Black and Tan Coonhound

This breed has blood that can probably be follow back to an old hound from the 11th century. It also has elements of Bloodhound in its heritage, as well as some blood from American and English Foxhounds.


Much credit must be given for the development of these hounds to the people in the United States who live in the mountains of Virginia. They bred hounds to trail and hunt not only raccoon but also bear in the rugged mountain terrain. The present Black and Tan Coonhound was bred selectively for its color, and its ability not only to trail but to “tree”. This involves sending the prey up into the branches and then baying to alert the attention of the hunter. The Black and Tan hunts like the Bloodhound, but not by sight. This color was admitted to the AKC in 1945.

Of German heritage, the Plott Hound works as a single hunter or in packs for small and large game. It is named after Jonathan Plott, an emigre from Germany who settled in North Carolina.


The Coonhound makes a good family dog and enjoys long walks with children. It is very steady in temperament and has been bred as a companion as well as a hunter for many generations. However, it tends to stray and so needs a good safe area in which to exercise and close supervision when out walking. The breed loves water and is a good swimmer when introduced to water early in life.

The Blue Tick Coonhound is similar to the Black and Tan Coonhound but it has a more aggressive nature which means that is not recommended as a house dog. It also has a loud bawling bark; the Plott Hound’s bark is sharp and high-pitched. The Redbone Coonhound is also similar to the Black and Tan Coonhound, easy going and even tempered. A favored dog in the US, the Coonhound can he kept as a pet, but mostly out of doors. The English and the Walker, on the other hand, are very highly strung.


The Black and Tan Coonhound is an upstanding hound, with males about 24-27 inches/63-68 cm, and females about 2 inches/5 cm smaller. Its color is a gleaming black with rich tan points on a typical black-and-tan pattern. White is allowed on the chest — but then only a small spot. The Coonhound’s coat is short, smooth and glossy. Its head is long and lean, with dark and kindly eyes that are always clear. Both the ears and tail are very long — puppies often look as if they are all ears and tail. The teeth are regular and meet in a scissors bite. The breed has a good length of neck and solid level topline. Its strong legs should be well formed with good feet. It carries its tail up and gaily when moving.

The Blue Tick Coonhound has a mottled blue coat and tan labels on its ears and lower legs. The English Coonhound generally has a solid hound color (usually red or blue) with black, white or brown ticking. The Plott Hound is always brindle or black with brindle trim. The Redbone Coonhound is always red with a small amount of white allowed on its chest and feet. The Treeing Walker is tri-color, of solid black, white and brown.

Health Matters

Serious inherited health problems are not a concern for this natural breed. Of course, nails need filing or clipping and ears cleaning on a weekly basis. Hard biscuits given as treats should keep the Coonhound’s teeth gleaming and free of tartar. All breeding stock should be X-rayed for correct hips at two years. Breeding stock should also be checked for progressive retinal atrophy yearly.


All these dogs thrive better in a rural setting than in a city apartment.

Special Care and Training

The Black and Tan Coonhound needs grooming two to three times a week.

They should be well socialized at an early age. They should be kept in clean surroundings and fed a good quality balanced diet. When they start to hunt, hounds should be checked daily for torn nails – and given medical treatment as needed.

Gallery of Black and Tan Coonhound