AKC Hound Group
Like all six of the Coonhound breeds, the American English Coonhound is a descendant of the English Foxhound, which was brought to the colonies from England in the seventeenth century. Once in America, these dogs became known as Virginia Hounds. Early colonists bred the dog to adapt to the rough terrain in the southeastern United States, as well as to be better at tracking prey that climbed trees. The resulting hounds hunted fox by day and raccoons by night (as well as opossums, cougars, deer, boars, bobcats, and bears). The American English Coonhound today is a fast, hot-trailing, loud-voiced, hard-working hound who loves nothing more than to hunt, both in the field and in competition. They can be trained to hunt just one species (raccoons, for example) or several (raccoons, opossums, and, say, boar). They are renowned for their speed, endurance, intelligence, and overall athleticism.
The head is broad, the eyes are dark brown and far apart, and the ears hang low and are soft to the touch. The expression should be kind and classically “houndy.” The muzzle is square, and the stop should form a right angle. The nose is black. The neck is muscular and rises with a slight taper. The withers should be slightly higher than hips. The chest should be more deep than wide (think lots of room for the lungs), and the ribs should be well-sprung and taper gradually backwards. The underline and tuck-up should be tight and smooth, and the back should be strong. The loins are well muscled, and the tail should be set high and gaily and have a slight brush. Shoulders are clean, with a gradual slope from the withers down to the point of the shoulder. The forelegs are straight and well-boned. The hind legs are also straight, but with slightly bent hocks. The feet are round, catlike, and strongly arched over the toes. The gait is effortless, giving the impression of endurance. The American English Coonhound’s coat consists of medium-length, hard, protective hair. The colors can be red and white ticked, blue and white ticked, tricolored with ticking, red and white, or white and black.
- Height: 24 to 27 in. (male); 23 to 25 in. (female)
- Size: Large
- Weight: 50 to 75 lbs.
- Availability: Difficult to find
- Talents: Hunting, jogging, tracking, watchdog, obedience, tricks
Generally healthy, although some dogs get hip dysplasia.
American English Coonhounds are pleasant, alert, and sociable, both with humans and other dogs. Their love of hunting makes them great working dogs, but their love of humans also makes them wonderful companions. They are good guardians and happy indoors, but they need human leaders who are firm. And because they are such inveterate hunters, if they’re unleashed in an unsafe area, they may very well take off after something interesting like a cat, a squirrel, or the scent of a cat or squirrel who passed through earlier in the day. These are not quiet dogs—they bark when people come onto your property and they will “bawl” when chasing prey. This could cause problems with neighbors if you’re living in an urban/suburban area. Most important: As active working dogs, American English Coonhounds need lots of mental and physical exercise to stay emotionally balanced. A long walk, swim, romp in a field, or jog every day can help them avoid becoming high strung and destructive.
- Children: Good with children
- Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers
- Trainability: Easy to train
- Independence: Not particularly dependent or independent
- Dominance: Moderate (not particularly dominant or submissive)
- Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
- Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
- Noise: Average barker
- Indoors: Moderately active indoors
- Owner: Good for novice owners
- Grooming: A little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Medium
- Shedding: Average shedder
- Docking/Cropping: Neither
- Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
- Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
- Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
- Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
- Climate: Does well in most climates
- Longevity: Moderately long-lived (about 12 to 15 years)