Believed to date back to the 18th century in the southern states of America, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a direct descendent of the 11th century Talbot Hound, commonly found in Medieval England. Its early ancestry and bloodline can further be traced to the Bloodhound and Virginia Foxhound, otherwise known as the 'black and tan.' Primarily bred for the purposes of hunting and tracking over difficult terrain, the Coonhound boasted stamina, keen senses and agility, successfully tracking the scent of possums, raccoons and larger game such as mountain lion. Officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1945.
A medium to large-sized breed with a slender and athletic build, the Black and Tan Coonhound possesses long, powerful legs, a low-set tail, wide low-set ears and dark inseted eyes, usually of a hazel brown colouration. The coat is typically short and smooth, common in black with tan markings on the muzzle, above the eyes, legs, chest and breeching. The Coonhound is often likened in appearance to the Doberman and the Rottweiler. Inclined to follow its nose on the trail of a scent, the Coonhound should not be left to its own devices, being kept on a leash in public and in a high-fenced garden.
Whilst uncommonly seen as a house pet, the Coonhound makes an exemplary pet. Naturally vigilant to change and threat, this breed will protect house and property when potential danger is perceived, but will otherwise exhibit amiable and relaxed behaviours, displaying loyalty and affection to its master and family. In order to exploit this dog's brilliant potential, early socialisation, firm leadership and consistent obedience training is encouraged from puppyhood. Generally, a healthy Black and Tan Coonhound will weigh 45-65 kg at full maturity, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
The Coonhound is not susceptible to any serious genetic diseases, although hip dysplasia, optical disorders and ear cancer have been identified in the breed. The Coonhound is also prone to easy weight gain so feeding human foods is not encouraged.