Following the American Revolution, settlement moved towards the Deep South, yet the dogs that had arrived from the British Isles and France in the latter part of the 18th century were unsuited to working the difficult terrain there. Therefore, a more suitable breed was required, capable of hunting vast acreages under a hot sun. It wasn't long before the Redbone Coonhound came into existence, having descended from hounds introduced by early colonial settlers. The breed became highly prized in Tennessee and Georgia where it was used to hunt raccoon and progressively larger game. The Redbone Coonhound is thought to derive its name from Peter Redbone of Tennessee, an early breeder and enthusiast, and remains extremely rare outside the United States today. Officially recognised by the AKC in 2009.
A medium to large-sized breed with a slender and athletic build, the Redbone 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, primarily coloured red and usually with white markings on the chest or feet. Many of the early Redbone's had a black saddle over their backs, a trait which was eventually bred out. Some suggest that the Redbone descends from the Harrier and the Bloodhound, just by observing its appearance and structure. 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 achieve this dog's brilliant potential, early socialisation, firm leadership and consistent obedience training is encouraged from puppyhood. Generally, a healthy Redbone Coonhound will weigh 23-32 kg at full maturity, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
The Redbone 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.