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Black and Tan Coonhound

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The Black and Tan Coonhound is a large purebred bred in the US to be a hunting dog. It is successful at daytime and night time hunting and can be used to hunt raccoons, and also other prey like bear, deer, cougar and wolf. It has a great cold nose, meaning it is very effective at following a scent even of the trail has gone cold. It is a very energetic and outgoing dog that can also be a great family dog as long as it gets enough exercise. There are two types of Black and Tan Coonhounds, show or bench lines and filed lines. Field types are bred for trial and hunting ability. Show lines are bred for conformation and looks.

The Black and Tan Coonhound at A Glance
Name Black and Tan Coonhound
Other names American Black and Tan Coonhound
Nicknames Black and Tan, B & T
Origin United States
Average size Large
Average weight 55 to 75 pounds
Average height 23 to 27 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Short, dense, water-repellant
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, tan
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 89th by the AKC
Intelligence Somewhat intelligent – about average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle hot weather just not extreme
Tolerance to cold Very good – can also live in cold climates
Shedding Constant – will leave a lot of hair around the home
Drooling High – prone to slobber and drool
Obesity Fairly high – does gain weight easily
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brushing will help lessen the shedding
Barking Occasional to frequent – barks and howls
Exercise needs Very active – needs to active and mentally stimulated
Trainability Moderately hard – experience needed
Friendliness Excellent with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – not good for new owners, needs experience
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate to good - needs socialization
Good with strangers Very good with socialization
Good apartment dog Low – not a breed suitable for apartment living
Handles alone time well Moderate – best not left alone for long periods
Health issues Quite a healthy dog – a few issues include hip dysplasia and eye problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $235 a year for toys, license, basic training and other miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $990 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $400
Rescue organizations Several including the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue
Biting Statistics None Reported

The Black and Tan Coonhound's Beginnings

The Black and Tan Coonhound was developed in the southern states of the US in the late 1700s. When being developed is thought there was the American Foxhound involved along with bloodhound and the Virginia foxhound. Before that its ancestors from England are thought to be the Talbot Hound. It was bred to primarily to be a raccoon and possum hunter and as a result was developed to be good at hunting at night. Therefore it had to track more by scent then sight. It would run its prey up a tree and then howl up at it indicating to hunters where the prey had gone.

While not as fast as some hunting breeds it nose is able to pick up even trails that are cold. It was also used by hunters to hunt other larger game too though. There are several types of Coonhound today, now recognized as separate breeds, but the Black and Tan Coonhound was the first one recognized separately from the Foxhound. It was bred to deal with hard terrains and to handle the cold winters and hot summers of the areas it was used in. Its versatility made it an ideal hunting companion for settlers in colonial times.

New Lease on Life

While it is still a popular hunting companion and family pet in the south, it is not as popular in the rest of the US or around the world. The United Kennel Club calls it the American Black and Tan Coonhound, but the AKC, who recognized it as a separate breed in 1945, call it a Black and Tan Coonhound. The other Coonhounds were not given individual recognition until much later. Its talents include the obvious ones of tracking and hunting, but then also watchdog and agility. Today it ranks 89th most popular purebred by recognized by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Black and Tan is a large dog weighing 55 to 75 pounds and standing 23 to 27 inches tall. It is a powerful looking dog with a short, dense coat that is water-repellant and comes in common colors of black and of course tan! The markings are similar to a Rottweiler's or Dobermans's, they appear on the sides of the muzzle, above its eyes, on its legs and its chest. It has a strong tail that tapers to the end, a deep chest, strong legs and its length is a little longer than it is tall.

It has a fairly long head that is well proportioned, a wide black nose, eyes that are round and colored hazel to dark brown. Its muzzle is long as are its ears which are set low and hang lower than its nose. They are also thin and wide and set far back.

The Inner Black and Tan Coonhound


The B & T is a very loyal, outgoing, energetic, intelligent and dedicated breed. It barks occasionally to frequently but also does howl so is best with either understanding neighbors or where neighbors are not too close by! It is not a good breed for new owners as it needs very firm handling and it can be quite stubborn and is hard to train. It is very alert though and it is a great watchdog, it will bark to alert you to any intruders and has some protective instincts so may act to defend you, the home and the family.


Indoors it is a calmer dog, and will enjoy chill time with you. It is fairly adaptable and has a zest for life. It is intelligent and friendly with socialization, but is wary around strangers and that socialization is important to make sure that does not mean it becomes aggressive around them. With its family though it is gentle, loving, playful and somewhat sensitive. It is slower to mature than some breeds so you will need to be prepared to have a puppy like dog around for longer – up to three years. This dog loves its family and would not be happy without lots of interaction and companionship.

Living with a Black and Tan Coonhound

What will training look like?

Black and Tans have been bred to be somewhat independent, to make some decisions for itself so it can be headstrong, independent and stubborn. This makes training hard and it really does need experienced trainers to deal with this more so than many breeds. Training needs to be done with patience, consistency, using positive techniques offering praise, encouragement and treats. It is really important that the rules once set are expected to be adhered to. Do not let it gets its own way no matter how determined it is. Keep the training sessions fun, short and engaging to keep its attention. Be warned once it has learned something, whether that is a good habit or a bad, it is hard to get it out of its head. Great in terms of training, but not so if it picks up a bad habit you are not happy about.

You should start early socialization when you get it home with you. The better it is able to interact with different people, animals, places and sounds, the better it learns the accepted responses and adjusts to them. A well socialized dog is a lot happier, more confident, and less likely to overreact in an aggressive manner to something. While obedience training may be a lot more of a gradual process, this breed does tend to house train easily and quickly.

How active is the Black and Tan Coonhound?

Black and Tans are very active breeds, it will need an absolute minimum of an hour a day, two 30 minute brisk walks. Therefore it needs owners who are active themselves and enjoy being so. Most will be happier with more than that though which is why this breed does best with land, does not do well in an apartment and needs at least a large yard. That yard should be well fenced in as this dog picks up scents and wants to follow them. For that reason too it should always be kept on a leash when out walking if not in a secure area unless you are out hunting with it.

Along with the walks it would appreciate opportunities of play time, either on land or at a dog park, where it can also run safely off leash. If you are not using it as a hunting dog it is a good idea to have it involved in some kind of activity that allows it to use its nose. Being intelligent as well as needing physical exercise it needs mental challenge too. This is a dog that would love to join you for a hike, jogging, cycling and so on. If it does not get the physical and mental stimulation it needs it will become restless, hard to control, loud, destructive and potentially aggressive too.

Caring for the Black and Tan Coonhound

Grooming needs

This is an easy dog to brush with its short coat so occasional brushing once or twice a week is sufficient. As it does shed an average amount there will be some loose hair around the home, a need to vacuum regularly and a quick brush more often can help reduce the hair. It is not a dog suited for home with people who have allergies. It is prone to drooling and slobbering so some dog bibs may be a good idea and they will need a wipe of their face at least daily. It does have a houndy or musty smell but bathing too often will damage its natural oils. Wipe it down with a damp cloth now and then when needed. When brushing use a rubber curry brush or a hound mitt. When it is bath time make sure you use only a dog shampoo and rinse it very well as shampoo residue left in its coat can cause skin problems.


As with all dogs but especially those with long hanging down ears, ear infection can be a problem so check them once a week and give them a clean at the same time. So not insert anything into them but give them a wipe with ear cleaner solution and a cotton ball, or a damp cloth. As some Black and Tans like to swim make sure you give their ears a wipe dry after a swim as another precaution against infections. If it does not wear down its nails naturally with its activity have them trimmed when they get too long. As dog nails have blood vessels and nerves in them there is a chance of hurting the dog and causing bleeding if you cut too far down. Have a groomer do it for you or learn how. You also need to take care of its teeth, a brush at least three times a week is good but daily is better!

Feeding Time

This breed needs about 2½ to 5 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day and that should be divided into at least two meals to avoid problems with bloat. How much exactly it needs will vary depending on its size, health, metabolism, activity and age. Be warned it does love its food, it will gulp down treats you give it, try to get table scraps, counter surf and eat whatever is left within reach of it! Make sure it cannot get to the garbage, that food is in cupboards up high not low. If you leave something to cool, it will try for it.

How is the Black and Tan Coonhound with children and other animals?

The Black and Tan Coonhound is good with children with socialization and is especially caring, playful and loving to children it has been raised with. It is best with children who are not toddler aged as it can be rambunctious and rowdy up to 3 years old and that can lead to accidental knock downs. Make sure you teach the children how to touch and approach a dog kindly and safely. It can get along with other pets especially when raised with them, and with proper socialization. But strange animals like cats, squirrels and wild rabbits for example are likely to be viewed as prey. It gets along well too with other dogs being a pack dog itself.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This dog has a life span of 10 to 12 years and is fairly healthy. There are some issues though such as joint dysplasia, eye problems, hemophilia B, obesity, ear infections, Coonhound paralysis, cancer and bloat.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of over 35 years that look at dog attacks causing bodily harm in Canada and the US, the Black and Tan is not mentioned specifically. It is not a dog to be overly concerned about in terms of attacking people or even other dogs. However proper care, exercise, socialization and training can help ensure there is less chance your dog has a bad day. The facts are no matter what size dog you have or what breed, any dog could have a bad day and react in an unusual manner to something.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Black and Tan Coonhound puppy is going to cost about $400 from a decent breeder of pet quality B and Ts. If you want an AKC registered dog, are looking for a show dog or one to put into field trials you are going to pay more. Good breeders of those kinds of dogs will be charging prices likely starting from $2000 and going up. Shelters and rescues are always a cheaper option, around $50 to $200 but it is more likely to be an adolescent or adult rather than a new puppy. Places to not buy from are backyard breeders who display little knowledge or skill, puppy mills and pet stores where animals are mistreated.


When you have your Black and Tan you will need some items for it like a crate, bowls, leash and collar. These will cost around $180. For some medical needs that need to be taken care of when you have it like a physical exam, blood tests, deworming, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and vaccinations there is going to be a cost of about $290.

Annual costs will include more obvious things like food and basic medical care, as well as less obvious things like basic training and toys. Food includes a good quality dry dog food and dog treats and that can be around $270 a year. For basic health care like shots, check ups and tick and flea prevention, along with pet insurance costs can be around $485 a year. Other miscellaneous costs for things like basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items you might need throughout the year come to about $235. This means there is an annual average cost for owning a Black and Tan Coonhound of $990.


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The Black and Tan is a very friendly, social, loyal companion. More common in the south of the US it is most commonly kept and used still today as a hunting dog but is also a great companion and family dog as long as it gets enough exercise and stimulation. It has a lot of stamina and endurance when it is out but is happy to snooze and relax on the sofa with you when indoors. You do need to be prepared for how vocal this breed is. As well as barking it also howls and sings, you will need to train it to stop on command but it is still best in homes with neighbors who are not too close so there are not issues there. It also needs a very strong leader.

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