English Coonhound – General Description
The English Coonhound, sometimes referred to as the “Redtick Coonhound”, is a type of coonhound that is typically bred in the southern United States.
Classification and Standards
- AKC FSS – The AKC Foundation Stock Service is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
- UKC Scenthound Group
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.
Coonhounds 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:
- American Black & Tan Coonhound
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Plott Hound
- Redbone Coonhound
- Treeing Walker Coonhound
Character & Temperament
American English Coonhounds tend to be quiet in the house, and require regular exercise to keep in prime condition. English Coonhounds love to nest and usually make good house pets. They have a high prey drive, and will go after small animals unless trained otherwise. Because of this, they are not usually not recommended for households with small pets unless they have been raised around small animals. They are generally good with children and tend to be very loyal dogs that feel the need to please their owners. Like most puppies they can be quite inquisitive and destructive therefore needed training early on is highly recommended. 
Like all coonhounds, English are generally good natured and very sociable dogs. Skittishness or aggression is considered a defect according to UKC breed standards. They are strong willed, if not stubborn, and require more patience in training than other breeds. Young dogs are usually extremely active and playful and desirous of human attention in addition to requiring plenty of exercise. English Coonhounds are incessant nesters and should be avoided by people who do not wish to have dogs on couches and beds. They make excellent family pets as they have been bred for hunting purposes to coexist amiably within a pack. English Coonhounds also make adequate watch dogs as they possess extremely loud hound mouths characterized by melodious, drawn out bawls and short, explosive chops.
The breed traces its ancestry from Foxhounds brought to the United States by European settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries. It shares a common ancestry with all other coonhounds with the exception of the Plott Hound. The breed developed from the “Virginia Hounds”, which were developed over time from dogs imported to the United States by Robert Brooke, Thomas Walker and first President of the United States, George Washington. The dogs had to adapt to more rigorous terrain, with the breed being specifically bred over time to suit these new conditions. They were used to hunt raccoons by night and the American Red Fox by day. It was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1905 as the English Fox and Coonhound.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound was recognized separately by the UKC in 1945, splitting it off from the English Fox and Coonhound breed. The following year the Bluetick Coonhound.
The breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service as the American English Coonhound in 1995. It was moved up to the Miscellaneous Class on 1 January 2010. Following the recognition of the breed by the AKC in the hound group on 30 June 2011 as the 171st breed, the American English Coonhound became eligible to compete in the National Dog Show in 2011 and both the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship for the first time in 2012.
Size & Appearance
Male American English Coonhounds measure between 22–27 inches (56–69 cm) at the withers, with females being slightly smaller at 21–25 inches (53–63 cm). The weight of a Coonhound should be in proportion to the dog’s height. Their coats come in three distinct colors and patterns. The most common is the “redtick” pattern, while others include tricolor markings with ticks, and a “bluetick” pattern. Members of the breed in the bluetick pattern can be confused with Bluetick Coonhounds. The coat itself is short to medium in length and hard to the touch.
Unlike the other classifications of coonhounds, a variety of colorations is acceptable to meet English coonhound breed standards. Coloration can be redtick, bluetick, tricolored and tricolored with ticking. However, red markings are predominant and “Redtick” is a common euphemism for English Coonhounds. Some people believe this lack of emphasis on specific coloration has allowed breeders to focus breeding programs on traits such as intelligence and hunting ability rather than superficial concerns like coat standards. Color variations are common even amongst pups from the same litter of English coonhounds, indicating high levels of DNA diversity in the breed.
Health & Maintenance
American English Coonhounds can be prone to overheating while on coon hunts during the summer months in the Southern United States.
Work & Activities
The breed has proven popular with night hunters, and have a powerful nose which enables them to track of both small and large game including, raccoons, cougars and bears. One of the types of hunting that the breed is used for treeing, where the dogs are used to force animals that naturally climb up into trees, where they can be shot by hunters.
While known for their ability in this type of hunting, they can lose their ability to pace themselves and on occasion can stand their ground when they believe that they have chased their prey up a tree, even if they haven’t. They can have a one track mind while hunting, and tune everything else out. Against cougars and bears they can keep the larger game in position while the hunters arrive. They have become the favored breed in coon hunting. They usually bark a lot when you have them caged up.
- Smith, Steve (2002). The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs. Minocqua, Wisconsin: Willow Creek Press. pp. 200–201. ISBN 978-1-57223-501-4. – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=d4FnXfnoc-IC&pg=PA200&dq=%22English+Coonhound%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HnkuT8uUMJC-8gPfpomcDw&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22English%20Coonhound%22&f=false
- Palika, Liz (2007). The Howell Book of Dogs. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-470-00921-5. – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9z_n9mDY2tcC&pg=PA209&dq=%22English+Coonhound%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WIAuT5iQCerG0QWwn7GtCA&ved=0CEoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22English%20Coonhound%22&f=false
- “English Coonhound”. 1 January 2011. United Kennel Club. – http://www.ukcdogs.com/WebSite.nsf/Breeds/ENGLISHCOONHOUNDRevisedJanuary12011
- “American English Coonhound History”. American Kennel Club. – http://www.akc.org/breeds/american_english_coonhound/history.cfm
- “American English Coonhound Did You Know?”. American Kennel Club. – http://www.akc.org/breeds/american_english_coonhound/did_you_know.cfm
- “News”. Dog Fancy (Fancy Publications) 40 (12): 95. December 2009. – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=omNWAAAAYAAJ&q=%22American+English+Coonhound%22&dq=%22American+English+Coonhound%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DXcuT92tI4KD8gPR14DtDg&ved=0CD4Q6AEwADgK
- “Six New Breeds Debut At Westminster 2012”. Westminster Kennel Club. – http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2012/show/news/newbreed_091211.html
- “AKC/Eukanuba National Championship to Air on ABC Television Network February 4th”. The Sacramento Bee. 26 January 2012. – http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/26/4217743/akceukanuba-national-championship.html
- Newcomb, Tim (24 November 2011). “Say What? Xoloitzcuintli Highlights Thanksgiving’s National-Dog-Show New Breeds”. Time. – http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/11/24/say-what-xoloitzcuintli-highlights-thanksgivings-national-dog-show-new-breeds/
- Blockader releases the image into the [public domain], via WikiMedia Commons
Animal Planet – Breed All About It: Coonhound
The history of the English Coonhound is the history of nearly all coonhounds. With the exception of the Plott Hound, all of the UKC breeds of coonhounds have a common ancestry that is deeply rooted in the English Foxhound.
The English Coonhound was first registered by UKC in 1905, under the name of English Fox & Coonhound. In those days the dogs were used much more on fox than they are today. They name also reflected the similarity that the breed had to the American Foxhound and the English Foxhound.
The variation in color is another aspect of English Coonhound history. Both the Treeing Walker and the Bluetick Coonhound were originally registered with UKC as English. The Walker was recognized as a separate breed in 1945, and the Bluetick a year later. There are still tri-colored and blueticked English hounds, though redticked dogs dominate in the breed today.
The first mention of hounds in America appears in the diary of one of the men who was with the explorer DeSoto. He also mentions that the hounds were used for the hunting of Indians rather than fox, raccoon or rabbit.
In 1650, Englishman Robert Brooke brought his pack of hounds to America with him. Thomas Walker of Virginia imported hounds from England in 1742, and in 1770 George Washington, an avid fox hunter, had hounds imported from England. These dogs were the foundation of the “Virginia Hounds”, from which the present day English Coonhound was developed.
The Americans adapted the animals to the much rougher American terrain and climate, and, through careful breeding practices, adapted the hounds to American game: raccoon, opossum, cougar and various species of bear.
English hounds have excelled in both performance and conformation. The first major coonhound Field Trial of all time, the first Leafy Oak, was won by an English dog called “Bones”, owned by Colonel Leon Robinson.
The English Coonhound is a dog of strong build, capable of considerable speed and great endurance. He is balanced, graceful and free from exaggeration.
Pleasant and sociable, with strong hunting instincts. Voice is a good hound bawl.
The head is broad between the ears, and of good overall length. Skull very slightly domed. Muzzle is long, deep and square, with enough flew to give the jaw a squared off appearance. Stop is well defined but moderate.
TEETH – Scissors bite preferred, even bite acceptable. Undershot or overshot are disqualifying faults.
EYES – Fairly large and set moderately well apart in skull. Dark brown in color with tight fitting lids.
NOSE – Large with well-opened nostrils.
EARS – Set fairly low on skull, fine in texture and soft to the touch. Fairly long, reaching nearly to the nose when pulled forward.
Nicely muscled, of moderate length, tapering slightly as it rises up out of the withers.
Forelegs set well apart, and are straight and strong, with good bone. Pasterns nearly vertical, but with enough slope to absorb shock. Length of leg from elbow to ground is approximately one-half the height at the withers. Sloping shoulders are clean yet strongly muscled.
Chest is deep, reaching to elbow, and broad. Ribs are well-sprung. Back is straight and strong, never roached. Topline is slightly higher at withers than at hips. Loin is strongly muscled and slightly arched. Underline curves gracefully upward to a moderate tuck up at the flank. Overall proportion (measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks and withers to ground) is square, or slightly longer than tall.
Hips and thighs are strongly muscled, showing drive and power. Stifles are stout and have good angulation. Hock joint has moderate angulation. Rear pasterns are strong and straight when viewed from behind. Dewclaws removed.
Lack of angulation is a highly undesirable feature: i.e. post legged.
Tight, well-arched toes, deep pads, and strong nails.
Moderately set and gaily carried, but never hooked over the back. Medium length, with a small amount of brush acceptable. Never overly long and thin.
A good hard, protective, hound type coat of medium length.
Redtick, bluetick, tri color with ticking, white and red, white and black, white and lemon.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
Height at withers for adult males, 22 to 27 inches. For adult females, 21 to 25 inches. Weight should be in proportion to height, keeping in mind the strong build of the English Coonhound.
Smooth and effortless, showing great capacity for endurance. Head and tail carried well up.
(A dog with an Eliminating Fault is not to be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, nor are they to be reported to UKC.)
Males under 22 inches or over 27 inches. Females under 21 inches or over 25 inches. (Entries in Puppy Class are not to be eliminated for being undersize.)
(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Any brindle in coat. Undershot or overshot. Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism. Deaf. Blind.
Lacking in adequate angulation: i.e. post legged.
Note: Spayed and neutered dogs may compete in all UKC Licensed Coonhound Events, including bench shows, nite hunts, water races and field trials.
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