Bluetick Coonhound

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bluetick coonhound portrait
Say hello to the Bluetick Coonhound, a breed that's as unique as its melodious howl! With their striking coat, exceptional tracking abilities, and heartwarming loyalty, these hounds are the unsung heroes of the canine world.

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

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors with a soft spot for affectionate, intelligent companions, then the Bluetick Coonhound might just be your match made in doggy heaven! These energetic hounds are perfect for active families who love to explore and have plenty of space for their canine friend to roam.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEBluetick Coonhound
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZELarge
HEIGHT21-27 inches
WEIGHT45-80 lbs
LIFESPAN11-12 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING/HOWLING TENDENCYHigh
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYModerate
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK133rd
bluetick coonhound standing outdoors
Photo: Mary Swift/Getty Images

Appearance

Picture a dog that’s a stunning blend of strength, grace, and undeniable charm. That’s the Bluetick Coonhound for you! With their muscular bodies and sleek, glossy coats, these dogs are a sight to behold.

Standing tall at 21 to 27 inches and weighing in between 45 to 80 pounds, these hounds have a commanding presence. Their build is robust yet streamlined, a testament to their hunting prowess and agility.

Let’s talk about their heads, shall we? These hounds sport a broad, domed head that looks oh-so-pettable. They have a square-shaped muzzle that perfectly complements their strong jaws. But it’s their eyes that really steal the show. Dark and round, their eyes have a soft, pleading expression that can melt even the coldest of hearts.

Swinging low, their ears seem to echo their relaxed persona. Long and droopy, they frame the dog’s face beautifully, lending them an endearing, somewhat comical look. It’s hard not to smile when you see those ears flapping as they bound around!

Their tails, long and high-set, are another distinctive feature. You’ll often see it wagging enthusiastically, a clear sign of their happy-go-lucky nature.

Now, let’s discuss the coat that gives them their name. The Bluetick Coonhound sports a short, dense coat that’s truly a spectacle. It’s predominantly dark blue, speckled with black spots all over. This gives them a ‘blue’ appearance, hence the name. You might also find patches of white and tan, adding to their eye-catching appeal.

Their coat isn’t just for show, though. It’s designed to withstand rough terrains and harsh weather, making these dogs perfect for those who love outdoor adventures.

In a nutshell, the Bluetick Coonhound is a beautiful blend of practicality and aesthetics. Their distinct physical features aren’t just striking, they’re a testament to their history and purpose. One look at them, and you can tell – they’re born to be outdoors, to explore, and to win hearts with their unique charm.

bluetick coonhound at a park
Photo: Mary Swift/Getty Images

Temperament

Meet the Bluetick Coonhound, a breed that’s as full of personality as it is of energy. These dogs are a delightful mix of contrasts. They’re calm yet lively, stubborn yet devoted, and independent yet loving. And that’s what makes them so endearing.

Bluetick Coonhounds are known for their friendly demeanor. They love being around people and are particularly good with children. Their gentle nature combined with an innate sense of loyalty makes them the perfect family pet. Don’t be surprised if your Bluetick becomes your child’s favorite playmate, always ready for a game of fetch or a cuddle session.

These hounds are also known for their intelligence. They’re quick learners and have an uncanny ability to problem-solve. This makes them quite resourceful, especially when they set their minds on something. Whether it’s finding that hidden treat or figuring out how to get on your bed, they’ll stop at nothing until they achieve their goal.

Despite their intelligence, Blueticks can sometimes be stubborn. They have a mind of their own and like to do things at their own pace. This doesn’t mean they’re disobedient, though. It’s just that they have a strong will and like to follow their instincts. But don’t worry, this stubbornness is usually paired with a charming, playful side that’s hard to resist.

One thing you should know about Blueticks is their love for ‘talking’. They’re known for their unique, melodious howl. This is their way of expressing themselves and communicating with their human families. It’s not unusual for a Bluetick to howl in excitement, frustration, or just to get your attention. And trust us, it’s a sound you’ll grow to love!

Blueticks are also known for their scenting abilities. Originally bred as hunting dogs, they have a keen nose that can pick up scents even from a distance. This makes them naturally curious and eager to explore their surroundings. They’re always on the lookout for interesting smells, ready to embark on a sniffing adventure at a moment’s notice.

Despite their active nature, Blueticks are surprisingly laid-back indoors. They love lounging around, preferably close to their favorite humans. They’re not above using their puppy eyes to score some extra cuddles or treats. And when they’re not exploring or playing, they’re likely to be found snoozing in a sunny spot.

In their hearts, Bluetick Coonhounds are big softies. They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on love and attention. They’re the kind of dogs that will greet you with a wagging tail and a happy howl, no matter how long you’ve been away.

Ideal Environment

Imagine a sprawling backyard, plenty of fresh air, and an active family who loves outdoor adventures. That’s the dream life for a Bluetick Coonhound. These dogs are born explorers, happiest when there’s ample space to roam and sniff around.

Physical Environment

Bluetick Coonhounds thrive in an environment where they can expend their energy and indulge their natural curiosity. A home with a large, securely fenced yard is ideal. They love exploring every nook and cranny, following interesting scents, and playing endless games of fetch.

Climate Adaptability

Now, let’s talk about climate adaptability. Bluetick Coonhounds have a dense coat that provides some protection against colder weather. However, they are not built for extreme cold and should not be left outside for extended periods in freezing temperatures. They’ll need a warm, cozy spot indoors during winter.

As for hot climates, they’re quite adaptable. But just like any other dog, they can suffer from heatstroke if the temperatures soar too high. On particularly hot days, ensure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh water. Avoid vigorous exercise during peak heat hours.

Ideal Owner

When it comes to pet parents, these hounds are best suited to those who lead an active lifestyle. If you enjoy morning jogs, hiking trips, or camping under the stars, a Bluetick Coonhound would make a fantastic companion. They’re also great with children, reveling in the energy and enthusiasm kids bring.

Other Pets

As far as other pets are concerned, Blueticks generally get along well with them. However, due to their hunting instincts, they might see smaller pets as prey. Early socialization can help manage this, but it’s something to be mindful of when introducing them to other animals.

bluetick coonhound in the backyard
Photo: Acmecanine/Pixabay

Grooming

Grooming a Bluetick Coonhound can be summed up in three words – simple, straightforward, and satisfying. These dogs are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming needs, but they do require some regular care to keep them looking their best.

Coat Care

Let’s start with their coat. Blueticks have a short, smooth coat that’s relatively easy to maintain. However, don’t let its simplicity fool you. Regular brushing is essential to keep it healthy and shiny. Aim for a good brush-down once or twice a week using a medium-bristle brush or a hound glove. This not only keeps their coat looking sleek but also helps distribute natural oils, promoting healthier skin.

Blueticks are moderate shedders, so expect some hair around your home. During shedding seasons (typically spring and fall), you might need to increase the frequency of brushing to manage the loose hair. It’s a great bonding time and your Bluetick will probably enjoy the extra attention!

Bathing doesn’t need to be frequent with these hounds. Unless they’ve rolled in something smelly or have gotten particularly dirty, a bath every few months should suffice. Use a dog-specific shampoo to protect their skin’s natural balance. Remember, over-bathing can strip their coat of essential oils, leading to dry skin.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental hygiene. Just like us, Blueticks need their teeth brushed regularly. Aim to brush their teeth at least two to three times a week. Regular brushing prevents tartar buildup, promotes healthy gums, and keeps bad breath at bay. You can use dog-friendly toothpaste and a soft toothbrush for this task.

Ear Care

Don’t forget those ears! Blueticks have long, floppy ears which, while adorable, can be prone to infections. Make it a habit to check their ears weekly for any signs of redness, bad odor, or irritation. Clean them gently using a vet-recommended ear cleaner and a cotton ball.

Nail Trimming

Moving on to their nails, Blueticks, like most dogs, need regular nail trims. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim. You can use a dog nail clipper or grinder for this job. If you’re uncertain about doing it yourself, a professional groomer or vet can help.

Additional Grooming Tips

Lastly, keep an eye on their overall skin health. Look out for any rashes, sores, or signs of parasites during your grooming sessions. Early detection can prevent many health issues.

bluetick coonhound walking in the forest
Photo: Scott Allan/Getty Images

Exercise

Bluetick Coonhounds are high-energy and need plenty of physical activity to keep them happy and healthy. So, if you’re a fitness enthusiast or love outdoor activities, you’ve found your perfect furry companion!

Exercise Amount & Types

Blueticks require at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll be running marathons every morning. A brisk walk or jog around the neighborhood, a game of fetch in the park, or a fun-filled session of chase in the backyard can do the trick. They’re not picky, as long as they get to move and explore.

If you’re into hiking, even better! Blueticks are excellent trail companions. Their strong sense of smell and natural curiosity make them great explorers. Just remember to keep them on a leash so they don’t wander off following an enticing scent.

If you have a large, securely fenced yard, letting your Bluetick run around and play can be a great form of exercise. However, remember that these dogs are skilled escape artists. They can easily follow a scent or spot a squirrel, get excited, and find a way out. Always ensure your yard is secure before letting them loose.

Dog Sports

These hounds also excel in dog sports. Activities like agility, tracking, and coonhound events are right up their alley. Not only do these provide great physical stimulation, but they also challenge their minds, keeping them mentally sharp.

Exercise Precautions

While exercise is crucial for a Bluetick, it’s equally important to provide them with downtime. After a good workout, these hounds love nothing more than to relax and recharge, preferably in a comfy spot next to their favorite human.

Training

Training a Bluetick Coonhound can be an adventure in itself. These dogs are intelligent, quick learners, and have an eagerness to please, which makes them quite trainable. However, they also have a streak of independence and a mind of their own. So, while training them can be rewarding, it may also require a bit of patience and creativity.

The key to training a Bluetick lies in understanding their nature. They’re scent hounds, bred for hunting, which means they’re driven by their noses. A fascinating smell can easily distract them. Therefore, training sessions should be conducted in a relatively distraction-free environment, especially in the early stages.

Start with basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, etc., and gradually move on to more complex ones. Consistency is crucial. Repeat the commands and reward them for getting it right. Positive reinforcement works wonders with this breed. Treats, praises, or a favorite toy can motivate them to learn and obey commands.

Socialization is another important aspect of training. Introduce your Bluetick to different people, environments, and other pets from a young age. This will help them grow into well-adjusted, confident dogs.

Blueticks can sometimes be stubborn, but don’t let that discourage you. If they seem uninterested or distracted during a training session, take a break and try again later. Remember, it’s about making the process enjoyable for them.

One unique aspect of training a Bluetick is harnessing their natural tracking abilities. You can set up scent trails for them to follow or play hide and seek with their favorite toy. This not only provides mental stimulation but also allows them to use their innate skills.

bluetick coonhound's face
Photo: Acmecanine/Pixabay

Diet & Nutrition 

Bluetick Coonhounds are energetic dogs that need a balanced, nutritious diet to keep them healthy and active. But don’t worry, figuring out their dietary needs can be simpler than it sounds.

What to Feed & How Much

The type of food you choose can depend on your dog’s age, size, health, and activity level. High-quality dry kibble, wet food, or even a raw diet can all work well, as long as they meet the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

When it comes to quantity, an adult Bluetick typically requires around 2.5 to 3 cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. However, this can vary based on their activity levels. An active, outdoorsy Bluetick may need more food than a more laid-back one. Puppies usually need smaller, more frequent meals, while seniors may require a diet tailored to their health needs.

It’s important to monitor your Bluetick’s weight. Regular vet check-ups can help you ensure they’re maintaining a healthy weight. If you notice any sudden weight gain or loss, it’s best to consult with your vet.

Treats

Treats are a great tool for training, but remember, they should make up only about 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Too many treats can lead to obesity, a common issue in Blueticks. So, use them sparingly and opt for healthier options like carrot sticks or apple slices.

Water

Hydration is another key aspect of their diet. Always ensure your Bluetick has access to fresh water, especially after exercise or during hot weather. A good rule of thumb is that a dog should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

Health

Bluetick Coonhounds are known for their robust health and vitality. With proper care, these dogs can share your life for about 11-12 years, filling your days with energy and joy. However, like every breed, they do have a predisposition to certain health issues.

Here are common health concerns you should be aware of:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit snugly into the hip socket. It can lead to discomfort and mobility problems in the long run.

Ear Infections: Those charming, floppy ears can sometimes become a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, leading to infections. Regular cleaning can help prevent this.

Obesity: Blueticks have hearty appetites and can easily gain weight if their diet isn’t carefully managed.

Eye Conditions: They can be prone to certain eye conditions like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which causes gradual vision loss, and cataracts.

Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition common in deep-chested dogs like Blueticks. It involves the stomach twisting and filling with gas.

To keep these health issues at bay, a balanced diet is key. Feed them high-quality dog food that meets the nutritional guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly to prevent obesity.

Regular veterinary checks are crucial to catch any potential health issues early. Your vet will guide you on the necessary vaccinations to protect your Bluetick from various diseases. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Lastly, don’t forget about exercise. Regular physical activity not only keeps your Bluetick fit but also stimulates their mind, contributing to their overall well-being.

bluetick coonhound's face
Photo: Mary Swift/Getty Images

History

The Bluetick Coonhound has a history as interesting as its appearance. This breed’s story begins in the southern United States, where they were developed to meet the specific needs of hunters.

The Bluetick’s ancestors include the English Foxhound and the French staghound, the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. Early American settlers valued these dogs for their endurance, keen nose, and tenacious spirit while hunting raccoons (“coons”), hence the name “Coonhound”. The “Bluetick” part of their name comes from their distinctive coat that appears blue and is speckled or “ticked” with black.

For many years, Blueticks were classified as a type of Coonhound, rather than a separate breed. However, Bluetick enthusiasts knew these dogs were special and deserved recognition. So, they worked tirelessly to establish the Bluetick as a breed of its own, and their efforts paid off. In 2009, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Bluetick Coonhound as a distinct breed.

But the Bluetick Coonhound’s fame isn’t limited to the hunting world or dog shows. These dogs have also made a mark in popular culture.

Perhaps the most famous Bluetick is ‘Smokey’, the sports mascot of the University of Tennessee. Since 1953, the university has had a succession of live Bluetick mascots, all named Smokey. These dogs are loved by fans and have become an integral part of the university’s sporting events.

Blueticks have also made appearances in literature and film. In the popular novel “Where the Red Fern Grows”, a Bluetick plays a pivotal role. The breed has also been mentioned in songs by notable country music artists, further cementing its place in Southern culture.

Despite their fame, Blueticks remain down-to-earth and hardworking dogs. They’re still used for hunting across the U.S., valued for their tracking skills and determination. But they’re not just working dogs. With their friendly nature and loyalty, Blueticks have also found a place in many homes as beloved family pets.

Parent Club

The parent club for Bluetick Coonhounds in the US is the National Bluetick Coonhound Association (NBCA). The club was founded with a mission to promote the breed and provide resources for Bluetick owners.

They offer resources for breeders, owners, and enthusiasts alike. You can visit their webpage for more information about the breed, upcoming events, and how to become a member.

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 Bluetick Coonhound’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Acquiring

Bringing a Bluetick Coonhound into your life is an exciting journey! Before you start, make sure you’re prepared for their energetic nature and exercise needs. They’ll need plenty of space to run and play, as well as mental stimulation.

If you choose to buy a puppy, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament. However, consider rescuing a Bluetick. There are many wonderful dogs waiting for their forever homes. The NBCA and the AKC can guide you towards rescue organizations. Adopting a dog not only gives them a second chance at love, but it also makes room for other dogs in need.

Remember, whether you buy or rescue, the most important thing is to provide a loving, committed home. Your Bluetick will reward you with loyalty and companionship.

FAQs

Why is it called a Bluetick Coonhound?

The Bluetick Coonhound gets its name from its coat, which appears blue and is dotted or “ticked” with black. The “Coonhound” part of their name comes from their original use as raccoon hunters.

Can Bluetick Coonhounds be aggressive?

Bluetick Coonhounds are typically friendly and sociable dogs. They aren’t known for being aggressive, but like all dogs, they should be properly socialized from a young age.

Do Bluetick Coonhounds bark a lot?

Bluetick Coonhounds can be vocal, especially when they’re on a scent trail. However, excessive barking isn’t typical for the breed and could indicate boredom or anxiety.

Are Bluetick Coonhounds rare?

While not as common as some breeds, Bluetick Coonhounds are not considered rare. They’re popular in the southern United States, particularly among hunting communities.

How big do Bluetick Coonhounds get?

Adult males typically stand between 22-27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55-80 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 21-25 inches tall and weighing 45-65 pounds.

Are Bluetick Coonhounds good family dogs?

Yes, Bluetick Coonhounds can make excellent family pets. They’re known for their loyalty and love of people. However, their high energy levels and exercise needs make them best suited to active families.

How long do Bluetick Coonhounds live?

With proper care, a Bluetick Coonhound can live between 11-12 years. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercise can contribute to a long, healthy life.

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