American English Coonhound
About American English Coonhound
A true Southern U.S. dog, the American English Coonhound loves to hunt. Loud-voiced and hard-working, the American English Coonhound is one of six official Coonhound breeds. Renowned for its speed, endurance, intelligence, and athleticism, this dog loves to be on the move. Good with children and friendly with strangers, you’ll find this dog to be fairly easy to train, making it a great family pet for novice owners. It will alert you (loudly) of strangers entering your property, but will make fast friends with anyone who gives it attention. This makes the American Coonhound a good watchdog, but not the best guard dog.
Alert, confident and friendly to people and dogs, the American English Coonhound fits in well with a variety of households. Active owners will find that it makes a wonderful companion, especially if you like to spend time outdoors with a high-energy pet. Although not suited to apartment living, this breed loves to be with its people and will thrive in a loving household. If this is the first time you’ve heard of the American English Coonhound, read on – this dog may just be the perfect fit for your family.
A true Southern U.S. dog, the American English Coonhound loves to hunt.
The American English Coonhound was first brought to the United States by European settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries. First called “Virginia Hounds (and imported to the U.S. by Robert Brooke, Thomas Walker and George Washington), the American Coonhound was bred to adapt to a more rigorous terrain. These dogs were used to hunt raccoons and the American Red Fox. The American Coonhound was also used to hunt opossums, cougars, deer, boars, bobcats and bears.
In 1905 the English Coonhound was first registered by UKC under the name of English Fox & Coonhound.
Like most other coonhounds, the American English Coonhound can trace its ancestry from Foxhounds. The Virginia Hounds brought over to the U.S. were crossed with American Foxhounds. This was in an effort to increase the breed’s endurance and versatility. Since they were hunting dogs that would trap animals in trees, the American English Coonhound was also crossed with Bloodhounds, which have the best noses in the canine world. It is interesting to note that both the Treeing Walker and Bluetick Hounds were also called American English Coonhounds. That all changed in 1945, when it was decided that the two would be considered separate breeds.
Food / Diet
The food you give to your American English Coonhound will be much the same as other dog breeds. But because this is an active breed, be sure to feed your dog enough to keep up its energy level.
Alert, confident and friendly to people and dogs, the American English Coonhound fits in well with a variety of households.
To train your American English Coonhound, you’ll need to possess a kind but firm hand. As the leader of the pack, you should always remain maintain calm, confident, and assert consistent authority when training. The American English Coonhound is easily distracted and likes to learn at its own pace, you may find that it will take more time, repetition and patience. Some American English Coonhounds have a one-track mind – they’ll only be interested in hunting and treeing its prey. With these types of dogs, use extra motivation in order to instill basic obedience skills. If you ignore your American English Coonhound’s training, expect him to take on dominant or shyness traits.
A medium-to-large-sized breed, American English Coonhound males stand between 24 and 26 inches tall and females range from 23 to 25 inches in height. The dog’s weight should be proportional to its height, typically weighing somewhere between 40 and 75 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
It’s no surprise that these hunting dogs love to explore and track. Your American English Coonhound will follow every interesting scent and sound. Because they love to roam, this breed should be kept on a leash when it is not in an enclosed area. Even if you plan to keep your dog in a fenced-in area, the American English Coonhound will try to escape – it is even known to open gates. And even though this is this is an active breed, the dog also loves to nest. A soft couch or a pile of clothes soon becomes an American English Coonhound’s nest.
Since it’s a Coonhound, this breed is quite loud. In fact, the American English Coonhound’s bark is more of a hound dog howl and it is ear-piercing. Don’t expect just one bark – this breed is known for a long series of howls that seem to go on and on. They will let out a howl if they are on the trail of prey and if a stranger comes to the door. If you live in an urban environment or have close neighbors, you may get a few noise complaints. The American English likes to chew anything it can, so don’t leave anything lying around that you’d like to see remain intact. This breed can be afraid of loud noises, such as fireworks, slamming doors and thunder. The American English Coonhound is curious and will sniff and eat items left out on the counter.
The American English Coonhound is loving, loyal and eager to please. This breed does well around children of all ages, as long as they are introduced from an early age. Because of its pack history, this breed is sociable. Due to its loud howl, the American English Coonhound makes a wonderful watchdog, but because it is so friendly, don’t expect it to perform well as a guard dog. When directly challenged, this breed may be defensive. It will protect its family when threatened, but usually won’t attack without provocation.
Common Health Problems
Due to its size, the American English Coonhound’s most common health issue is hip dysplasia. Other health problems that may occur include ear infections, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and polyradiculoneuritis.
A relatively healthy breed, the American English Coonhound has an average lifespan of 11 to 12 years.
No surprise here – the American English Coonhound has lots of energy to burn. This is high-energy breed needs plenty of daily exercise. If you’re an active owner, make your American English Coonhound a jogging or biking partner. As a family, you can enjoy playing games such as fetch and hide-and-seek with your dog, along with long brisk walks. Another idea to consider is to get active in competitive outdoor canine sports, including field trials, tracking, agility and obedience. There are organizations that put on events such as night hunts, water races, field trials and benched conformation shows. Hunters will find faithful companions in the American English Coonhound – this dog is an energetic hunting and will happily carry out all the hunting duties it was bred for.
Of course, if your American English Coonhound doesn’t get enough exercise, it can become bored, depressed, frustrated, anxious or hyperactive. On top of all of that, these dogs can become destructive. To ensure that the American English Coonhound is happy, you’ll need to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. If you don’t have enough time to exercise and socialize this dog, you should consider a different breed. The American English Coonhound needs room to run around in, so they do not do well in apartments, condominiums or houses without fenced yards. The American English Coonhound needs a fenced-in yard, where there is room to run.
Renowned for its speed, endurance, intelligence, and athleticism, this dog loves to be on the move.
The American Kennel Association says this about the breed: “Renowned for his speed and endurance, the American English Coonhound has the strength, grace and attitude of a well-conditioned athlete. Capable of hunting fox and raccoon all night long, he has an effortless trot that shows off this endurance.” The AKC first recognized this breed in 2011.
Designed to give them protection against weather and the brush, the American English Coonhound has a rough, hard, short-to-medium coat. In terms of color, there are a number of combinations – red-and-white ticked, blue-and-white ticked, tri-colored with ticking, red-and-white patched, black-and-white patched and lemon and white. You won’t find any solid-color American English Coonhounds, and no single color predominates. The American Kennel Club faults excessive red or black coloring, as well as tri-coloring without ticking and solid-coloring with less than 10% ticking. Brindle-marked American English Coonhounds can’t compete in conformation shows.
Socialization and training should start at an early age for American English Coonhounds, and should continue to be an important factor for the rest of its life.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
More by Amy Tokic