The Black and Tan Coonhound’s moderate build allows a blend of strength, speed and agility. This breed is square or slightly longer than tall, with moderate bone. The Coonhound’s long ears may help stir up ground scents, and the deep muzzle allows room for olfactory apparatus. The hair is short but dense, providing an all-weather-protective coat. The expression is alert, friendly, and eager. The stride is easy and graceful, with head and tail held high. The Coonhound has a deep voice.
A true American breed, the Black and Tan Coonhound probably originated from crosses of the Bloodhound and the Foxhound, particularly the black and tan Virginia Foxhound. The Black and Tan Coonhound developed mostly in the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, Ozark, and Smokey Mountains, where these dogs were used to hunt raccoons and bears over fairly rugged terrain. They trailed in the fashion of their Bloodhound ancestors, with nose to ground but at a somewhat swifter pace. Although they would trail any mammal, they specialized in raccoons and opossums, often trailing at night. The dogs would bay when the quarry was treed.
The “American Black and Tan Fox and Coonhound” was the first coonhound breed recognized by the UKC in 1900. The AKC recognized the breed in 1945—the only coonhound breed the AKC recognized for decades—and is now popular as a pet.
Not the prototypical member of the household, the Black and Tan Coonhound, nonetheless, makes an exemplary pet. This dog is mellow, amiable, calm, and unobtrusive indoors. Outdoors, this breed can be difficult, if not impossible, to turn from a track after trailing a scent. As befitting a dog with this heritage, the Coonhound is strong, independent, and stubborn. While gentle and tolerant with children, but they may be too independent to satisfy a playful child. They are reserved with strangers. They may bay and howl.
The Black and Tan is a dog that can run for miles, although is usually content with a moderate jog or long walk, with an occasional excursion into the field. They can wander if they catch a scent, so a safe area is mandatory. Their coat needs only occasional brushing. Most Coonhounds drool to some extent, and the face may need regular wiping. The ears should also be checked regularly.