American English Coonhounds

Active Family Companion

This high-energy pooch needs a job — preferably a hunting job.

But keep an open mind: Bred nearly exclusively as a hunting companion, this breed is also a sweet dog who loves spending time with family members, including children and other dogs.

The American English coonhound can trace its history back to the 17th century foxhound, when it was brought by European settlers to America to hunt. One of those dogs used to breed the American English coonhound was brought over by George Washington. These dogs formed the “Virginia Hounds” pack that was specifically bred to tolerate the rougher terrain of the south.

Over the years, this breed of hounds split in several different directions: the English fox and coonhound, the bluetick coonhound and the Treeing Walker coonhound (named after noted explorer Thomas Walker who contributed dogs to the Virginia Hounds pack and the breed’s ability to signal that prey has run up a tree).

In 1995, the English coonhound was accepted in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service and registered as the “American English coonhound.”  It was recognized by the AKC in 2011 as part of the hound group.

American English coonhounds are devoted to their families and typically display a generous amount of TLC for those in their life. The breed is known to nurture a close bond with family members.

Affectionate and gentle, the American English coonhound is good around children.

Since the American English coonhound is bred to work in packs, it generally accepts the company of dogs and can easily live in a mutli-pet home — as long as the other house pets are dogs, and preferably not small dogs. Bred to hunt, the American English coonhound can mistake small dogs and cats as prey meant to be pursued.

Obedience and socialization training can help reduce these behavioral tendencies. American English coonhounds can display stubbornness when they prefer not to do something, so consistency is key when working with the breed.

Also, with their scenthound genetics, the American English coonhound can quickly become engrossed in following a scent, whether it be through an open gate or while on a trail — once this happens, it can be incredibly challenging to get your American English coonhound to pay attention to you and respond to your call back. Keep your dog on a leash while out on a trail and always have a collar with ID tags attached. A microchip would also be a good idea should you and your American English coonhound become separated.

American English Coonhound

American English coonhounds are considered a large breed dog, although on the lower end of that spectrum. The average American English coonhound weighs between 40 and 65 pounds, depending on the gender.

Muscular and lean, the American English coonhound is built like an athlete. The breed’s short coat may be one of following colors and patterns: redtick, bluetick, tri-coloring with ticking, red and white, and black and white. Ticking refers to the small spots of color on the breed’s coat that resemble ticks. It is possible for an American English coonhound to be born with a solid-colored coat, although this isn’t common.

American English coonhounds born with the bluetick pattern are sometimes mistaken for a bluetick coonhound, which is a different breed.

While these may be common medical conditions, your American English coonhound will not necessarily develop any of those listed below.   

American English Coonhound
  • Cataracts is an opacity of the lens of the eye and may cause blindness if not treated surgically.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an adult-onset condition which gradual degeneration of the retina leading to blindness.
  • Stomach bloat or torsion (also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus or GDV) is very serious and often deadly condition where the stomach becomes painfully distended, either due to food, water or gas. The distended stomach then has a tendency to rotate twisting off its own blood supply and the only exit routes for the gas inside. Emergency surgery is immediately required to save the dog’s life.
  • Ear infections (otitis externa) are an inflammation of the ear canal, and can be caused by a foreign body in the ear canal, parasites, yeast or a bacterial infection. American English coonhounds have long, floppy ears which trap moisture and are predisposed to infection; frequent inspection and routine cleaning of your dog’s ears beginning at a young age will help train your dog to tolerate cleaning and help prevent infection. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and instructions prior to beginning a routine ear cleaning program.
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the hip or elbow joints that cause arthritis. Dogs with this condition usually display an obvious limp — they may hold the leg out from the body while walking, or even attempt to carry the front leg completely, putting no weight on it at all. Signs may be noted as early as four months of age. Although considered a lifelong problem, some dogs can be helped with surgery which, in some cases, can eliminate the problem totally.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.