American English Coonhound: Loyal & Lively Hunting Buddy

If you’re a raccoon hunter, then you’re likely already acquainted with the athletic American English Coonhound, but if you’re not in the hunting world, then you may not have come across this sporty breed. These dogs were bred for the purpose of hunting raccoons, and even still, they love to hunt! This breed isn’t for just anyone, though, and their needs can make them unsuitable for the average pet home.


Meet the American English Coonhound: A Dog with a Nose for Adventure

Have you ever seen a dog with a speckled red coat and a booming baying bark echoing through the woods? Meet the American English Coonhound, a true American original. These loyal and energetic pups were originally bred to hunt raccoons back in the days of Colonial America. Their amazing noses and relentless tracking abilities made them legends in the forests and fields of the southeastern United States.

An American English Coonhound sniffing a trail in the woods
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound sniffing a trail in the woods

But don’t think these dogs are just for hunters! American English Coonhounds make wonderful family companions with the right training and environment. Ready to get the lowdown on this iconic breed? Let’s dive in!

What’s the Purpose of This Guide?

In this in-depth guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about American English Coonhounds. We’ll cover everything from their fascinating history to tips for training, care, and what it’s really like to share your life with one of these energetic and vocal pups. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or a curious newcomer, you’ll find valuable information to help you decide if this breed is the right fit for you.


From Virginia Roots to Tree-Climbing Legends

The story of the American English Coonhound is a tale deeply woven into the fabric of American history. It all begins with their ancestors, the English Foxhounds, brought to the Virginia colony in the 17th century. Over time, these dogs were bred with other scent hounds, like Bloodhounds, to create powerful tracking dogs able to handle the rugged American terrain.

American English Coonhounds became famous for a unique skill: treeing. They’d follow a raccoon’s scent trail to a tree and then bark loudly until their human companions could arrive to take care of the rest. Talk about dedication!

An American English Coonhound looking up at a tree
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound looking up at a tree

Challenges and Recognition

Early breeders of the American English Coonhound faced a challenge – they had to strike a balance between an eager nose for trailing and the ability to alert by barking at the base of a tree. It took careful selection and breeding, but eventually, this iconic breed was born. The American Kennel Club officially recognized them in 1905.

Did You Know?

American English Coonhounds aren’t just a historical footnote – they play an important role in modern raccoon hunting competitions! Their booming barks and dedication to the hunt make them a favorite among enthusiasts of this traditional sport. Find out if there are competitions in your area!

Temperament and Personality

Big Hearts and Booming Barks

American English Coonhounds are known for their friendly, laid-back personalities. They’re true people dogs, eager to snuggle up on the couch just as much as they are to run through the woods. But don’t let their sweet demeanor fool you—these hounds have plenty of energy and a few quirks that make them unique.

An American English Coonhound sitting next to a person on a couch
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound sitting next to a person on a couch

Loyalty and Love

If you’re looking for a devoted companion, an American English Coonhound might be your perfect match. They form strong bonds with their families and crave affection in return. Get ready for big sloppy kisses and plenty of tail wags!

A Stubborn Streak and a Nose for Trouble

While their sweetness is undeniable, American English Coonhounds have a stubborn streak like many hound dogs. This means training requires extra patience and consistency. They are scent-driven dogs, so if they catch an interesting smell, forget about it! They’ll be off on an adventure before you can blink.

The Soundtrack of Your Life

One of the most iconic traits of an American English Coonhound is their voice! These dogs have a loud, booming bay that carries far and wide. It was essential for hunting purposes but can be startling if you’re not prepared for it. They’re not afraid to use their big voices for other reasons too, whether they’re bored, lonely, or just want to say hello.

Tips for a Harmonious Household

American English Coonhounds are loving pups and eager to please, but they do have a few unique needs. Here are some tips to bring out their best side:

  • Training & Socialization: Start early and stay consistent. Positive reinforcement is key. Introduce your American English Coonhound to lots of people, dogs, and situations as a puppy for good socialization.
  • Exercise and Enrichment: This breed needs plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation. Long walks, hikes, and games of fetch help burn off that hound dog energy. Puzzle toys and scent work challenges are also great!
  • Expect Some Barking: You can work to minimize excessive barking with training, but these are vocal dogs by nature. If you live in a noise-sensitive area, think carefully about whether this is the right breed for you.

Physical Characteristics

Athletic Build and a Coat of Many Colors

American English Coonhounds are medium-sized, athletic dogs built for endurance and agility. They stand around 23-26 inches tall and weigh between 45-65 pounds. Their muscular bodies, powerful legs, and those signature long, floppy ears give them a classic hound dog look.

An American English Coonhound running through a field
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound running through a field

A Speckled Masterpiece

One of the most striking features of the American English Coonhound is their coat. They come in a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns, including:

  • Redtick: A white coat with red speckles
  • Bluetick: A white coat with black speckles
  • Tricolor: A combination of black, white, and tan
  • Red and White: Self-explanatory, but very handsome!

Built for the Hunt

Beyond their colors, American English Coonhounds have physical adaptations perfect for their original hunting purpose:

  • Keen Nose: Their most important tool! They have a powerful sense of smell to track prey for miles.
  • Long Floppy Ears: Help to sweep scents toward their nose.
  • Loud Bay: Used to alert hunters about their location and the location of treed prey.
  • Weather-resistant Coat: Protects them from rain and cold on the hunt.
An American English Coonhound sniffing a scent closely
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound sniffing a scent closely

Maintaining that Coonhound Look

American English Coonhounds have a relatively short, smooth coat that’s thankfully easy to groom. Regular brushing to remove loose hair and occasional baths will keep them looking dapper. Pay special attention to those floppy ears – cleaning with an ear cleaner designed for dogs can help prevent infections.

Care and Grooming

Keeping Your Coonhound Happy and Healthy

American English Coonhounds are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they have specific care needs to keep them thriving. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Fueling That Hound Dog Energy

These dogs were bred to work, so they need plenty of exercise! Unless you actively hunt, they may not get enough activity from sniffing around the backyard. Plan for:

  • Daily Walks: At least two long walks a day are necessary to keep your dog content and prevent boredom barking. Aim for an hour or more of total walk time.
  • Playtime: Fetch, frisbee, and games of tag help to burn energy and provide mental stimulation.
  • Scent Work and Agility: Consider classes or dog sports. These activities cater to their natural instincts and skills.

Diet and Nutrition

Choose a high-quality dog food formulated for medium, active breeds. Work with your vet to determine the appropriate number of calories based on your dog’s age and activity level. Remember, those floppy ears are prone to food or water getting stuck, so keep an eye out during mealtime!

Grooming Basics

American English Coonhounds have low-maintenance coats, but here are the basics:

  • Brushing: Weekly brushing with a hound mitt or grooming brush removes dead hair and distributes natural oils.
  • Bathing: Only bathe your pup when they’re muddy or smelly. Over-bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat.
  • Ear Care: Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent infections. Use a dog-specific ear cleaner. Consult your vet for proper cleaning techniques.
  • Nail Trimming: Regular nail trims are necessary for paw comfort.
  • Staying Healthy: Veterinary Care

Regular vet checkups are crucial for catching potential health issues early. Here are some health concerns this breed may be prone to:

  • Hip dysplasia: A common joint problem in larger breeds.
  • Ear infections: Their floppy ears are prone to trapping moisture and debris.
  • Bloat: A serious, potentially fatal condition. Learn the signs and know how to seek emergency care.

Living with an American English Coonhound

American English Coonhound Unleashing the Loyal & Lively Breed

More Than A Dog, A Lifestyle Choice

Sharing your life with an American English Coonhound is a rewarding but unique experience. Before taking the plunge, it’s important to understand both the joys and potential challenges that come with this spirited breed.

Big Personalities, Big Love

American English Coonhounds are playful, affectionate, and have larger-than-life personalities. Get ready for these adorable moments:

  • Snuggle Sessions: They love to cuddle on the couch as much as they love to run free.
  • Silly Antics: Their goofy side will keep you laughing.
  • Loyal Companions: They’ll be your devoted sidekicks.

Potential Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

No breed is perfect, and here are some areas where you might face challenges:

  • Barking: That famous bay can be a concern for noise-sensitive neighbors. Training helps, but these are naturally vocal dogs.
  • High Prey Drive: If you have cats or other small animals, you’ll need to use caution and work on careful introductions and training. A securely fenced yard is a must to help them stay safe if they decide to bolt after a scent.
  • The Nose Knows: They may get into mischief if they pick up a scent and become determined to follow it. Excellent recall training is essential.

The Ideal Home for an American English Coonhound

Here’s a quick checklist of qualities that make a good American English Coonhound owner:

  • Experience with Dogs: While friendly, Coonhounds are best suited for those with previous dog ownership experience.
  • Active Lifestyle: This breed needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Are you ready for those daily walks and playtime?
  • Patience for Training: Coonhound stubbornness can be a challenge, but they are smart and with positive methods, they can become fantastic companions.
  • Secure Fenced Yard: This is an absolute must for safety!
  • Appreciation for the Coonhound Bay: Understanding that barking is part of the package is crucial.

Honest Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do you have the time and commitment to provide adequate exercise and mental stimulation every day?
  • Can you handle potential barking, stubbornness, and a strong prey drive?
  • Is your living situation suitable for a vocal dog?
  • If you’re still feeling enthusiastic after a little soul-searching, you might just be the perfect match for this amazing breed!
An American English Coonhound is staring in one direction
Illustrating images: An American English Coonhound is staring in one direction

Unique Traits and Activities

More Than Just a Pretty Sniffer

American English Coonhounds might have been known for their hunting skills, but there’s more to these dogs than meets the eye (or nose!). Here are some unique facts and fun activities that showcase their versatility:

Scent Work Superstars

While originally used for raccoon hunting, Coonhounds excel in all kinds of scent work activities. They can be trained to:

  • Track Missing Persons: They can help in search and rescue missions.
  • Detect Contraband: Their strong noses can sniff out illegal substances or potential agricultural pests for law enforcement.
  • Nose Work Competitions: Turn their innate scent ability into a fun sport!

A History of Coonhound Competitions

Did you know that there are dedicated competitions just for Coonhounds? These events are a great way to see the breed in action and witness their amazing tracking skills. They usually involve:

  • Night Hunts: Simulating traditional raccoon hunts, where dogs are scored on their tracking and treeing abilities.
  • Bench Shows: Like regular dog shows, but specifically focused on the American English Coonhound breed standard.
  • How to find competitions: Search online for “Coonhound field trials” or “Coonhound bench shows” in your area.

Surprisingly Trainable?

American English Coonhounds have a reputation for being stubborn, but don’t underestimate them! With the right approach, they can be quite responsive:

Positive Reinforcement: These dogs thrive on praise and treats. Harsh training methods can backfire as they may become wary.
Scent-Based Activities: Tap into their instinctual love of sniffing to make training fun and engaging. Consider incorporating basic obedience within fun scent work exercises.


Is an American English Coonhound the Right Dog for You?

American English Coonhounds are fantastic dogs with big personalities, incredible noses, and even bigger hearts. However, they’re not the right fit for everyone. If you’re an active, experienced dog owner with a secure yard and an appreciation for a little hound dog music, an American English Coonhound could be your perfect furry companion. They’ll bring endless joy, laughter, and a touch of wilderness into your life.


  • These dogs need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Early socialization and training are crucial.
  • Their loud bays and strong prey drive should be carefully considered.

Taking the Next Step

If you’ve fallen head over heels for this breed, the next step is to find a responsible breeder or rescue organization. Do your research and find an American English Coonhound who’s the perfect match for your lifestyle. Get ready for an exciting and rewarding journey filled with endless sniffing adventures!


Are American English Coonhounds good for first-time owners?

While incredibly friendly, American English Coonhounds can be a handful. Their stubborn streak, high exercise needs, and tendency to bark can make them a challenge for first-time dog owners. If you’re a beginner, consider a different breed or do extensive research and be prepared for consistent training.

Do American English Coonhounds bark a lot?

Yes! American English Coonhounds are known for their loud, booming baying. They vocalize for various reasons, including boredom, excitement, and when they pick up a scent. Training can help manage barking, but they’ll always be naturally vocal dogs.

Do American English Coonhounds do well in apartments?

Generally, American English Coonhounds are not suited for apartment living. They have high energy levels, need a lot of exercise, and tend to be vocal. A house with a securely fenced yard is a much better fit for this breed.

Can American English Coonhounds be left alone for long periods?

American English Coonhounds thrive on companionship and don’t do well if left alone for extended stretches. They can become bored and destructive. If you work long hours, it’s best to arrange for doggy daycare, a dog walker, or consider a different breed with lower companionship needs.

Can American English Coonhounds be trained for dog sports?

Absolutely! Their strong noses, athleticism, and drive make American English Coonhounds well-suited for various dog sports. Consider training them for scent work, tracking, agility, or even dock diving!

What other breeds are similar to American English Coonhounds?

If you love the general look and temperament of American English Coonhounds but are looking for slightly different traits, these breeds are similar:

  • Redbone Coonhound: Shares a similar appearance and scent-driven personality, but typically has a calmer temperament.
  • Black and Tan Coonhound: Often a bit larger and more laid-back than American English Coonhounds.
  • Bluetick Coonhound: Another close cousin, known for their blue speckled coats.
  • Beagle: Smaller than Coonhounds, but shares the floppy ears, friendly disposition, and hound dog tendencies.
  • Bloodhound: Larger, with an even stronger sense of smell, but less energetic than Coonhounds.

Are American English Coonhounds considered a rare breed?

American English Coonhounds are not classified as a rare breed. However, they’re certainly not as common as breeds like Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers. You can find reputable breeders across the US, but you may have to travel or join a waiting list for a puppy.

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