American English Coonhound
American English Coonhound’s are descended from the English Foxhound that was brought to America in the 1800s. With their many years of breeding and training, the desire to hunt is strongly ingrained in this breed’s genetics.
The American English Coonhound is an incredibly loyal and caring breed, who are eager to please those around them. They are good with children of all ages and will protect them as if they’re their own puppies.
As American English Coonhounds have such a loud bark you may think that they would make a good choice as a guard dog but this is wrong. They are incredibly friendly and this can be taken advantage of by someone.
American English Coonhound Key Information
Height: 21 to 26 inches
Weight: 45 to 65 pounds
Life span: 10 to 12 years
Breed family: Hound Dogs
Exercise requirements: High
Good with children: Yes
Area of origin: United States
Also known as: Virginia Hounds, Redtick Coonhound, English Coonhound
The American English Coonhound’s were heavily used for hunting raccoons hence the “Coon” part of their name.
They were bred by breeders crossing English Foxhounds with other breeds. Their goal was to create a breed that was able to join all day and night hunts for raccoons, foxes and other similar animals without tiring. The breeding was especially important as the terrain that they would be going over in America is more rigorous than what the English Foxhounds were used to in England. The American English Coonhound became its own specialization when they started to focus on breeding for night hunts, which would specifically look to hunt down raccoons.
American English Coonhounds and other Coonhounds were used a lot in a type of hunting called treeing. Treeing is where the hunt would look to drive pray up a tree, which cornered it and left it vulnerable to being shot by hunters.
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The American English Coonhound is an incredibly friendly dog that will quickly make friends with anyone who shows it affection. They are a sociable breed and want to be part of a pack so they will naturally start to fit into your family.
They can seem to have multiple personalities. When they’re outside they can go into hunting mode where they’re tireless and ready to chase anything down that they perceive to be prey. Where as at home they’re more calm and loving companions, who will lost to nest down in a comfortable area.
Interaction with Children
American English Coonhounds are a very caring breed and will look after children as if they are their own puppies. As with all dogs though, whenever young children are playing with dogs you should keep an eye on both. Small children are still exploring the world and do things like poke eyes exploring, which may cause the American English Coonhound to try to get the child to stop (any parent can understand that after having their child poke them in the eye and think it funny).
Interaction with other pets
Due to their American English Coonhound’s ever present desire to hunt it is not recommended to have American English Coonhounds with small pets. It may be possible to avoid issues by introducing a American English Coonhound puppy into a home with existing small pets and training them but this may not always work.
As an active breed they can require a good quality diet to provide them with the necessary calories, vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. You should look to break their feeding up into three meals a day to help spread out the food. This helps to make sure they get what they need while avoiding eating too much in one go.
Using treats as a useful tool then training your dog, giving your American English Coonhound too many can lead to them becoming overweight. Where possible it is a good idea to start transitioning from treats to something like a clicker as part of their training.
It is always worth remembering that if your dog is spayed/neutered then this will change the amount of food that they need to eat as their metabolic rate will be lower than it was before. By adjusting the amount of food you give them after this you can avoid them becoming overweight.
As American English Coonhounds get older they are prone to getting overweight. This is due to them becoming less active and therefore not burning as many calories.
American English Coonhound’s are a great choice for owners who have the time to look after their dog and go out for walks but if you’re short on time then they are unlikely to be a good choice for you.
The American English Coonhound has a short hard coat that doesn’t require a lot of grooming. Their nutrition will play a large part on the shine and texture of the American English Coonhound’s coat but nutrition alone won’t ensure they look their best, you will still need to groom them for this. You should look to use a grooming mitt with rubber nubs on a weekly basis will minimize the amount of shedding around your home.
Bathing them every four to six weeks will help to reduce doggy odor. Be careful not to bathe them too often as it will remove the natural oils from their coat, which help to keep their coat healthy and prevent some pests.
Their nails need trimming about once a month. As a general rule if you can hear your dogs nails on the floor then they will likely need a trim. If in doubt about how to trim your dog’s nails your local vet will be able to show you how to do it.
Check ears for wax and debris weekly because American English Coonhounds have floppy ears this can make it easy for dirt and other unwanted items getting into their ears. Failing to keep their ear clear of these can lead to your dog getting an ear infection, which is obviously something you should look to avoid.
American English Coonhounds have a huge amount of energy and need a lot of exercise to avoid putting on weight and to stay healthy.
If you’re someone who regularly goes out for long runs, bike rides or hiking they will be a great partner for those activities. With their background of hunting and tracking down pray it is important to keep them on a leash when you’re not in an enclosed area.
In addition to their daily walks/runs, playing fetch and other activities like that are a great choice of activities outside of the daily runs.
If you’re unlikely to have the time/energy to provide them with as much exercise as they need then it may be worth looking at a less energetic breed.
As with all dogs early socializing is strongly recommended as it will help to ensure your American English Coonhound turns out well rounded.
As the breed has been used for raccoon hunting for many generations, the drive to hunt is extremely deeply embedded within their personality. Training them for other activities can be a challenge, though not impossible and definitely worthwhile, but if you want to train them to help with hunting they will jump at the opportunity.
Training your American English Coonhound is best done with a king but firm and consistent hand. Due to their high energy they are prone to becoming distracted during training sessions. To help prevent that you can take the approach of taking your dog for a long walk or any other activity that will use up a lot of their energy before the training session. This will help them feeling restless and help maintain focus. Keeping training sessions short can also help with this.
If it is something you’re interested in then competitive dog sports such as agility training can be a great choice for American English Coonhounds as it will keep them interested and is a great way to exercise them regularly.
One thing that American English Coonhounds love to do is nest, while that doesn’t sound like something you would expect of a dog, they love to find themselves a nice soft spot and make it their own. A pile of clothes would be a perfect spot (perhaps a way to convince your teenager to put it away…).
American English Coonhounds will happily chew on anything that they can get their paws on. For this reason it’s recommended that you don’t leave anything lying around them that you want to keep safe. This is especially true if they’re not getting enough exercise.
American English Coonhound are known for barking at home as well as out and about, this means they may not be a great choice for apartments where you have neighbors around you. They also have a lot of energy, which will be hard for them to find appropriate releases for in an apartment, which may lead to destructive behaviors.
Dog Houses / Kennels
American English Coonhounds can sleep outside as long as it doesn’t get too cold but it would be worth ensuring they have a good quality dog house to sleep in and keep comfortable.
Having a fenced area where they can run around freely will be ideal for them.
Leaving them alone
American English Coonhounds are very sociable and do not like to be left alone. They will have a strong preference for someone being at home all day or being able to go to work with them.
American English Coonhounds are prone to overheating when they’re out actively running around during summer. You should ensure that you take water with you on hot days and make sure you let your dog rest in the shade if it starts getting too warm.
Hip dysplasia is a common problem encountered by American English Coonhounds.
American English Coonhounds are also known for getting ear infections, caused by dirt and other stuff getting into their ear and not being removed before it starts to cause a problem. The likelihood of your dog experiencing this can be greatly reduced by ensuring to check their ear’s once a week for dirt and wax build up.
As American English Coonhounds get older they will tend to slow down a bit more. As they start to slow down they will start to use less energy, if owners continue to feed them the same amount as they always have then they will start to put on weight, which will be harder to lose than when they were younger.
As a breed American English Coonhounds don’t have any specific allergies. For a list of foods that dogs shouldn’t eat in general, you can find our lists of foods and substances your dog shouldn’t eat.
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