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Bluetick Coonhound - Hardy Hunting Hound

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The Bluetick Coonhound is a medium to large purebred from the southern states of the US and is one of several Coonhounds that includes the Black and Tan, the Redbone, the Treeing Walker and the Plott. Bred to hunt racoons but it can also hunt both small and large game it is a very hardy dog that needs plenty of physical exercise if not regularly being used on hunts. Its cold nose makes it a popular hunting companion as it means it can pick up even old trails. While it is primarily a hunting dog it can make a great pet and family dog with the right owners.

The Bluetick Coonhound at A Glance
Name Bluetick Coonhound
Other names None
Nicknames Bluetick
Origin United States
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 45 to 80 pounds
Average height 21 to 27 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Medium, dense
Hypoallergenic No
Color Blue, white, black, tan, red ticking
Popularity Not very popular – ranked 121st by the AKC
Intelligence Quite intelligent – about average
Tolerance to heat Good – can handle warmth and moderate heat but nothing too hot
Tolerance to cold Good – as above but nothing too extreme
Shedding Moderate – some hair will be around the home and regular clean up will be needed
Drooling Low – not prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Average – can gain weight if over fed and under exercised but not especially prone
Grooming/brushing Low maintenance – brush once or twice a week
Barking Frequent – barks a lot and howls too training will be needed to control it
Exercise needs Very active – needs a lot of physical as well as mental challenge
Trainability Hard – experience will be needed
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – really needs an experienced owner
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Good but socialization is needed
Good with other pets Moderate to good but socialization is needed as it has a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good but socialization is needed
Good apartment dog Moderate – needs a larger home with land or at least a yard
Handles alone time well Moderate – not good being alone, very sensitive
Health issues Quite a healthy breed but some issues include hip dysplasia, eye problems and Krabbes disease
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic medical care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for miscellaneous items, toys, basic training and license
Average annual expenses $1000 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $550
Rescue organizations Several including Gentle Jake's Coonhound Rescue and Carolina Coonhound Rescue
Biting Statistics None Reported
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The Bluetick Coonhound's Beginnings

The Bluetick Coonhound is thought to have originated in US in the state of Tennessee, (where today it is the state dog)in colonial times. It was developed using breeds such as the American Foxhound, Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound, French hound, English Coonhound and Cur. As its name indicates it was bred to hunt racoons and to have a superior nose good enough to have a cold nose in fact. While it may be slower that some other coonhounds when hunting it was and still is capable of picking up old trails and could stay completely focused. It was also used to hunt other small game and large game too like deer, bear and the like.

The Bluetick Coonhound was first registered with the United Kennel Club under the name English Foxhound and Coonhound as were the Treeing Walker, and the English Coonhound. But they were eventually separated into different breeds in 1946. Its new name comes from it being a coonhound and how the ticking of its white and black coat leads to the blue appearance. It was not until 2009 that they were recognized by the American Kennel Club, meaning they were allowed to compete in AKC coonhound competitions.

New Lease on Life

There is now today a subgroup of Bluetick Coonhounds called The American Blue Gascon. It is larger and has a look that is more hound like. Some describe them as being throwbacks to how the Bluetick Coonhound likely appeared when it was first bred.

There have been several famous Bluetick Coonhounds over the years. The University of Tennesse's mascot is Smokey the Bluetick. In the 1980s show Airwolfe there was a Bluetick called Tet. Old Blue was a Bluetick Coonhound in the 1960 film Wild River. Huckleberry Hound is a Bluetick Coonhound. The sequel to Old Yeller called Savage Sam starred a Bluetick. The AKC ranks the Bluetick Coonhound as 121st most popular registered purebred.

The Dog You See Today

The Bluetick Coonhound is a medium to large sized dog weighing 45 to 80 pounds and stands 21 to 27 inches tall. It is muscular dog but not bulky and it holds its tail high and over its back which then tapers to the point. Its coat is dense, coarse, short and smooth and common colors are black and white which combine together as ticking to give the blue appearance. Some have tan markings and red ticking on the lower part of the legs and its feet. It has long and powerful legs and in most cases its dewclaws are removed. The feet are compact and the toes arched. The Gascon Blues are larger than the Blueticks.

It has a wide domed skull, it holds its head up well and its muzzle is broad, deep and long. It has wide set eyes that are round and dark brown. Its ears and head is usually mostly black and those ears are low set, hang down and thin.

The Inner Bluetick Coonhound

Temperament

The Bluetick is an intelligent, sensitive and friendly dog but its independent nature means it is not best for first time owners. Up to the age of around 2 it is very exuberant and bouncy so be prepared for things to get knocked over and for it to be jumping at people in greeting, which will need training out of it. It is a good watchdog and will bark to alert you of an intruder but it is also a frequent barker and it howls too. Its bark id called a bawl where it can be long and draw out. Close neighbors are not the best idea!

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A well trained and socialized Bluetick is dedicated to its family, affectionate, gentle, attentive, loyal, playful but reserved around strangers, so socialization is important to make sure that does not turn to suspicion and aggression. It was bred to be a hunting dog so still needs lots of exercise and an active home as well as other jobs or activities to keep it busy. Keep in mind that there will be some slobber or drool with this breed.

Living with a Bluetick Coonhound

What will training look like?

Training coonhounds of any kind takes experience as they are hard to train. It may be intelligent but it is also free thinking, stubborn and manipulative so it is not going to docilely do what you want it to do, it will question you in its own way and so needs very firm handling. Out hunting it is used to solving its own problems and working out how to out-think its prey. It will use that on you too. Results with a Bluetick are going to be very gradual, you should set clear rules and expectations and stick to them consistently. With patience and persistence you will get results. It is also important to remember being very sensitive it is not going to respond to you constantly scolding it or physically correcting it. Use positive techniques. Praise and encourage it, offer treats to motivate it and you will see better results. Because of its often relentless barking and howling voice training can be difficult for those not experienced with such breeds. Also make sure that as soon as you get it you also start its socialization. Key to dogs who can deal with different people, places, children and animals is good socialization started early.

How active is the Bluetick Coonhound?

This is a very active breed and it is vital it is placed with active owners if it is not being used as a hunting dog otherwise there will be problems straight away. Owners who already love to be out hiking, walking, jogging, and doing other active things can train this breed to join them, which it will love. It will need at least an hour a day of walks but in themselves walks are not enough. In the day it will also need other physical opportunities, a couple of 20 minute play times on land or in a large yard, for example. It will also need mental challenges, training can be a part of that, puzzle toys, trials for example. They will become bored, loud, destructive, restless and possibly even snappy if they do not get both needs taken care of. This is not a dog suited to apartment living as it needs land, and if it is just a large yard it needs to be well fenced in, when this dog catches a scent it will try to go after it. For the same reason make sure it is leashed when taking it for a walk.

Caring for the Bluetick Coonhound

Grooming needs

In terms of grooming and maintenance the coat is easy to care for but does shed a moderate amount so be prepared for hair around the home, brushing once or twice a week at least and some vacuuming to do. It can have a houndy or musty scent to it, but that does not mean you should be bathing it a lot. When you give a dog bath, always using a dog shampoo, if done too often it can strip its natural oils from its skin, and that can lead to skin problems. Just bathe when needed.

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You can also have some regular care to perform, such as checking its ears for infection signs once a week. These signs include redness, sensitivity, swelling, discharge and a bad odor. Give the ears a clean once a week and use an ear cleanser with a cotton ball, or a damp cloth. Its teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week, if not daily. Then its nails need to be kept short too so it does not scratch up you and the home. If it is very active it may wear down long nails otherwise you need to trim them occasionally. There are proper dog nail clippers to be used and you should make sure you have done some homework on it. They have blood vessels and nerves in the lower part of them and if you cut into that it will hurt them and cause bleeding. Have the vet show you, or if you prefer not to do this have a groomer do it for you.

Feeding Time

Three to four cups of a good quality dry dog food should be enough for it on a daily basis, which should be split into at least two meals for it. How much it needs exactly can depend on a number of factors such as metabolism, level of activity, size, health and age. It does like its food, so watch how many treats you give it, try not to let it trick you into feeding it table scraps and remember it has a great nose, it can get into the garbage or unattended food very quickly.

How is the Bluetick Coonhound with children and other animals?

The Bluetick is a good dog around children, especially when it has been socialized and if raised with them. It will play with them, together they can burn off all that energy and get up to some antics together and it is also affectionate towards them. In general it is better with older children rather than toddlers as it can knock them over with its energy accidentally, so supervising the younger kids should be done if they are around. When it comes to small pets and other animals it is not as friendly, it is after all a hunting dog, these animals are prey to it. When raised with other pets and well socialized it learn to accept them and leave them be, but outside it will go after them. In general it gets on well with other dogs though some Blueticks are more dominant than others so there may be some pushing at each other as they establish the pecking order.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This dog should live for between 10 to 12 years. It is mostly a healthy breed but there are some issues to watch out for. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems, bloat, ear infections and Krabbes disease.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dogs attacking people over the last 35 years in Canada and the US and causing bodily harm there are no reports that mention the Bluetick Coonhound. Key to this dogs behavior is proper training and socialization, and getting enough mental and physical stimulation. It is far less likely to have an off day or to react in an aggressive manner. But that does not mean this dog would never attack someone, all dogs have that potential in fact regardless of breed or size. Remember this breed is naturally wary around strangers and certain situations with a lack of proper care could result in it overreacting to a situation.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Bluetick Coonhound puppy will cost about $550 from a decent breeder of pet quality coonhounds. If you are looking to enter it in shows or trials and you want something from a top breeder you can expect to pay around two thousand dollars, possibly even more. It is important to buy from good breeders so that you can trust in the history you get on it and its parents nature and health. Avoid pet stores, puppy mills, and back yard breeders. For people looking to give a dog a second chance at a forever home there is also the option of checking out local rescues and shelters. The cost is less $50 to $200 and their medical needs are often dealt with. Most though tend to be adolescents or adults.

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Medical tests and procedures need to be taken care once you have the puppy home. Take it to a vet where it can be blood tested, vaccinated, dewormed, given a physical exam, spayed or neutered and micro chipped. This will cost about $290. items you will want to have ready for your dog include a crate, collar and leash, bowls and so on. These will cost about $180.

Yearly ongoing costs are another aspect of being a pet owner that you need to be ready for. Your dog will need feeding for example and how much that will cost depends on the kind of food you intend to use. We would strongly recommend that if you are using a dry dog food you use one that is of good quality as they are far better for your dog and not just a bunch of fillers. That along with dog treats are going to cost $270 a year or more. Then there are medical needs, pet insurance for example and then at least basic care like tick and flea prevention, check ups and shots. This is another annual cost of around $485. Other miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items are another yearly cost of $485. This gives a yearly cost that will start at around $1000.

Names

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Male and FemaleBluetick Coonhound Names

The Bluetick Coonhound is an athletic and energetic dog and if you are not getting it to hunt with, it can make a great family dog as long as it is kept very active and mentally challenged. With the right care it is laid back, friendly and good natured though expect it to be more rowdy up to 2 years old. It is loyal and affectionate but can also be very stubborn so expect some challenge to your dominance and do not let it get away with it. It has a very good nose, it will try to follow scents and will ignore commands to stop when it catches one it likes.

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