The Redbone Coonhound is both fast and agile, often able to traverse or hike through rocky hills, and even swim through water at a fast pace. They can follow a cold trail and have a sweet voice. Their coat is short and smooth but coarse enough to provide protection.
Like most coonhounds, the Redbone derives from foxhound ancestors. Scottish immigrants brought red foxhounds to America in the late 1700s, and they may have formed the basis of the breed.
The breed’s development was heavily influenced by George Birdsong, who began with a pack he obtained in the 1840s. As more people became interested in the breed, they set about to create a faster, hotter-nosed dog that was even quicker to locate scents. They mixed the existing dogs with later imports of hot, swift Red Irish Foxhounds. These early dogs were sometimes called Saddlebacks because they tended to be red with black saddles. However color was emphasized for several generations, resulting in the solid-colored red dogs. The breed became known as Redbone Coonhounds, either in recognition of its color or after Peter Redbone, a Tennessee promoter of the breed.
In 1902 the Redbone Coonhound became the second coonhound breed recognized by the UKC. Over 100 years later, in 2010, it became a regular AKC breed. The Redbone remains a favorite family pet to this day.
Redbone Coonhounds are generally easygoing, gentle dogs that don’t let much bother them. They want to be with their people, but aren’t clingy or “in your face.” Redbone Coonhounds are often eager to please but can become bored with formal training. They are active when on the hike, but quiet inside. Their passion is to follow their nose, and once their nose hits a scent they might be oblivious to much else. Redbone Coonhounds often get along well with people, children, and dogs, but may or may not do well with small pets.
Because they are driven to follow their nose as fast as they can, care must be taken to exercise Redbone Coonhounds in safe, fenced areas. They do well with a daily walk or jog, and enjoy swimming. Redbone Coonhounds are very family oriented and make good members of the household. Some tend to drool. They have a loud, melodious voice when trailing or exited. Coat care consists of weekly brushing.