Black and Tan Coonhound

Temperament: Easy-Going, Bright, Brave

  • Height: 25-27 inches (male), 23-25 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-110 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Hound Group 

Large, athletic hunters who work nights, Black and Tan Coonhounds are friendly, easygoing hounds who love company. They are snoozy by the fireside but tenacious when on the trail of the wily raccoon. This hound is a real American original.


The Black and Tan Coonhound is first and fundamentally a working dog, a trail and tree hound, capable of withstanding the rigors of winter, the heat of summer, and the difficult terrain over which he is called upon to work. Used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon, the Black and Tan Coonhound runs his game entirely by scent. The characteristics and courage of the Coonhound also make him proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, mountain lion and other big game. Judges are asked by the club sponsoring the breed to place great emphasis upon these facts when evaluating the merits of the dog. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness. He immediately impresses one with his ability to cover the ground with powerful rhythmic strides.

About the Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tans have an amazingly sensitive nose, long, velvety ears, and a sweet disposition. The coal-black coat features rich tan accents, including the distinctive “pumpkin seeds” above keenly expressive eyes. These are big, strong hounds: A good-size male can stand 27 inches at the shoulder and cover ground with effortless, eager strides.

B&Ts are sociable hounds. A lonely B&T will serenade the neighborhood with loud, mournful “music.” B&Ts can keep pace with the most active family, but they also can hog the sofa for hours on end. Hounds will be hounds: A passing squirrel can arouse B&T prey drive in no time flat, so a strong leash and sturdy fence are must-haves. B&Ts might be too much hound for the lifestyle of every owner.

NUTRITION The Black and Tan Coonound should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The Black and Tan Coonhound has a short, dense coat that is shed once or twice a year. Weekly brushing with a medium-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove will remove the dead hair before it can fall onto the furniture. Grooming also promotes new hair growth and distributes skin oils throughout the coat to keep it healthy. Black and Tans should be bathed occasionally to keep them from developing a doggy odor. As with all breeds, the Black and Tan’s nails should be trimmed regularly, because overly long nails can cause the dog pain as well as problems walking and running.

EXERCISE Black and Tan Coonhounds require a moderate amount of exercise every day, whether it’s a play session in the yard or a long walk. Of course, these hounds were bred to hunt and have a very strong instinct to chase after any small animal they smell, so the yard has to have a tall, solid fence, and the walk has to be on a leash. An obvious option for exercise is, of course, a hunting trip, and not just for raccoons—the Black and Tan can be trained to help out hunting just about any kind of game, from squirrels to deer, if local ordinances permit. And, as one might expect, Black and Tans also enjoy participating in coonhound field events.

TRAINING As with all breeds, early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended. Black and Tan Coonhounds are intelligent, affectionate, and devoted and also have an independent streak. They can be trained, but it’s best to expect compliance rather than blind obedience. Once they learn to do something, they’ll be inclined to do it that way for the rest of their lives, so it’s important to train the behaviour correctly the first time. Black and Tans want to be with their families, and a dog left alone in a yard for long periods, bored and ignored, is likely to complain—loudly.

HEALTH The Black and Tan is typically a sturdy breed with few health problems, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, and thyroid issues. The Black and Tan’s ears should be checked weekly for any signs of infection. As with all breeds, the teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  3. Cardiac Exam

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