Originally bred for hunting, American English Coonhounds are energetic dogs that make wonderful pets. They react well to reward-based training, and their good-natured and sociable attitude also makes them an excellent breed for families with kids or other animals.
Thought to have evolved from Virginia hounds—descendants of English foxhounds—the American English Coonhound has a storied past.
The Coonhound’s English ancestors that came to America in the early 1800s were originally bred as fox hunters. But by the 20th century, breeders had begun crossing these foxhounds with other dogs to yield proficient raccoon hunters. These first American English Coonhounds would chase raccoons up trees and then help their owners spot them in the branches.
Today, the American English Coonhound is considered one of the fastest Coonhound breeds—a strong and agile hunter that’s as pleasant and sociable as it is energetic and confident. As with any breed that’s inclined to hunt, American English Coonhounds should never be let off-leash in a free environment. Once prey is in their line of sight, it’s next to impossible to get them to give it up.
The American English Coonhound has a muscular, athletic body that’s both poised and graceful.
American English Coonhounds come in a variety of colors, including black, black and tan, blue, brown, red, red and white, and tri-colored. Their short- to medium-length coat has a ticked marking.
Known for their strong and racy bodies, American English Coonhounds have deep chests and strong backs. Their bodies—which stand as high as 26 inches at the shoulder—are perfectly balanced, with no overly exaggerated parts. And their broad heads are flanked with low-hung ears.
The energetic drive that makes American English Coonhounds amazing hunters can also make them challenging dogs for novice owners. With a little patience and proper training and socialization, however, this breed can be calm and friendly when not in pursuit of its furry prey.
American English Coonhounds do best when they have enough space to run around, explore, and play. With their energy handled appropriately, they can be sweet and docile, ready to interact with people and other animals, alike.
Their loud barking makes them great watchdogs—even if, in the end, they’re more likely to lick an intruder than scare them away.
The American English Coonhound is an active breed that does best when fed a high-quality dog food that’s suited to their particular age, as well as any additional health concerns.
As with any dog, it’s important to monitor the amount of food and treats that you give your American English Coonhound, especially since they are prone to gaining weight as they age. Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.
The American English Coonhound has a short- to medium-length coat that requires little care. Weekly brushing with a shedding tool or grooming mitt can help keep stray hairs at bay and reduce shedding. Proper brushing also helps keep your dog’s coat shiny by properly distributing healthy oils. The American English Coonhound also has floppy ears that should be cleaned and checked weekly.
All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and American English Coonhounds are no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for their overall long-term health.
This high-energy breed needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Therefore, living in a small apartment with no backyard space to run around in will likely not make them very happy. Taking your American English Coonhound with you for a run, swim, or hike are all excellent ways to provide them with the exercise they need.
If long-distance activities aren’t accessible, even a quick game of chase, tug-of-war, or fetch will suffice. Another activity that helps them thrive is competitive obedience training, which not only reinforces desired behaviors but also provides them with mental exercise.
Without the proper training, American English Coonhounds can become possessive over items like food, so early socialization and training are key. A traditional hound, the American English Coonhound is both sweet and docile but also harbors a tendency for stubbornness.
So, patience is key when attempting to train your American English Coonhound. Additionally, reward-based training is the best way to help this intelligent breed learn quickly.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Laura Inman, DVM