The Coonhound Black and Tan-is one of
the few breeds that claim the title of All-American. Although the exact
origins are unknown it is probably that many of the European hunting
hounds went into the basic make-up of the early Coonhounds, including
Bloodhounds and Foxhounds of the time, and possibly the Kerry Beagle
and the French Bleu Gascogne hounds. At any rate the evolution and
development of the Coonhound Black and Tan took place in America, By
the turn of the century the breed was here to stay.
This is a hunting dog, Years, upon
years of selective breeding have gone into the dog's background and
though he does not need to hunt to be happy, most all possess strong
hunting instincts. He is first and fundamentally a working dog, a trail
and tree hound, capable of withstanding the rigors of winter and the
heat of summer and the difficult terrain over which he is called to
work. Used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon, the Black and
Tan runs his game by scent. The characteristics and courage of the
Coonhound also make him proficient on the hunt of deer, bear, mountain
lion and other big game. The general impression is that of power,
agility and alertness. He immediately impresses one with his ability to
cover ground with powerful rhythmic strides.
The average size of a male coonhound
is 25 to 27 inches, when measured at the shoulders. The female is 23 to
25 inches tall. Considering their job as a hunting dog, the individual
should exhibit moderate bone and
good muscle tone. Males are heavier than the females. The average
weight of this dog is 65 to 100 pounds.
The head is cleanly modeled. From the
back of the scull to the nose the head measures from 9 to 10 inches in
males and 8 to 9 inches in females. Their expression is alert, friendly
and eager. The skin is devoid of folds.
Nostrils are well open and always black. The flews are well developed
with typical hound appearance. The eye colour ranges from hazel to dark
brown. Ears are low set at eye level or even lower and well back. They
hang in graceful folds, giving the dog a majestic appearance. In
length, they extend naturally well beyond the tip of the nose.
The Black and Tan's coat is short but
dense to withstand any rough goings on in their environment. As the name implies, the colour is coal black
with rich tan markings above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle,
feet, chest, legs and breeching and with
black pencil markings on its toes.
They are a sturdy dog, not prone to average
canine disorders, some degree of hip displasia has been recorded. Many
breeders screen breeding stock by means of x-ray and have the hips
graded by either OFA or OVC.
Ear problems, as with any pendulous type
ear, are a consideration, particularly with a hunting hound. Having the
dog's ears checked weekly and with the cleaning of the ear, there is
little need to worry. As with other hounds, there is a tendency toward
a "houndy" odour, but regular bathing eliminates this problem.. A few
Black and Tans will occasionally slobber, but never to the extremes of
the heavy flewed hounds.
The Black and Tan Coonhound is the
quintessential even tempered dog, they are easy going, layed back, and
very friendly. As a working scent hound, traditional hunting was
carried out large packs making it imperative that all the dogs got
along. Today that has shaped the coonhound into a dog that is very
comfortable with having other dogs around, although they are just as
happy viewing their human family as their pack members.
The Black and Tan was traditionally rasied
to hunt by scent. This required great stamina and determination. Unlike
the sight hound members of the group that hunt what they can see and
more prone to short fast sprints, the coonhound can track a scent for
hours or even days. Once a coonhound is on a scent, very little much
will distract them from it, making it imparetive, that left unattended,
they are in a well fenced area. The great stamina also makes them
fantastic jogging partners, pretty much guarenteeing you will run out
of gas before they do. Possessing such stamina however does not make
them as "high strung" as many other breeds, they will also be quite
content with lazing on the porch or couch as long as they do get some
form of a daily walk.
As House dogs, the B&T's tend to be very
laid-back, and they enjoy their creature comforts. If you do not want
your dog on the couch, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Black and
Tans are good travelers and enjoy car rides. The B&T may not be as
frivolous in his play as some of the other breeds, but have a sense of
humour. They tend to chase and tree small animals and neighbours may
object to their deep booming voice. A securely fenced yard or area is
essential for the safety of the Black and Tan.
Black and Tan is a happy-go-lucky dog, adapting fairly easily to most
situations. They are very people orientated and enjoy being with
humans. They are very good with children and are seldom quarrelsome
with other animals. They are playful yet gentle despite their size. The
breed is slow to mature and requires patience and a firm loving hand.
Independent by nature, obedience from the Black and Tan is not always
exact. It is rather the compliance from a loving friend.
The Black and Tan gives true definition to
the term "Man's best friend". He is faithful, non-judgmental, and true
to his word. If only the rest of humanity could learn an ounce of
compassion that the Black and Tan Coonhound possess, the World would be
a happier place to dwell..