Dog Breed Review

Black and Tan Coonhound




If you love large hunting dogs with a mellow and friendly personality, but can turn it up during a hunt; then the Black and Tan Coonhound is your kind of breed.

Since the 1700’s, this breed has been a staple for southerners in the United States when it comes to raccoon and fox hunting. All that aside, this is a breed that is easy going and a great family pet.

So what is it that makes them such a wonderful dog to own?

Here is what you need to know about the Black and Tan Coonhound.


The Black and Tan Coonhound is part of the hound group and one of six varieties from that group. There’s also the Treeing Walker Coonhound, American English Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, and the least known of the bunch, the Plott Hound. 

Breeders began developing the Black and Tan Coonhound because the famous Foxhound wasn’t cutting it as far as the business of coon hunting was concerned.

Fanciers in the south didn’t have much faith in the breeds around that time to hunt raccoons. While the first appearance of this breed is unknown, most historians estimate around the early 1700’s. In addition, most canine historians believe that the Bloodhound, Foxhound, Talbot Hound, and possibly the St. Hubert Hound make up the ancestry of the B&T. 

Furthermore, the breed these fanciers and hunters wound up producing was fully capable of picking up a raccoons whereabouts on scent alone. Most of these hunts were done by night. In fact, the sport  “Nite Hunting” is quite popular in the south. 

Above all, the Black and Tan Coonhound could follow the scent, while producing a bawling sound to alert the hunters of game. 

Many of the early settlers chose to use this breed as a way of producing wealth and food from their find. Among some of those were Daniel Boone, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Actually, George Washington is said to have own four Black and Tan Coonhounds by the names of Drunkard, Taster, Tipler and Tipsy.  

Oddly enough, there isn’t a ton of history or information with regards to the Black and Tan Coonhound. Most of their stories seem to surface around the 1700’s to early 1900’s. The one constant about this breed is how important they were in helping families survive during those times. At the same time, they were also wonderful companions. Yet, their popularity in the 20th century never would take off to the levels of Beagles or Labs.

In 1912, the United Kennel Club would register their first Black and Tan Coonhound. The American Kennel Club would recognize the B&T Coonhound in 1945, making them the first coonhound to join the kennel club.

Many of the leading kennel clubs recognize this breed as part of Hound or Scent Hound groups. Today, the breed is the 128th most popular among AKC ranks. 


Depending on the dog, the Black and Tan Coonhound can grow to be a medium size or large breed. The American Kennel Clubs lists the B&T as a large breed. Males and females vary in heights but carry the same weight standard.

A male can stand 25 to 27 inches at the withers, while a female should around 23 to 25 inches. A Black and Tan Coonhound can weigh from 65 to 110 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club.


Bred to hunt first and foremost, if you give this dog a job it will do it. They will want to. This doesn’t mean you have strictly a hunting dog on your hands. You can, of course, integrate your Black and Tan Coonhound as a sociable and wonderful pet. 

Moreover, it’s most important to understand that this breed is happiest when they are kept busy. This breed isn’t meant for apartment life or small dwellings. Of course, you don’t need hundreds of acres to satisfy heir moderate energy needs. However, most people who seem to own this dog are hunters because this is the perfect dog for hunting and companionship along the way.

Coonhounds are definitely a friendly dog. They absolutely love smaller children. On the other hand, you should supervise your smaller children around the Black and Tan Coonhound due to the dog’s powerful and big size. When this breed gets rowdy, unfortunately, smaller children may end up getting hurt. 

As far as other pets or cats, the Coonhound should fare well with them too. They aren’t over territorial. This breed seems to adapt well and can get along with other dogs and cats if you train them early on. Having said that, they may exude a little prey drive if they don’t know the cat or pet. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Affectionate and easygoing, this is a breed that enjoys using its nose to investigate around. This is especially true when they go for walks, which is a must. Breeds like this are great indoors and when you need a more aggressive dog outside during hunting pursuits, the Black and Tan Coonhound has no problem accomodating that.

All in all, this breed is a wonderful family dog, that makes for a great hunting partner. 


If you need more proof as to why this is a great breed to own, look no further than their health. Many consider them a very healthy breed, that enjoys a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Most of the concerns making their list are minor and treatable.

You can enhance the chances of bringing in a healthy dog, when you buy from a reputable breeder, who can present you with the proper documentation and health clearances. With this in mind, bringing your dog to the veterinarians will also go a long way for you and your dog’s health.

Unfortunately, the Black and Tan Coonhound seems to have a higher than usual occurrence with Hip Dysplasia. In fact, the Orthopedic Foundation of America found a 14 percent occurrence rate. Hip Dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint. When the joint becomes loose, more pressure is put on the dog’s leg bone. This can cause wear and tear, discomfort and pain.

The other issues are fairly minor, that involve their eyes. Cataracts is the cloudiness of the dog’s crystalline lens in the eye. This can lead to partial or complete blindness. Chiefly,  Cataracts is found in 97 breeds and is the leading cause of blindness, according to Washington University. There’s a higher frequency rate for dogs between the ages of 4 and 7.

Ectropion, which is when the eyelids roll outward. You typically find this condition among dog with loose skin. Bloodhounds, St. Bernards and Newfoundlands usually have higher occurrences. This leads to corneal scarring and obstruction in vision.

Additionally, Entropion is the opposite effect. This is when your dog’s eyelid rolls or folds in. This will cause irritation from the eyelash rubbing and scratching the surface of the eye. Entropion leads to scar tissue and ulcers. You may find this with your Black and Tan Coonhound. However, this condition is much more prevalent with the Akita, AmStaff, Bulldog and Weimaraner.

You may need to keep an eye out for Hypothyroidism. This is when there’s a lack of thyroid hormonal production in the thyroid gland, which causes the metabolism to slow. Most medium and large breeds seem to suffer from this the most. According to Michigan State University, the Black and Tan Coonhound has a 16 percent occurrence rate.

Finally, you’ll want to be mindful of skin problem perhaps from allergies and infections with your Coonhound’s ears. 


This is an easy breed to care for. Aside from drooling here and there, and their occasional vocalization, the Black and Tan Coonhound is simple. That said, you definitely need some space for the dog. It doesn’t have to be an industrial field, but enough for them to exercise regularly.

Speaking of which, this breed should get out to walk or play at least one hour per day. Due to their barking you may want to keep them indoors and outdoors with supervision. This isn’t a breed that’s a flight risk, so you won’t need to worry about providing an air tight security system. 

One urgent need for this breed is early socialization. This helps create a dog that is much more friendly with other pets, especially cats and males. You’ll want to establish dominance early on and let them know who the pack leader is. If you’re looking for a dog that can do a bunch of trick, this perhaps isn’t your breed. They are smart, however, and do pick up on positive reinforcement. Consistence will go a long way in training your Coonhound.

Feeding Your Black and Tan Coonhound

Your Black and Tan Coonhound may not eat as much as other dogs you know of. Moreover, how much your dog eats is contingent upon their metabolism, age, and activity rate.

If you have a typical 65 pound Coonhound, then the dog will need 1597 calories per day. A 110 pound at the same activity level needs 2369 calories per day. Their dietary protein intake for the day should be no less than 18 percent.

Conversely, if you have a working dog at 65 pounds, then the Coon will need 2661 calories per day. A 110 pound working dog will need 3949 calories per day. Moreover, their protein will be more. Anywhere from 32 to 40 percent per day or meal.

You can feed them a meat first diet such as chicken, turkey or red meat. Taurine is good for the heart, while the Omega fatty acids will help build coat health and enhance their skin.

As always, you should provide your Black and Tan Coonhound with fresh drinking water.


Most B&T owners agree that maintaining their coat is a breeze. Of course, you should stay on top of their coat by brushing it twice per week. This only helps reduce the amount of dander and dead hair from getting all over your furniture.

The Black and Tan Coonhound has a short and dense coat, that helps them deal with harsh conditions like the heat and cold. They don’t have any markings on their coat, although you will find the breed with markings on the head.

Black and tan are the only colors that the American Kennel Club allows for the breed’s standard. Bathing on occasion is necessary due to the Coonhound’s tendency to omit a “Hound” like odor.

Closing Words

Since the turn of the 20th century, the Black and Tan Coonhound has slid under the radar. You won’t find them among the most popular breeds. You won’t hear their name come up in most kennel circles.

Yet, this is a breed that is very resourceful. The Black and Tan Coonhound is a beast when it comes to tracking and hunting down game. As good as a hunting dog this breed may be, there’s no doubt that this dog makes an amazing addition to the family’s household as a faithful and loving companion.

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