Redbone Coonhound

American made, the Redbone Coonhound is more than just a southern man’s dog, they are hunting specialists. One of several coonhounds, this large, medium energy breed is as versatile as hounds come. Moreover, the breed is quite adept to working any environment necessary. Many hunters will laud them for their endurance and speed. 

But that’s not all there is to this American made breed. And while most people outside the south are unaware of this breed, those who do know, will tell you, the Redbone is a hunter’s best friend.

Does that mean this breed will be right for your home? 

Here is what you need to know about the Redbone Coonhound.

History

What kind of dog is that? A retriever? These are the typical, and humorous at that, questions people ask when first encountering a Redbone Coonhound. It’s understandable, after all, the breed is sort of exclusive to the southern America world. That may all change. But first…

Redbones are a cross between the Irish hounds that came with immigrants from Ireland around the 1800’s, and the red Foxhounds of the 18th century. During that time the breed had black markings and went by Saddlebacks. However, a change in breeding practices, would create a change in the name years later. 

When discussing the foundation stock for today’s current Redbone — most agree that prominent breeder, and Georgia native, George Birdsong, is responsible for that. Moreover, Birdsong bought a pack from Dr. Thomas Henry in the 1840’s. The name, Redbone, comes from a Tennessean, Peter Redbone, according to Coonhound.Org.

During the 19th and 20th century, the Redbone Coonhound was a versatile hunter. Most would use the breed to trail and tree raccoons. Raccoons at that time in the south, was a big source for meat and fur. In addition, the breed would also help hunt big game like bear, bobcat and cougar in hunting packs. If necessary, sportsmen could use them for water purposes as well.

Thanks to their ability to be the ultimate trailer, work on rocky hills or lowlands, and their excellent instincts, the breed became a sensation in the south. Unfortunately, the Redbone Coonhound was rare elsewhere. In addition to being exclusive to the south, the breed wasn’t made for the show rings, which helps get a breed more recognition. 

Thankfully, however, the country’s biggest kennel club gave the breed designation into the Foundation Stock Services in 1995. For certain, this would help promote the breed and get the word out. Of course, the second largest kennel club, the United Kennel Club, had given the breed recognition back in 1904. 

As of today, the breed is the 143rd most popular in America. However, the breed would finally land AKC recognition in 2009, which surely will help build their popularity. Modern Redbone Coonhounds are still avid hunters, with the same keen sense and instinctive hunting abilities.

Size

The Redbone Coonhound is a large breed in the Hound group with medium energy. This somewhat active breed can weigh between 45 to 70 pounds, male or female.

With regards to height; Males should stand between 22 to 27 inches, and females 21 to 26 inches.

Personality and Temperament

By all definitions, this is a complete family dog. It’s understandable to see why many farm families chose the Redbone Coonhound as a pet. This handsome breed is always reliable, always loving and definitely loyal. Redbone is by your side through the thick of it. Their overall friendly nature even extends to certain strangers. Obviously the dog can interpret a threat, and will defend their family’s honor if need be, but for most people, they see a sweet and loving dog. Children love them and your Redbone Coonhound will love and protect your children as well.

Yet, when it comes to working, you almost need to do a double take. They are dependable and hard working. Athletic and versatile, with the ability to handle multiple workloads. Truly, this breed can nearly do it all. From treeing to trailing, their keen sense of instinct and devotion to please is what drives them.

Getting them to that point won’t be a problem, either. A Redbone Coonhound is a treat to train. Their eager to please mentality makes them such a simple dog to train. Due to their strong desire to please their master, there isn’t much this breed won’t try to accomplish for their human. Additionally, while some caution supervision around other dogs, the Redbone Coonhound has a long track record or working nicely with packs. This only adds to their stock value.

Obviously the breed loves the outdoors and is happiest when that’s the case. They like to run, they like to chase, and definitely appreciates walks with their favorite people

All in all, this is an affectionate workhorse. The Redbone will never quit their master on the trial and is reliable to get many types of jobs done. At home, the breed enjoys close contact and affection. Attention is certainly high on their list but they don’t exude much jealousy. The kids, and likely other pet dogs, will absolutely adore the Redbone. And finally, if you hunt, it is purely a thing of joy to watch this talent operate and work the trail.

Health

It’s truly a challenge to find much incriminating health hurdles holding this breed back. The AKC consider the Redbone Coonhound a ‘very healthy breed.’ Breeders typically agree as well. However, that doesn’t mean they are out of the woods. It would be completely dishonest to say that Redbone Coonhound doesn’t have its problem with regards to health.

Additionally, when you buy a Redbone puppy, you should only purchase from a reputable breeder. Read the reviews, do the guesswork and ask the questions. The breeder should be able to provide the proper documentation and health clearances you’ll need to make a good purchasing decision. Also, you’ll want to schedule regular veterinarian visits to ensure your Redbone’s health. If you do that, as well as watch your dog’s weight and eating habits — then there is no reason to believe that you can’t get 12 to 15 years out of the breed.

Most of the issues that will impact this breed pertains to the nature of their work. Certainly, when working against feral game, the Redbone may encounter unpleasant confrontation. Scratches and  bites are completely possible for a hunting talent like this. Also, you’ll want to remain vigilant about checking their coat and ears for any kind of debris or insects that can fuel issues down the road.

The breed does have a problem with gaining too much weight. Obesity is preventative for the most part, which means you can help it, by balancing your dog’s portions daily. Doing so, also will help reduce the chances of Bloat. Bloat, or Gastric Torsion, is a serious and fatal stomach disorder. When the dog cannot release air or gas from the stomach, it causes the stomach to distend and twist. Not only is this painful, but it is deadly. Lethargy, weakness, depression and lack of appetite are a few signs of this problematic disorder.

Another serious issues impacting the breed is Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is common among medium and large breeds. This is a lack of hormonal production by the thyroid gland, usually due to a shrinking or inflammatory gland. It is treatable and there are tests available. The signs of this issue are; lethargy, loss of fur on the coat, weight gains, and low activity rate to name a few. Other breeds such as the Irish Setter, Golden Retriever and Doberman Pinscher also suffer from this problem.

Hip Dysplasia is quite common in the dog world. This is the malformation of the hip joint. A loose hip joint subsequently causes rubbing and irritation. Pain and lameness are additional effects. Breeds like the Pug and Bulldog suffer the worst from this condition. The Redbone Coonhound has a low risk for Hip Dysplasia.

Possible issues with their eyes like Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Cataracts are possible.

Care

When you think of the Redbone Coonhound, you think, out in the woods, in the south, or on the hunting path. That doesn’t necessarily mean that an apartment dweller can’t own a Redbone, they can, but the dog is happiest in the wide space, where they can run and work freely. Moreover, the breed is quite adaptable, and could live in an apartment, but it isn’t as ideal as a farm. 

The Redbone Coonhound is best for someone who is active, who can offer them the attention, and who has experience in dog ownership. Someone who is firm, consistent and fair. Early training and socialization is definitely a must with this breed.

You will need to put this dog on a leash if you live in a community. You will need to watch the Redbone around other dogs, smaller animals and smaller children. They may accidentally knock a child over due to their size. Even if they are playing with kids, they may not get the extent to which they are being too rough. With dog, the breed may have a bit of protective and territorial side to them. Smaller animals may have the toughest go with the Redbone Coonhound. The breed definitely has a prey drive, so be mindful of birds and other small pets.

Exercise every day is necessary. Either two short walks or one- one hour walk per day. Check their ears monthly for debris and bacterial buildup. Clip their nails once a month as well. This helps prevent overgrowth and reduces the chances of splits and cracks. Because the breed likes to spend so much time outdoors, you will need to inspect their entire body. For ticks, and other insects that could invite issues down the road. Bathe once a month as well.

Feeding

Any active or working dog should be fed a high quality winning formula. The Redbone Coonhound is no exception. Now, how much they eat depends on their age, energy requirements and metabolism. Most owners of this breed seem content feeding them between 2.5 cups  to 2.75 cups per day. Of course, you can break that up into two small meals per day.

A dog of this magnitude will require plenty of quality protein value, quality crude fat and carbohydrates. Calories are important as well. If the dog burns them, return them. For a 45 to 70 pound typical energy Redbone, a calorie intake of 1212 to 1686 per day should suffice. Conversely, for a Redbone at the same weight but moderately working, then 2020 to 2813 calories per day will do the job.

As always, you should provide your Redbone Coonhound with fresh drinking water.

Coat

You will need to brush weekly, perhaps two to three times per week. At least once per week. This is a seasonal shedder that requires occasional grooming. The Redbone Coonhound has a short, smooth and coarse coat. There should be enough length to protect the breed from environmental elements.

According to the American Kennel Club, there is only one coat color option: Red. 

As far as markings, only one acceptable marking: white markings.

Fun Redbone Coonhound Facts

  • According to Doggie Designer, the movie, “The Hound That Thought It Was A Raccoon,” features a Redbone Coonhound. Perhaps the most famous Redbone Coonhounds are Old Dan and Little Ann from “Where The Red Fern Grows,” which is a novel about an adventurous boy and his two dogs.
  • Redbones are the only solid color Coonhound.
  • The UKC calls the Redbone Coonhound the most uniform in type out of the seven Coonhounds they recognize.
  • Doggie Designers claims the average price for a Redbone puppy is between 300 to 800 dollars U.S.
  • The UKC believes that the Bloodhound may have been used to create this breed along with the Irish hounds and Foxhounds.

Closing Words

Redbone Coonhounds epitomize the culture of what it means and takes to be a southern American dog. This all-American breed is truly a top notch versatile talent when it comes to hunting big and small game alike.

And while the popularity for the breed has took a bit of a hit during the late 20th century, that all stands to change as more and more people become custom to the breed. Thanks to the recognition  by the AKC, it shouldn’t take too long for this sweet and loyal breed to become more of a household name.

 

 

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