Raccoon hunting dogs have been crucial for the coon hunt since as early as 18th century. They originate from scent hounds that were bred in France, England, and Ireland mainly for foxhunting.
Coon hunters bred them to combine their amazing sense of scent with the ability to “tree” the raccoons.
This type of breeding resulted in six main different breeds of raccoon hunting dogs. Besides the different looks, all of them have some characteristics that make them different, but all of them are great at what they do.
I’ve been working with these amazing dogs for years, that’s why I want to tell you more about each of them and what makes them so great.
The origins of bluetick coonhound go back to the early 1900s in Southeastern USA, claimed to be from the state of Louisiana. Today, they are bred all over the world and are one of the most popular raccoon hunting dogs.
They have a shorthair black and white fur with a lot of little speckles all over. This high-energy breed can be up to 69 cm tall and weigh up to 36 kg and have a lifespan of 10-12 years.
Since coon hunting doesn’t rely on the speed that much, these dogs were bred for tracking skills and endurance. Bluetick coonhound is a tireless dog with a very strong chase instinct, making it great for the coon hunt.
They have a very distinctive baying noise and can produce many different calls that they handlers can recognize. Blueticks are very warm and mellow dogs when kept inside, but they need the chase and exercise to stay happy and healthy.
They are very loyal and affectionate, they also are good with kids, but they can’t be trusted with any other smaller pet as they have the urge to chase them.
Highly sought after due to the muscle strength, endurance and tracking abilities, bluetick coonhound is definitely one of the best raccoon hunting dogs that you can get.
Black and Tan Coonhound
The black and tan coonhound is one of the biggest raccoon hunting dogs out there. Their lineage goes way back to the 11th century when St. Hubert and Talbot hounds were introduced to England.
Black and tan hounds are known for their great hunting and tracing abilities. Even though they look lazy and slow, their scent tracking skills make them a great coon companion. There are many stories of them treeing raccoons even after the hunters give up.
Once they sense or see a raccoon they will not stop until they find or tree them. They have one of the best noses for cold scent in coon hunting and also have a distinctive call when they tree a raccoon.
However, their determination can turn into a stubbornness and they sometimes ignore everything once they are on a trail.
Black and tan coonhound is also a great family dog since it’s very patient with children and quite relaxed when not hunting.
Treeing Walker Coonhound
The Treeing walker coonhound is probably one of the most popular hounds in competitive hunts. Besides being raccoon hunting dogs, they are also great hunters for bears, cougar or other small game.
Despite the fact that they are smaller than other coon hunting dogs, this breed has a strong, lengthy body, which gives them great speed and agility. The fur of these beautiful dogs is a combination of brown, black and white in different patterns, with white taking over.
The treeing walker coonhound weight is usually between 40 to 65 pounds. Like most other coonhounds, they require a lot of exercise and regular walks.
What makes them so great for the hunt is their ability to focus on newer scents and let go of older trails. They also have a strongly ingrained tracking and treeing instinct for hunting raccoons.
When not in the hunt, treeing walker coonhound is a very calm and affectionate breed and makes for a great companion.
The Redbone coonhound is a gorgeous looking breed and it’s one of the best raccoon hunting dogs in the world. They have slender bodies and a height of 20 to 27 inches, with redbone coonhound weight being between 50 and 70 pounds.
To keep them healthy, you need to provide them with regular exercise and a steady diet. The average redbone coonhound lifespan is 11-12 years, which is similar to most hound dog breeds out there.
These beautiful coonhounds are quick learners and one of the best treeing breeds. However, they can be trained for other game hunts too.
Being extremely social dogs, they will make a great companion and will love staying indoors, close to their owners. Their loud call is great for signaling a treed raccoon, but it will cause troubles in apartments and dense neighborhoods.
Sometimes they can be a bit stubborn and like to do things on their own, so you’ll need to show some patience with them. They also get along with other animals, even with cats.
American English Coonhound
The American English coonhound is one of the first breeds adapted to American terrain. They are considered as a father breed for almost all American raccoon hunting dogs. They were brought from England in 1742 and were bred to become one of the best coon hunting dogs.
Due to the small reddish speckles all over their white coat, they are also being calledRedtick Coonhounds. The average American English coonhound lifespan is also 11-12 years and they usually weigh between 40 and 75 pounds.
They are known for their athleticism and intelligence, always wanting to be on the move. Hunters that prefer treeing love this breed, they also use melodic baying or short barking to communicate with their handler.
The breed can be quite stubborn and once they track a scent, they will probably stay on that trail until the end. This instinct, however, doesn’t pair them up well with other small pets, for example, cats.
They can be a lovable, relaxed companion in your home, but they need a lot of exercises so they don’t become bored. This beautiful hot-nosed dog can be both a great hunter and family pet.
The American Leopard Hound
Despite being called the American leopard hound, this breed can have their fur in two other patterns: solid and brindle. Their weight (45-70 pounds) and height (21-27 inches) is similar to other raccoon hunting dogs. However, American leopard hound lifespan is a bit longer (12-15 years).
They are widely praised for their exceptional intelligence so it’s an enjoyment to train them. When it comes to tracking, their stamina and speed make them relentless hunters. They can hold the game at bay for a long time.
When the raccoon is treed, they notify the handler with a variety of calls, most often with a strong choppy bark. Unlike most coon hunting dogs, they are very obedient and will respond to voice commands during the hunt every time.
Since they are so easy to train, they are great indoor family dogs and are usually very playful and friendly. They also make great guard dogs.
This breed is a delight for hunters, especially the one who like to be in control most of the time. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them stand out from other coon hunting breeds.
Do we really need coon hunting dogs?
We all know how much a hound can improve the chance for success in a hunt, but raccoon hunting is almost unimaginable without dogs. The best thing about raccoon hunting dogs is that you also get a lovable pet and a loyal companion.
Just make sure that you take time to train them and keep them active. That way they will love you as much as you love them.