Coonhound (Redbone)

AKC Group: Hound

Redbone Coonhounds were bred to hunt raccoons. During the 1800 and 1900s, breeders wanted a faster, more efficient noser than the Foxhound. They crossed those Foxhounds with Bloodhounds, then later with the ancient Irish Hound. Nearly all pedigree lines can be traced back to George F.L. Birdsong. There are two theories behind their name: the red coloring and after a prominent breeder, Peter Redbone.

Size: 21 to 27 inches, 45 to 70 pounds

Color: Solid red

Life span: 11 to 15 years

Health problems: Some lines are prone to hip dysplasia.

Redbone Coonhounds are lean, muscular dogs bred to hunt. They out ran raccoons to the trees and are the fastest of the coonhounds. In addition to raccoons, they do well against bears, cougars and bobcats. Agile and coordinated, a Redbone can cover any type of terrain with ease, from swamps to the mountains. You’d be hard pressed to find a better all-around hunting dog.  A fence is no barrier either: They can jump as high as 5 feet. Their coat is red, dark, coarse and lays close to their body. (They may have a black or white patch.) The heads are broad and flat with a square muzzle, dark brown eyes and thin, low-hanging ears. Muscular legs are straight and the tail is of medium length.

A Redbone is loyal, affectionate, free-spirited and full of energy. They love kids, though they can be too exuberant for small children. With other dogs, they do great. Unfortunately their natural hunting instincts will not make them a friend of non-canine companions. They do drool a lot and can be a nuisance barker. Redbones have a natural dog scent. Generally Redbones are sweet, friendly, enthusiastic and reliable. They make a great family companion and a fierce, aggressive hunter.

Grooming is easy. To bring out their natural gleam, brush occasionally and check his ears often. If he’ll spend his days indoors, housebreak him as a puppy. Redbones do mature slowly, so keep this in mind. It may be hard to teach housebreaking as a puppy, but it will get easier as he ages. Basic obedience is the best place to start with them. Consistency will keep them from getting confused. If you’re planning on using his hunting skills, start this training as a puppy. (This will be an easier task if he’s had basic obedience training.)