Complete Guide To The Black and Tan Coonhound: Personality, Exercise, Feeding and More

Black and Tan Coonhounds are canine royalty in the American South where they were born and bred. A perennial favorite among hunters, their specialty is tracking raccoons, but they’re equally satisfied chasing balls and children.

Having grown up and gone to veterinary school in the South, I have seen quite a few of this breed over my career. They’re quite unique dogs and it’s surprising to me that they’re not more popular in other areas of the country.

How Big Do Black and Tan Coonhounds Get?

Male25″ – 27″ at the shoulder80-110 lbs
Female23″ – 25″ at the shoulder65-90 lbs

What Do Black and Tan Coonhounds Look Like?

The Black and Tan Coonhound tips the scales at 65-110 pounds — males are hardier than females. Long and lean but well-developed with a deep chest, straight back and strong tapered tail, they’re confident on the trail and off. Long velvety ears frame a haughty muzzle and brown eyes.

Coat color is exclusively black and tan — white markings are a serious fault. Hair is short but dense to withstand the rigors of the field. Black and Tan Coonhounds are distinctive for their color and size but resemble their cousin, the American Foxhound.

What Is The Personality Of A Black and Tan Coonhound?

Sweet and soulful, Black and Tan Coonhounds are intelligent and loyal family dogs. Affectionate but less needy than other breeds, they’re passionate about their work. Generally friendly, they can be aloof with strangers, but they’re not aggressive — they’re too laid back, some would claim lazy, to be effective guard dogs.

Exceptionally gentle with children and sociable with other dogs, Black and Tan Coonhounds hunt independently, so they can be strong-willed and need early training. And they howl instinctively — they can’t help it. Apartment life isn’t for them.

How Much Exercise Does A Black and Tan Coonhound Need?

Black and Tan Coonhounds need vigorous exercise, but not for long periods. Nocturnal hunters, they’re tireless in the field but can sleep all day after a good night’s outing.

Non-sporting dogs need similar activity. They need a good run once a day whether it’s on a trail or in the backyard. Scenthounds, they enjoy any activity that utilizes their talented nose, like and Hide-and-Go-Seek for a special treat.

An ideal way to keep a Black and Tan sharp and in shape is to participate in AKC field events for raccoon hounds from field trials to the popular Nite Hunt.

How Much Grooming Do Black and Tan Coonhounds Need?

Grooming a Black and Tan Coonhound is a breeze. Seasonal shedders, weekly brushing with a hound glove or medium-bristled brush removes dirt and dead hair while distributing skin oils for a lustrous shine — a well-groomed Coonhound gleams. Like most hound dogs, they’re prone to doggy odor, especially if they get damp, so they need a bath every few months.

Regular ear care, however, is a must. Their long, heavy ears obstruct the canals, creating the dark, moist warm conditions that yeast and bacteria thrive in. To ward off infections, examine them weekly for wax buildup, redness and odor, cleaning them as needed with an alcohol-free, pH-balanced solution.

Black and Tan Coonhounds have arched toes that make them susceptible to foot pain if their toenails get too long. Exercise on abrasive surfaces wears them down naturally, but dogs that run in the grass and not on pavement lose that advantage. A good rule is — if they click, clip.

What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For Black and Tan Coonhounds?

Personally I believe that most foods are fine for most dogs. Some dogs may not do well on some foods. However, as a rule I don’t blanket-prohibit any dietary ingredient from any breed at this time.

As a veterinarian, I tend to lean towards dog foods from the larger, more established dog food companies. They tend to have less recalls and issues with production than the smaller boutique companies. More times than not, if a patient is having GI upset due to food, it’s from one of these newer, “boutique” companies.

Best Puppy Food For Black and Tan Coonhounds:

Best Adult Food For Black and Tan Coonhounds :

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Do Black and Tan Coonhound Live?

10-12 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Do Black and Tan Coonhounds Have?

All Coonhounds are fairly healthy but there are a few health concerns that you’ll need to watch out for including:

  • Orthopedic issues such as arthritis as they get older secondary to issues such as hip dysplasia or ACL tears
  • Obesity (they get lazy when they get older)

They can still have all the other possible issues any dog can get – allergies, urinary tract infections, cancer, etc. However, as a breed I consider the Black and Tan Coonhound to be of excellent quality!

Where Can I Learn More About Black and Tan Coonhounds?

American Black and Tan Coonhound Club (check out their Facebook page as well)

American Black And Tan Coonhound Association

AKC Breed Profile

Where Can I Find A Black and Tan Coonhound?

Start with the breeder listings from the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club. There are breeders all over the country. Be sure to first read the national club’s

Looking for an Adult Rescue? Start with Coonhound Rescue!

Interesting Facts About the Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tans were the first Coonhound recognized by the AKC. Here’s what you need to know about this versatile American breed.

Did you know?

• Their Nose, Knows

Dogs like the Greyhound are sighthounds — they use their keen eyesight and superb peripheral vision to track prey from long distances. Black and Tan Coonhounds rely exclusively on their powerful noses to hunt, a valuable trait among dogs that tree their prey because they don’t lose track of their quarry when it leaves the ground. Like the Bloodhound, they can pick up faint trails over a week after they’ve gone cold.

They’re Treeing Hounds

Some hunting dogs point to game, others retrieve it, but Coonhounds send raccoons, their primary quarry, scrambling up trees, howling until their human partners arrive. Brave, they’ll stand their ground against larger animals, from cougars to bears, but they rarely take them on alone.

• They Were Developed in the Southern United States

Early American settlers relied on hunting to eat. Raccoons were plentiful, so colonists focused on developing an effective small game hunter by crossing a variety of hounds with different talents. Progenitors include the Bloodhound, The Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound and the American Foxhound.

Chasing Is in Their Blood

Coonhounds were born to chase. In public areas, keep them on a sturdy leash for safety. While they know the difference between raccoons and children, they can be aggressive with small animals from cats to squirrels. Early socialization and training help nip that behavior in the bud.