Country of Origin
The Redbone Coonhound (also known as the ‘Redbone Hound’ or ‘Red’) is an American breed deriving from crosses between Bloodhounds and Foxhounds, possibly red foxhounds brought to America by Scottish immigrants in the late 18th century. The Redbone Coonhound was bred to ‘tree’ (track through the treetops) raccoons, possums, and larger prey such as cougar and bears. The name ‘Redbone Coonhound’ derives either from its distinctive red coat or from the name of Peter Redbone, an early breeder from Tennessee. Another influential early breeder was George Birdsong of Georgia. Breeders crossed the existing animal with the Red Irish Foxhound for increased speed and scenting. The Redbone Coonhound was then known as the ‘Saddleback’ for its black back, which was intentionally bred out for a solid red color. The Redbone Coonhound has been categorized in the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous class since 2001, eligible for full recognition if a sufficient number are registered. Today the Redbone Coonhound is a popular hunter and among the fastest and best scenting Coonhounds. ‘Old Dan’ and ‘Little Ann’ from the classic story ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ are Redbone Coonhounds.
The Redbone Coonhound has a shoulder height of 53-69 cm (21-27 in) and weighs 23-32 kg (50-70 lbs). It has round eyes and long ears, with a kind, pleading facial expression. The Redbone Coonhound has a sloped back, arched loins, curved tail carried high, and small, round ‘cat feet’. It has a lean, muscular body, a large chest, and long, straight legs. Males Redbone Coonhounds are larger and heavier boned than females, with a deeper voice.
The Redbone Coonhound has a short, smooth, shiny coat, which is just coarse enough to protect the skin when hunting in the brush. The Redbone Coonhound has a distinctive rich red color. A dark muzzle and small white markings on the chest and feet are permissible. Redbone Coonhounds are light shedders.
The Redbone Coonhound is an affectionate companion which enjoys spending time with its family, either playing games or simply laying around. Redbone Coonhounds are calm and good natured indoors, but outdoors their instinctive hunting nature takes over and they will follow their nose wherever it leads. Puppies are very energetic and will chew and bay if not properly exercised. Some Redbone Coonhounds tend to drool. They have interesting voices which they employ to a variety of purposes.
The Redbone Coonhound is very good with children. Some Redbone Coonhounds are comfortable with cats or other pets, especially those socialized from a young age, but others have a high prey instinct and will chase cats like the raccoons they were bred to pursue.
The Redbone Coonhound requires only occasional brushing. It has a long lifespan of 12-14 years and litters of 6-8 puppies. Redbone Coonhounds are generally healthy, but like most other breeds are prone to hip dysplasia (malformed hip joint which can cause lameness or arthritis) and obesity. Proper exercise and nutrition are important.
The Redbone Coonhound takes some time to train as it is slow to mature both physically and mentally, but it has a strong desire to please. Redbone Coonhounds have a strong natural treeing and hunting instinct. They should be well socialized at an early age and taught basic obedience.
The Redbone Coonhound needs an ample amount of physical exercise; it has a seemingly endless supply of energy. It enjoys jogs and swimming, but its favorite activity is following a scent. As they tend to follow scents at a high speed, Redbone Coonhounds should be walked on a leash or exercised in a fenced-in yard to prevent them from running into traffic.