Popular Dogs: Coonhounds

Get to know the softer side of these hardy hounds.




Popular Coonhounds

buy now!

There are four things, besides food, that a coonhound loves—hunting, running, sleeping and snuggling. Add baying, countersurfing, scent trailing and engaging in pure impishness, and you have a good idea of what life with a coonhound is like.

"Coonhounds are smart, enthusiastic and extremely naughty!” says Lynn Wilson of Rocking W Coonhound Crew in Palestine, Texas, owner of 11 Redbones and one Treeing Walker. "They have a lot of energy and their intelligence leads them into trouble,” Wilson says. "Despite all correction, I have several dedicated countersurfers and trash pickers, and I sometimes find the living room redecorated with the contents of the trash,” adds Wilson. "They’re constantly doing architectural work to the pen, digging holes big enough to hide in, and seem to spend their days plotting ways to escape. My husband says they destroy more every week than he can repair all weekend. I have to love them, though, even when they’re standing in the middle of a trash-strewn room with that adorable ‘Who me?’ look on their faces!”

Despite the naughtiness, coonhound owners are fiercely dedicated to their breeds and sing their praises louder than a hound can howl. "Coonhounds are loving and eager to please. They are people-oriented and prefer being with their person to just about any other activity—except maybe eating. Their extreme intelligence makes them companions worth spending time with, not just pets to love. At the same time, their independent nature keeps them from being ‘Velcro dogs,’ like some other breeds,” says Beth Spillers of Moulton, Alabama, president and founder of Dixie Coonhound Rescue.

Coonhound Quirks
Coonhound owners are fiercely loyal to their breeds, in spite of some conspicuous quirks. To neighbors or visitors, these quirks can be downright exasperating. Barking while running and baying at the slightest sound are among their eccentricities. "The song of a coonhound in full cry is a delicious yodel that echoes off the mountains around us in the Catskills,” says Emily Plishner of West Kill, New York, owner of a rescued Redbone named Rooster. "Rooster’s voice has a round mezzo quality that reminds me of Jessye Norman, the opera singer. Coonhounds are not for people with touchy neighbors. Also, other dogs find that playing with such noisy dogs is not much fun.”

Though these dogs are notoriously loud and can frighten the uninitiated, most are not aggressive toward people. "Black and Tans look like uncropped Doberman Pinschers to someone not familiar with the breed, but they are not protection dogs,” says Lori Spier of Hyattsville, Maryland, member of the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club (ABTCC) and owner of two Black and Tans and one Treeing Walker mix. "If a stranger comes into my house, they stand a greater chance of being slimed to death than being bitten. Of course, those coonhound voices baying gloriously every time they hear something is usually enough to terrify people. For us, though, nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a chorus of coonhounds.”

Then there’s the drool. Die-hard neatniks need not apply for a coonhound, unless they want to spend many long hours on the therapy couch working out their tidiness issues. "My walls look like they’ve been decorated by a demented 3 year old with a can of Spackle,” Spier says. "We don’t mind, and always keep a drool towel handy to wipe slobbery lips. Other people are thoroughly grossed-out by the thought of drool cascading onto the floor. If you are house-proud or have an all-white interior, you might want to consider another breed. Total cleanliness and coonhounds are not compatible,” Spier continues. "Big feet bring in lots of dirt and mud; big lips fling lots of drool. Also, if you have loads of breakables at tail level, I suggest packing them up. One swipe of a Coonie tail usually means a clear table.”

Another coonhound quirk is its capacity to find something to do, whether or not you’ve approved of the form of amusement. "If they are bored, or not getting the required intellectual stimulation, they will entertain themselves, and you probably won’t like how they do it—putting a 5-pound bag of pasta in the toilet, spreading trash throughout the house, and stripping the beds, sofa and closet,” says Lynn Fredericks of Lake Waukomis, Missouri, owner of two Redbones.

"Nothing is safe in my house, except for inside the microwave, because you need a thumb to open it! Top of the refrigerator—not a problem for a dog bred to climb trees,” Fredericks continues. "They constantly amaze me with the things they figure out. They regularly open doors. All our outside doors have to have deadbolts that require thumbs, because if they don’t, the coonhounds will leave. When their noses start working and their ears shut, getting them to listen to commands is difficult.”  



4 of 36 Comments View All 36 Comments

Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Popular Dogs: Coonhounds

User Avatar

Darryll   Rome, New York

5/16/2015 8:52:48 PM

I'm the proud owner of a red tick/be able mix. she's coming up on 4 years old. The drool doesn't usually show up until food does. But even then if we put a plate on the floor for her she will actually sit and wait until she is told it's ok to eat it before she lunges for it. She is an absolutely amazing and loyal dog for our family and loves our 2 kids to death. If she's outside she's all about getting attention, but go ahead and come into our apartment unannounced or uninvited and your likely to leave missing a face. We couldn't ask for a better dog and I won't ever own anything but another hound again! Although I would love to stop constantly cleaning bathroom trash from the toilet and tub.

User Avatar

Ashley   Winsted, Minnesota

3/20/2015 7:25:49 PM

I have a 2 year old b&t Coonhound/Sheppard mix that I adopted last July 2014. I have been religiously working with and training him since I got him. We moved into our new home November 2014 and have made sure that the transition has been smooth and commands and corrections have been made in the correct manner when and how they're needed. Here's my problem, he's been peeing and pooping in the house... He does it about once a month and it's completely unprovoked, he doesn't alert that he has to go out, which he otherwise ALWAYS will do, he doesn't even act any differently. Just goes into the dining room and squats. Please help! I make sure his energy is expelled, his hunting needs are met ext. I'm at the end of my rope with this. I'm a studied behaviorist and trainer and I'm all tapped out.

User Avatar

helene   Woburn, Massachusetts

1/19/2015 3:41:54 PM

I agree with the intelligence, indendence and cuddling but not the drooling my redtick and English coonhounds hardly drool at all. Both hounds are athletic but my redtick would be delighted to sleep 18 hours a day. I'm have to wake her to cuddle her and she just sighs. They have many more positives than negatives and I wish the article reflected that.

User Avatar

Jay   Glen St Mary, Florida

12/20/2014 4:24:14 AM

Good article but there's way too much emphasis on the not-so-positive aspects of coonhound ownership. They are affectionate, loving and playful family dogs who, contrary to common misconception, love their human family nearly as much as they love their groceries and their sleep. Yes, they're active and stubborn, but they're also devoted and cuddly and at times hysterically funny. They are also the third-most euthanized breed (ok, group of breeds) in the nation behind pit bulls and chihuahuas, and that's mostly because so many of them never make it to the shelters. They get dumped in the woods, abandoned- or worse- instead. If you can manage another active larger-sized breed like a dalmatian, a boxer or a lab, you can manage a coonhound

What gets me is that people will fall all over themselves to adopt beagles- and beagles are great dogs, don't get me wrong- but there really isn't any significant difference in behavior between a beagle and a coonhound- size is the primary difference.

Login to get points for commenting or write your comment below

First Name : Email :
International :
City : State :

Captcha Image

Get New Captcha

Top Products