Complete Guide To The Redbone Coonhound: Health, Personality, Feeding and More

The Redbone Coonhound is the quintessential American family dog. While their role as hunters is largely obsolete, their contributions to the expansion era will never be forgotten.

I get to see this wonderful breed of dog occasionally in my veterinary practice. Their owners are devoted and love the personality and sweet face of their Coonhound. Let’s dig further.

How Big Does A Redbone Coonhound Get?

Male22″ – 27″ at the shoulder55-70 lbs
Female21″ – 26″ at the shoulder45-60 lbs

What Do Redbone Coonhounds Look Like?

Redbone Coonhounds are medium-to-large dogs. Their long legs, chiseled physique and long curved tail paint a balanced picture. Their shoulder-length ears framing a square muzzle and soft, yearning brown eyes.

The “red” in Redbone Coonhound refers to their blazing russet coat. A black muzzle and spots of white on the toes and brisket are the only permissible variations. Redbone Coonhounds are easily identifiable by their vibrant coat, but they’re similar in conformation to the Black and Tan Coonhound, another American classic.

What Is The Personality Of A Redbone Coonhound?

Easygoing and loyal, the Redbone Coonhound is a perfect fit for an active family. In the field, they’re tireless, focused on their quarry. At home, they play hard but enjoy down time — there’s nothing they like more than a long nap on a lazy afternoon.

Born for the outdoor life, they’ll tolerate apartment living with enough time outside. But their sweet voices carry, so training is a must to control nuisance barking. A country or suburban setting is a preferable environment.

How Much Exercise Does A A Redbone Coonhound Need?

Redbone Coonhounds need plenty of exercise — a half-hour a day or more. Running and hiking are satisfying activities, so if you need a partner on the trail, you’ve found one. They’re talented trackers and will explore interesting places as long as you’ll let them — keep them on a leash if an area isn’t secure.

Owners that enjoy canine athletics can enroll Redbone Coonhounds in agility and field trial. The AKC offers Nite Hunts, a popular nocturnal tracking event. Highly trainable and eager to please, they’re top competitors.

How Much Grooming Does A A Redbone Coonhound Need?

Few dogs require less grooming than the Redbone Coonhound. Their velvet-smooth coats need minimal maintenance.

Weekly brushing with a shedding tool or hound glove curbs their moderate shedding and helps distribute the skin oils that keep their coats shiny. A bath every few months tames doggy odor.

Active, Redbone Coonhounds spend a lot of time on their feet, so monthly nail trims are beneficial. Nip off the tips with a clipper or use a grinding tool — sanding wheels offer a smooth finish.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Redbone Coonhound?

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. Redbone Coonhounds don’t require any special diet unless they have health issues that demand a specific diet.

Best Puppy Food For Redbone Coonhounds:

Best Adult Food For Redbone 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 Does A Redbone Coonhound Live?

12-15 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can Redbone Coonhounds Have?

Coonhounds are large dogs that suffer from many of the health problems you’d expect from a dog this size. Based on information from the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), there’s a decent risk of hip dysplasia in the Redbone Coonhound.

I’d also be on the watch for other orthopedic issues such as arthritis in the elbows, back, hips, and knees as this dog gets older. For that reason, keeping a Coonhound at an optimal weight (and even a little skinny) as they age will greatly help reduce the wear and tear on the joints.

Joint supplements containing substances such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin can also be considered when your dog is 3 or 4 years old. The best joint supplements should be thought of as prevention and not necessarily treatment. Starting early keeps the joints as healthy as they can be for longer than if you did nothing.

My favorite joint supplements include:

Another great option to help your dog with their joints is the J/D food from Hill’s. Although it is a bit expensive, the amount of joint supplements you are giving your dog can be reduced or eliminated by just feeding this diet. For my clients, it has seemed to work best earlier in life before the joint issues got too severe.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Redbone Coonhound?

National Redbone Coonhound Association

National Redbone Coonhound Club

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find A Redbone Coonhound?

AKC Puppy Marketplace

Looking for a Rescue? Start with the Facebook Group Coonhound Rescue Network.

Interesting Facts About the Redbone Coonhound

Redbone Coonhounds are rare outside of North America, but they have a rich, global heritage.

Did you know?

• They’re a Melting Pot

The Redbone Coonhound is perceived as uniquely American, but its lineage can be traced back to Scottish foxhounds brought to the US by immigrants in the early 1800s. Breeders selectively bred them with Irish foxhounds and Bloodhounds of French origin to improve their tracking ability, producing what we know today as the Redbone Coonhound.

• They Were Purposefully Bred

Redbone Coonhounds were bred to tree raccoons and other game in rough terrain. Breeders were careful to introduce traits that made them more versatile hunting dogs. Redbone Coonhounds are among the few hound dogs with webbed feet, improving their ability to swim and traverse swampy ground.

We Couldn’t Have Done It Without Them

The American expansion sent settlers both south and west in record numbers. The going was tough and food was scarce. The hound dogs they used to hunt game kept them fed with a steady supply of meat, and since raccoons were plentiful, easy prey, Redbone Coonhounds were among the most successful.

• Why Redbone?

Unlike other hounds named for their colors or country of origin, Redbone Coonhounds were named after Tennessee breeder, Peter Redbone. George Birdsong, a Georgia contemporary and Dr. Thomas Henry further contributed to the refinement of the breed. Nearly all Redbone Coonhound pedigrees trace back to Birdsong’s Georgia stock.

Where the Red Fern Grows

Redbone Coonhounds were immortalized in the beloved children’s tale, Where the Red Fern Grows. A story of love and loss, the book chronicles author Wilson Rawl’s coming of age and the lessons learned from his dog. It was made into a hit film in 1974 starring James Whitmore and Beverly Garland.