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If what you are looking for from a dog is companionship, loyalty, playtime, and energy, the Black and Tan Coonhound (B&T) will suit your needs. This loving and energetic breed is adored by many, especially those who seek security dogs and playmates. The B&T Coonhound shine in the field and the show ring, while at home, they are more suitable for those with an expansive backyard for playing and exercise.

Native to the United States, the B&T Coonhound is developed with super hunting skills. While the dog is loved for its hunting skills and playful nature, it is not an easy one to handle for beginners. This breed does not augur well with those who live in apartments. If you live in an apartment, you may not have sufficient space for exercise and playing with your B&T.

With that said, if you admire an independent dog with a sense of humor, you should consider the B&T Coonhound. They make the best companion at home and tend to be gentle. You can keep them even if you have kids around as long as you teach your children how to deal with the breed.

In this post, we take a look at the Black and Tan Coonhound in more detail. We discuss their characteristics, history, and health to determine the best way you can take care of your B&T Coonhound.

Background & History

Black and Tan Coonhounds are descendants of the Bloodhound and the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. The B&T Coonhound is an American breed that was developed in the 1700s by mountain hunters. Owing to the long history of dogs, we can say that this breed has a moderately long history.

This adorable breed inherits its size, long ears, and highly sensitive scent from the foxhound and bloodhound. The breed was arrived at to control raccoons, although it has proven instrumental in taking over larger animals. As a result, the Black & Tan Coonhound is a naturally energetic and robust dog. The breed also has a natural hunting instinct, which is not easy to tame, especially for those who live in apartments.

Due to the energetic and versatile nature of the Black & Tan, it became the ideal breed for white settlers. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1945. According to the AKC, the dog ranks 138 out of 196 among the popular companion dogs. Despite his fine qualities, the breed is still less popular. This might be attributed to the care demands associated with the breed.

Physical Attributes

As the name suggests, these coonhounds are predominantly black and tan in color. However, the black color tends to overshadow the tan shades, which may only appear as patches in some dogs. The B&T Coonhound is also a working dog with trail and tree hound instincts. It was bred to withstand the harshness of winter, summer, and rugged terrain. This means that this dog is a naturally athletic breed, with predominant physical features.

For such a powerful dog, you should expect a significant height and a sharp nose. The first physical feature that stands out when you spot the B&T Coonhound is its big ears. The dog has big ears and a long mouth, both of which are instrumental in collecting sound and scent. With a height of 25-27 inches for the male and 23-25 inches for the females, the breed is well suited for any terrain. The breed has a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years, according to the AKC.

Temperament & Personality

This dog is well mannered but not very easy to tame. It is mostly calm and amiable while indoors. In the field, the dog is highly instinctive and will pounce on anything that looks like prey. He is extremely friendly and loyal to the owner; however, this depends on the level of training.

As mentioned above, the breed was produced to work with other hounds. Due to this character, the B&T Coonhound will go along with other canines as long as he is not attacked. The dog is reserved when dealing with people, especially strangers. However, he is never shy when he has to perform his duties.

The B&T Coonhound is a very strong dog and he may try to have his way. Consistent training from a tender age can help you get your scenthound well tamed. The younger B&T Coonhounds are much easier to handle as compared to the mature ones. Within the first three years, you should expect to have a happy puppy playing around with plenty of energy.

At a tender age, B&T Coonhounds are very friendly with kids and will not harass the young ones at home.

The B&T Coonhound is easy going and friendly to the owners but can get very aggressive once he finds a scent trail. As natural hunters, the breed will make your life a nightmare until they find the prey they are trailing. For this reason, always ensure that your dog is on a leash unless you are within an enclosed area.


The trainability of any dog breed depends on two main factors; temperament and ability to follow instructions. A trainable dog is determined by its eagerness to do what it is told. The Black and Tans are very eager to please the owner. This makes the dog one that will follow instructions easily. The other factor that makes this breed easy to train is its temperament.

As we have seen above, the dog is very friendly, calm, and amiable while indoors and energetic while outdoors. This may mean that you should start your training indoors, where the dog is calmer.

According to the American Kennel Club, training your Black and Tan Coonhound should start at an early age. The young puppies are intelligent, devoted, and affectionate. They will do anything to please the owner and will work hard to learn the new skills you are teaching them.

While the dog is generally trainable, it is also very energetic and loves independence. The dog will try to have its way, especially if it is introduced to a scent trail. As much as you can train your dog well, you should not expect blind obedience.

At first, you will need to teach your dog the right way to obey commands. If you take too long to train your Black and Tans, you may find it hard to change their behavior in maturity. Once they get used to a certain routine, they will stick to it throughout their lives.


The Black and Tans are among the healthiest dog breeds you can keep at home. In their 10 to 12 years of life, you will experience little health complications. According to the National Breed House, you should watch out for the following: 

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Obesity 
  • Cataracts
  • Thyroid problems 

These conditions are the most likely to occur among Black and Tans and care should always be taken to avoid them.

Hip Dysplasia is a condition that is inherent to Black & Tan Coonhounds. If your dog suffers from this condition, the thigh bone does not fit well into the hip joint. If your Coonhound starts showing signs such as pain and lameness on one leg or both, you should have him examined for hip dysplasia.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes not possible to spot the signs of hip dysplasia. If your dog suffers from this condition, it may suffer from arthritis as it ages. Given that this condition is hereditary, dogs that suffer from hip dysplasia should not be bred. While it is a fact that the condition is hereditary, it can also be caused by other factors such as a high-calorie diet or injuries.

The other condition you should look after when taking care of your Coonhound is cataracts. This is a condition where opacity in the eye lens may result in blurred vision or total blindness. The first sign you will spot if your scenthound suffers from cataracts is a cloudy appearance on the eyes. In most cases, cataracts in B&Ts will occur in their old age. The best solution for this condition is surgery, which can help restore the dog’s vision.

While your dog may suffer from the above conditions, you can protect your dog by providing a hygienic environment and a proper diet. In most cases, protecting any dog breed from diseases relies on the environment. Make sure your dog is fed well and is kept from constant injuries.


Most people who shy away from this breed think that the dog has high exercise demands. The fact that he is a natural hunter does not necessarily mean that he has high demand when it comes to exercising. In reality, the breed only needs moderate exercise. In other words, they are okay as couch potatoes as long as you do not take them to the field. However, as soon as you take your dog to an open space, he will demand high-intensity exercise.

They have a very strong instinct to chase after small animals. If you are exercising in an open park, make sure your Coonhound is always on a leash. One of the best exercise options for this breed is a hunting trip. If you are not in a condition where you can go hunting, just jog around a local park with your Black and Tans for about 30 minutes each day.


The Black and Tan Coonhound is protected by a short and dense coat. This coat is perfect for any dog lover since it does not shed regularly and is naturally smooth. The coat is easy to maintain and requires brushing just about two to three times each week. With brushing several times a week, the hair will remain shining and will not matt.

The dog also has very long ears that may collect dust. It is necessary to have the ears cleaned on a weekly basis. Weekly bathing and ear cleaning will help protect your Black and Tans from infections. You should also pay attention to the dental health of your scenthound.

Trim the nails once to twice every month and brush your dog’s teeth several times per week. If possible, you could brush their teeth more regularly. If you are too busy, provide safe toys that will help your dog strengthen his teeth.

Other Featured Facts 

As a wrap-up, let’s take a closer look at a few more facts about the lovable Black and Tan Coonhound.


Black & Tans are heavy feeders, but the amount of food the dog consumes mainly depends on age and size. In general, Black and Tans consume between 3 and 5 cups of high-quality dog food per day.

The other factor that determines the amount of food your dog consumes is its metabolism and level of activity. If you live in an apartment where the dog spends most of the day sleeping, you should not expect your dog to consume a lot. Black and Tans consume more only if they are busy throughout the day. 

It is essential to consider the quality of the food you serve your dog. The better the quality, the more the amount of food the dog can consume. While it is okay to buy processed foods from stores, it’s vital to think about the long-term impact of the food on your dog.

Processed foods are usually high calorie and are likely to cause weight problems in Black & Tan Coonhounds. If your dog gets overweight, he may suffer from hip dysplasia, as already mentioned above.


If you are thinking of purchasing a B&T, you should mainly worry about the cost of buying the puppy in addition to feeding costs. Purebred Black and Tan Coonhounds should cost between $300 and $1600. Some top breed lines may require a higher amount for the puppy.  In the long run, the dog will require less attention in terms of health care, but more efforts have to be made to keep your dog fed.

Loyal and Active Dog

The Black and Tan Coonhound is one of the dog breeds that you will definitely enjoy having around. He is very loyal, loving, and active. All these factors are important if you are looking for a dog that will give you companionship and playtime. As a natural hunter, the dog tends to be highly active. You should be ready to put in the extra work in terms of exercising and managing his natural instincts.

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