Black and Tan Coonhound

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black and tan coonhound portrait
Welcome to the world of Black and Tan Coonhounds! With their striking coloration, exceptional hunting prowess, and a personality that's as large as their howl, these dogs are a unique blend of charm and grit.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Black and Tan Coonhound is a dream come true for active families and outdoor enthusiasts. With their high energy levels, they love long walks, runs or hunts in the great outdoors. But don’t be fooled – beneath their tough exterior, they’re absolute softies, thriving on companionship and curling up on the couch!


OFFICIAL NAMEBlack and Tan Coonhound
OTHER NAMESAmerican Black and Tan Coonhound
ORIGINUnited States
HEIGHT23-27 inches
WEIGHT65-110 lbs
LIFESPAN10-12 years
black and tan coonhound running on grass
Photo: WilleeCole Photography


The Black and Tan Coonhound is a breed that’s every bit as striking as it sounds. Imagine a sleek, well-muscled body coated in a glossy black fur with tantalizing tan markings. That’s your first introduction to this fascinating breed.

These dogs stand tall and proud, with males measuring between 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder, and females slightly smaller at 23 to 25 inches. But don’t let their size intimidate you – these gentle giants are all heart! They weigh in anywhere from 65 to 110 pounds, with a solid and sturdy structure that’s built for endurance.

The first thing you’ll notice about a Black and Tan Coonhound is their head. It’s prominently large but proportionate to their body, giving them a noble and somewhat solemn expression. Their eyes are round and hazel to brown in color, exuding an air of wisdom and intelligence.

Now, let’s talk about those ears! Their long, droopy ears are one of their most distinctive features. They hang low, reaching at least to the nose, if not beyond. These velvety flaps frame their face beautifully, adding to their overall charm.

Their bodies are strong and agile, built for long hours of tracking in the field. The chest is deep and broad, providing plenty of room for a robust heart and lungs. Their back is level and muscular, leading to a high-set tail. The tail itself is quite a spectacle – carried freely, but not overly so, adding to their poised demeanor.

But what really sets the Black and Tan Coonhound apart is their stunning coat. As the name suggests, they’re predominantly black with rich, tan accents above the eyes, on the sides of the chest, and on the legs and tail. The coat is short and dense, providing adequate protection against rough terrain and weather conditions.

In a nutshell, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a symphony of strength, agility, and elegance. Their unique physical attributes not only make them excellent working dogs but also give them an undeniable charisma that’s hard to ignore.

black and tan coonhound walking in show ring
Photo: Kyle Reynolds/Getty Images


If you’re looking for a dog with personality to spare, meet the Black and Tan Coonhound. They’re an intriguing blend of determination, charm, and loyalty that’s sure to win over any dog lover.

Let’s start with their most distinctive trait – their unwavering determination. As a breed with a rich hunting heritage, these dogs are born trackers. Once they catch a scent, there’s little that can distract them. This tenacity extends beyond the field, making them determined players in whatever game or task they’re set to.

Yet, beneath this determined exterior lies a heart of gold. Black and Tan Coonhounds are incredibly loyal and form strong bonds with their families. They love nothing more than spending time with their loved ones, whether it’s lounging on the sofa or playing in the yard. Their loyalty also makes them protective of their family, though they’re not typically aggressive.

Now, don’t let their hunting prowess fool you – these dogs are total goofballs at home! They’re known for their playful antics and an almost clownish sense of humor. Don’t be surprised if your Coonhound tries to amuse you with their toys or engage you in a fun game of fetch. Their playful nature and high spirits can bring joy and laughter into any home.

Another lovable trait is their laid-back nature. When they’re not on the trail or engaged in play, Black and Tan Coonhounds love to relax. They’re perfectly content to sprawl out on a comfortable surface (your couch or bed being their top choices) and snooze the day away. This easy-going nature makes them excellent companions for those calm, quiet moments at home.

Despite their size, Black and Tan Coonhounds have a gentle disposition. They’re patient and tolerant, which makes them wonderful companions for children. However, like any large breed, they should always be supervised around small kids to prevent accidental bumps or knocks.

Lastly, let’s talk about their sociability. These dogs are friendly and tend to get along well with other dogs, thanks to their pack-hunting origins. They’re also typically good with strangers, often greeting guests with wagging tails and excited sniffs. However, their friendliness doesn’t extend to smaller animals, which they may see as prey due to their hunting instincts.

Ideal Environment

If you’ve ever wondered what the dream home for a Black and Tan Coonhound looks like, you’re in for a treat. These dogs are as adaptable as they come, but there are certain environments where they truly thrive.

Physical Environment

Firstly, the Black and Tan Coonhound is an active breed that loves space to roam and explore. A house with a large, securely fenced yard would be their paradise. Here, they can sniff around to their heart’s content, chase after squirrels, or simply bask in the sun. An apartment might work too, but only if they get plenty of outdoor time to burn off their energy.

While Black and Tan Coonhounds are friendly and sociable, they can be a bit vocal, especially when they catch an interesting scent or spot an intriguing sight. Therefore, consider this if you live in close proximity to neighbors who may not appreciate the music of a Coonhound’s howl.

Climate Adaptability

Next, let’s talk about the climate. Their dense coat provides some protection against the cold, but they’re not built for extreme temperatures. In colder climates, they’ll appreciate a warm doggy sweater and shorter outdoor excursions. In contrast, they can handle heat fairly well, but always ensure they have access to shade and fresh water during hot weather.

Ideal Owner

When it comes to their human companions, these dogs do best with active individuals or families who love outdoor activities. They’re also a great fit for those who enjoy a good laugh, given their playful and sometimes clownish antics. However, they need a pet parent who can provide firm, consistent training and plenty of mental stimulation to keep their keen minds occupied.

Other Pets

As for other pets, their sociability extends to other dogs, making them great candidates for multi-dog households. But remember, their hunting instincts are strong. So, smaller pets might be seen as potential prey. It’s essential to monitor interactions between your Coonhound and smaller animals.

black and tan coonhound looking up a tree
Photo: HappyTam27/Getty Images


When it comes to grooming, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a relatively low-maintenance breed. But don’t be fooled – they still require regular care to keep them looking their best. Let’s dive into the world of Coonhound grooming!

Coat Care

Starting with their stunning coat, these dogs boast a short, dense fur that’s surprisingly easy to care for. Weekly brushing should be enough to keep their coat clean and healthy. A rubber grooming mitt or a hound glove works wonders in removing loose hair and spreading the natural oils on their skin, giving their coat a nice, glossy shine.

During shedding seasons (usually spring and fall), you might need to increase the frequency of brushing to keep the loose hair under control.

Bathing your Coonhound is a bit of an art. They don’t need frequent baths – once every three to four months should suffice unless they’ve decided to roll in something particularly smelly! Use a dog-specific shampoo to maintain the natural balance of their skin and coat. Remember to check their ears after each bath, as moisture can lead to infections.

Ear Care

Speaking of ears, those long, droopy ears need special attention. They’re prone to infection due to poor air circulation. Make it a habit to check their ears weekly for any signs of redness, bad odor, or discomfort. Clean them gently using a vet-recommended solution and cotton balls. Never use cotton swabs as they can damage the ear canal.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental care. Just like us, dogs need regular teeth cleaning to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week using a dog-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush. Regular dental check-ups are also a good idea to ensure their pearly whites stay healthy.

Nail Trimming

Next up are their nails. Black and Tan Coonhounds are active dogs, so they’ll naturally wear down their nails. However, if you hear a clicking sound when they walk on hard floors, it’s time for a trim. Use a dog nail clipper or grinder, and be careful not to cut into the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain.

Eye Care

Lastly, don’t forget their eyes. Regularly check for any redness, cloudiness, or excessive discharge. Clean the corners of their eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or crust.

black and tan coonhound's face
Photo: aMikeK/Getty Images


If there’s one thing you should know about Black and Tan Coonhounds, it’s that they are an active breed with a capital ‘A’! These dogs love to move, explore, and play, making them perfect companions for individuals who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, an adult Black and Tan Coonhound requires at least an hour of exercise each day. This could be a long walk, a vigorous play session in the backyard, or even a hike in the woods. Remember, these dogs were bred for endurance, so they love activities that engage both their bodies and minds.

One of their favorite pastimes? Following their nose! Their exceptional scenting abilities make them excellent candidates for scent games or tracking exercises. Hide some treats around your yard or home and watch as your Coonhound happily sniffs them out. It’s not just physical exercise but also a great mental workout for them.

Dog Sports

If you’re into dog sports, your Coonhound is likely to be a willing participant. They often excel in events like tracking trials, coonhound field trials, and even agility, given the right training. Participating in such competitions can provide an excellent outlet for their energy and hunting instincts.

Exercise Precautions

It’s important to remember that every dog is unique. Your Coonhound’s exercise needs may vary depending on their age, health, and individual personality. Always pay attention to your dog’s signals. If they seem restless or start engaging in destructive behaviors, they might need more exercise.


Training a Black and Tan Coonhound is an adventure, to say the least. These dogs are intelligent, independent, and have a mind of their own – traits that make them excellent hunters but can sometimes pose challenges in training.

However, with the right approach, training a Coonhound can be a rewarding experience. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods. This means lots of praise, treats, and belly rubs when they do something right. Harsh corrections or punishments are a big no-no, as they can lead to fear and stubbornness.

Start with basic obedience training – commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” are essential for every dog. Once they’ve mastered these, you can move onto more complex commands or tricks. Remember, Coonhounds love to use their noses, so scent-based games or tracking exercises can be a fun addition to their training routine.

Socialization is another crucial aspect of their training. Expose your Coonhound to different environments, people, and animals from a young age. This will help them grow into well-rounded, confident adults who can handle new situations with ease.

Despite their intelligence, Black and Tan Coonhounds can sometimes be stubborn. If they catch an interesting scent, they might choose to follow their nose instead of listening to your commands. Patience and consistency are key here. Keep training sessions short and fun to hold their interest, and always end on a positive note.

Lastly, remember that training is not just about teaching your dog to obey commands. It’s also about building a strong bond of trust and understanding with your furry friend. So, take this opportunity to get to know your Coonhound better, understand their unique personality, and develop a relationship based on mutual respect and love.

black and tan coonhound puppy
Photo: ivanastar/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Black and Tan Coonhound is like fueling an active, adventure-loving machine. These dogs have specific dietary needs that match their energetic lifestyle, and it’s essential to get it right to keep them healthy and happy.

What to Feed & How Much

In general, Coonhounds do well on high-quality commercial dog food that follows the AAFCO guidelines. Whether you choose dry kibble, canned food, or a raw diet, make sure it’s rich in protein to support their muscle development. Look for real meat sources like chicken, beef, or fish as the first ingredient.

The amount of food your Coonhound needs will depend on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies usually require more frequent meals – three to four times a day – while adult dogs can be fed twice daily. Always follow the feeding guidelines on the food package and adjust according to your dog’s needs.

Remember, Black and Tan Coonhounds are prone to weight gain. So, it’s important to monitor their portion sizes and ensure they’re getting enough exercise.


Treats can be a great training aid, but they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Opt for healthy options like carrot sticks or apple slices instead of high-fat treats.


Hydration is equally important. Make sure your Coonhound always has access to fresh, clean water, especially during hot weather or after vigorous exercise.


The Black and Tan Coonhound, with its charming personality and athletic physique, is generally a healthy breed. They boast an impressive life expectancy of 10-12 years, often filled with adventures and plenty of tail-wagging moments. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Here’s a quick rundown:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common condition in many larger breeds. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t fit perfectly into the hip socket, leading to discomfort and mobility issues.

Ear Infections: Given their long, droopy ears, Coonhounds are susceptible to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning can help prevent this.

Coonhound Paralysis: This is a rare, but serious condition affecting the dog’s nervous system, leading to partial or complete paralysis.

Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to symptoms like weight gain, sluggishness, and skin problems.

Eye Conditions: Coonhounds can suffer from various eye problems, including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.

Now, don’t let this list scare you. Many Coonhounds live long, healthy lives without ever developing these conditions. The key is to take proactive steps towards their health.

A balanced diet is the first step. Feed them high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs. This will boost their immune system and keep their bodies strong.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential. These allow for early detection and treatment of any potential health issues. Make sure your Coonhound receives regular vaccinations to protect them against common canine diseases.

Last but not least, keep them active. Regular exercise will help maintain a healthy weight and keep their joints flexible.

black and tan coonhound sitting on grass
Photo: WilleeCole Photography


The history of the Black and Tan Coonhound is a fascinating journey that takes us back to the early days of America. These dogs have left their paw prints on everything from hunting traditions to popular culture, and they continue to charm us with their unique personalities and striking looks.

The story begins in the 1700s when English settlers brought Foxhounds to America. These dogs were excellent hunters, but the settlers needed a dog that could trail game not just during the day, but also at night.

So, they selectively bred Foxhounds with Bloodhounds, creating a new breed that combined the stamina and speed of the Foxhound with the keen scenting abilities of the Bloodhound. This new breed, known as the Black and Tan Coonhound, was perfectly suited to the rugged American terrain and nocturnal hunting habits.

Black and Tan Coonhounds were primarily used to hunt raccoons, hence their name. They would track the scent of a raccoon, tree it, and then howl to alert their human companions. Their loud, distinctive howl is still one of their most endearing (or annoying, depending on who you ask!) traits today.

Fast forward to 1945, when the Black and Tan Coonhound was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. They were the first of the six coonhound breeds to receive this honor. Today, they’re not just celebrated as skilled hunting dogs, but also as loyal companions and beloved family pets.

In popular culture, the Black and Tan Coonhound holds a special place. Perhaps the most famous of them is “Sounder,” the loyal Coonhound in William H. Armstrong’s novel “Sounder,” which was later made into a movie. Sounder’s story, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, showcases the breed’s tenacity, loyalty, and courage.

Another notable mention is “Old Dan” from Wilson Rawls’ classic “Where the Red Fern Grows.” Old Dan’s unwavering bravery and devotion are a testament to the spirit of the Black and Tan Coonhound.

While their hunting days might be behind them, Black and Tan Coonhounds continue to win hearts with their friendly demeanor, intelligence, and distinctive looks. Whether they’re competing in dog shows, participating in scent trials, or simply snoozing on the couch, these dogs remind us of their rich history and the important role they played in America’s past.

Parent Club

The American Black and Tan Coonhound Association (ABTCA) is the go-to parent club for Black and Tan Coonhound enthusiasts in the United States. Founded in 1970, the ABTCA is dedicated to promoting the breed, preserving its unique qualities, and providing resources for owners and breeders.

Whether you’re a proud owner or just a fan of this wonderful breed, the ABTCA has plenty to offer. Check out their website for more information.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check the Black and Tan Coonhound’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 


Bringing a Black and Tan Coonhound into your life is an exciting journey! Before you start, be prepared for an active lifestyle and ample space for these energetic dogs to stretch their legs. If you’re buying a puppy, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and temperament of their dogs.

However, consider rescuing a Coonhound instead. There are many wonderful adult dogs and puppies waiting for their forever homes. Rescuing a dog can be a rewarding experience, offering them a second chance at happiness. The American Black and Tan Coonhound Association (ABTCA) and the American Kennel Club can provide resources to help you rescue a Coonhound.

Whether you buy or rescue, remember that bringing a dog home is a long-term commitment. But with a Black and Tan Coonhound, it’s a commitment filled with fun, adventure, and plenty of tail-wagging moments!


Are Black and Tan Coonhounds good pets?

Absolutely! Black and Tan Coonhounds are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are wonderful companions and get along well with children and other pets. They do require regular exercise and mental stimulation, so they’re best suited to active families.

Do Black and Tan Coonhounds bark a lot?

Yes, they can be quite vocal. Originally bred for hunting, they have a distinctive howl that they use to alert their owners. However, with proper training and socialization, excessive barking can be managed.

How smart are Black and Tan Coonhounds?

Black and Tan Coonhounds are highly intelligent dogs. They were bred to work independently from humans, so they are excellent problem solvers. However, their independent nature can sometimes come across as stubbornness during training.

Can Black and Tan Coonhounds be left alone?

Like any dog, Black and Tan Coonhounds enjoy the company of their human family and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. They can become bored and anxious, which might lead to destructive behavior.

How much exercise do Black and Tan Coonhounds need?

Black and Tan Coonhounds are an active breed and require at least an hour of regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. This can include daily walks, play sessions in the backyard, or mentally stimulating activities like tracking games.

Are Black and Tan Coonhounds easy to train?

While they are intelligent and capable of learning quickly, their independent nature can make training a challenge at times. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods and require patience and consistency.

Do Black and Tan Coonhounds shed a lot?

Black and Tan Coonhounds have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately. Regular brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat looking its best.

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