 6 Scent hounds and related breeds.
- Section 1 Large-sized hounds.
Without working trial.
GENERAL APPEARANCE :
The Black and Tan Coonhound is first and fundamentally a working dog, a trail and tree hound, capable of withstanding the rigors of winter, the heat of summer, and the difficult terrain over which he is called upon to work. Used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon, the Black an Tan Coonhound runs his game entirely by scent. The characteristics and courage of the Coonhound also make him proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, mountain lion and other big game. Judges are asked by the club sponsoring the breed to place great emphasis upon these facts when evaluating the merits of the dog. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness. He immediately impresses one with his ability to cover the ground with powerful rhythmic strides. Considering their job as a hunting dog, the individual should exhibit moderate bone and good muscle tone. Males are heavier in bone and muscle tone than females.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :
- Measured from the point of shoulder to the buttocks and from withers to ground the length of body is equal to or slightly greater than the height of the dog at the withers.
- Height is in proportion to general conformation so that the dog appears neither leggy nor close to the ground.
BEHAVIOR / TEMPERAMENT :
Even temperament, outgoing and friendly. As a working scent hound, must be able to work in close contact with other hounds. Some may be reserved but never shy or vicious. Aggression toward people or other dogs is most undesirable.
The head is cleanly modeled. From the back of the skull to the nose the head measures from 9 to 10 inches in males and from 8 to 9 inches in females.
Expression : Is alert, friendly and eager. The skin is devoid of folds.
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Tends toward oval outline. Viewed from profile the line of the skull is on a practically parallel plane to the foreface or muzzle.
Stop : Medium stop occurring midway between occiput bone and nose.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Nostrils well open and always black.
Flews : The flews are well developed with typical hound appearance. Teeth : Fit evenly with scissors bite.
Eyes : Are from hazel to dark brown in color, almost round and not
Ears : Are low set and well back. They hang in graceful folds, giving
the dog a majestic appearance. In length they extend naturally well
beyond the tip of the nose and are set at eye level or lower.
The neck is muscular, sloping, medium length. The skin is devoid of excess dewlap.
Back : The back is level, powerful and strong.
Chest : Chest reaches at least to the elbows.
Ribs : The dog possesses full, round, well sprung ribs, avoiding flatsidedness.
Is strong, with base slightly below level of backline,
carried free and when in action at approximately right angle to back.
The forelegs are straight .
Shoulders : Powerfully constructed.
Elbows : Turning neither in nor out.
Pasterns : Strong and erect.
Quarters are well boned and muscled. From hip to hock long and sinewy, hock to pad short and strong. When standing on a level surface, the hind feet are set back from under the body and the leg from pad to hock is at right angles to the ground.
Stifles and hocks : Well bent and not inclining either in or out.
Are compact, with well knuckled, strongly arched toes and
thick, strong pads.
When viewed from the side, the stride of the Black and Tan Coonhound is easy and graceful with plenty of reach in front and drive behind. When viewed from the front the forelegs, which are in line with the width of the body, move forward in an effortless manner, but never cross. Viewed from the rear the hocks follow on a line with the forelegs, being neither too widely nor too closely spaced, and as the speed of the trot increases the feet tend to converge toward a center line or single track indicating soundness, balance and stamina. When in action, his head and tail carriage is proud and alert; the topline remains level.
Short but dense to withstand rough going.
As the name implies, the color is coal black with rich tan
markings above eyes, on sides of muzzle, chest, legs and breeching,
with black pencil markings on toes.
Size : Measured at the shoulder
Males 63, 5 to 68,5 cm (25 to 27 inches)
Females 58 to 63, 5 cm (23 to 25 inches)
Over-sized dogs should not be penalized when general soundness and proportion are in favor.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Head : Excessive wrinkles.
- Bite : Excessive deviation from scissors bite.
- Eyes : Yellow or light eyes.
- Ears : Ears that do not reach the tip of nose and are set too high on the head.
- Hindquarters : Rear dewclaws.
- Feet : Flat or splayed feet.
- Color : lack of rich tan markings, excessive areas of tan markings, excessive black coloration. White on chest or other parts of body is highly undesirable.
- Size : Undersize.
Note : Inasmuch as this is a hunting breed, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered faults.
- Aggressive or overly shy.
- A solid patch of white which extends more than one inch in any direction.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B. : Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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