Renowned for his speed and endurance, the American English Coonhound has the strength, grace and attitude of a well-conditioned athlete. Capable of hunting fox and raccoon all night long, he has an effortless trot that shows off this endurance. The breed’s hard, protective coat is of medium length and can be red and white ticked, blue and white ticked, tri-colored with ticking, red and white, and white and black.
- The American English Coonhound can trace its ancestry back to European scent hounds. Dozens of different scent-hound breeds were developed across Europe, many specific to their region of origin. Hunting was very important across Europe, particularly in France and England, two countries where scent-hound breeding became all-important.
- At about the same time that fox hunting was growing in popularity in Britain, the first British colonies were being established. Many colonists had been fox hunters and had emigrated with their English Foxhounds. The first recorded evidence of Foxhounds in the New World are documents showing the importation of a pack into Maryland in 1650 by Robert Brooke, who went on to become Master of Hounds in the colonies.
- Imported British hounds didn’t fare well in the colonies, however. Many died from exposure to new diseases, parasites and climate extremes. By the 1700s, the scent hounds of the American South were regarded as being a distinct breed from their British counterparts, and were known as Virginia Hounds.
- One of the most prominent breeders of Virginia Hounds was George Washington, an avid fox hunter. The dogs of Virginia and Maryland, where fox hunting remained the most popular, eventually developed into the American Foxhound, Virginia Foxhound, and Virginia Black and Tan Foxhound. Those that spread elsewhere began to specialize in raccoons as well as fox, and became known as coonhounds or fox and coonhounds.
- The Redbones and Black-and-Tans were the first Coonhounds to be recognized as distinct breeds. Until the end of World War II, the other treeing Coonhounds (American English, Bluetick and Treeing Walker) were lumped together as a single breed, with different color varieties.
- Fanciers of the traditional American English Coonhound, began to favor dogs with red-ticked coats, to distinguish them from those more modern offshoots.
- American English Coonhounds have always been major competitors at coon-dog trials. The first winner of a major coon-dog trial was an American English Coonhound.
- In 2010, the American English Coonhound was granted full recognition with the AKC as a member of the Hound Group. The AKC added the American to the name to avoid confusion with breeds that had actually been developed in England.
- Today’s American English Coonhound is a wide-ranging hunter that possesses tremendous speed and excellent voice.
- Although very popular with American hunters, the American English Coonhound is essentially unknown outside of the U.S. and Canada. Very few of these dogs have been exported to foreign countries.
The above text and image © 2017 American Kennel Club.