Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound, often called the “Black and Tan,” or “B&T” for short, is an all-American hound known for being both a gentle home companion and tenacious tracker in the field. Their signature floppy and velvety ears frame their long hound faces and characteristically sad hound eyes.

The B&T is a strong and social dog that equally loves chasing after squirrels in the backyard and sleeping on the sofa for hours on end. You will always have a loyal, goofy, and loving dog in this breed.  Read on to learn more about the Black and Tan Coonhound.

Description of the Black and Tan Coonhound

One of the larger hound breeds, the Black and Tan Coonhound is an all-around dog. Bred from multiple other hounds, this breed was created to hunt specifically for raccoons and their strong noses do a great job of it. They still follow their strong sense of smell today, whether that is towards the kitchen to sniff around your fresh-baked pie, or on the trail after game.

Their hound blood means they have strong and lean bodies that can withstand long days over rough terrain and many types of weather. These dogs were bred to work and are excellent at their job. Their sleek fur is short and dense and the coloring is what gives this breed their name. The B&T is a dark coal color with tan markings, especially the signature “pumpkin seed” markings on the brow that highlights their expressive eyes.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Black and Tan Coonhound lives an average of 10 – 12 years, which is a respectable life for a bigger dog. They run an average of 25 – 27 inches tall for males, and 23 – 25 for females, and weigh 65 – 110 pounds. Despite its large size, this dog will still try and snuggle up into your lap if you let it!

Protective Ability

Bred to be alert, the Black and Tan Coonhound makes a vigilant watchdog and will let out its distinctive hound howl when a stranger comes knocking. Still, his friendly and laid-back nature means he is likely to welcome anyone into the midst. This dog is just too sweet to make a great guard dog, but you won’t mind at all, as your friendly dog will become popular with everyone he meets.


The B&T is a smart and friendly dog that is eager to learn. It is important to make sure your are correct and consistent from the get-go, though, as this breed is hard pressed to change his ways once he learns how to do something.

Using treats is a great way to train your Black and Tan Coonhound. This is an especially food motivated breed and they will love to listen when they have such a scrumptious reward waiting for them. Be sure to use in moderation, though, as your B&T can become overweight if fed too much.

The Black and Tan Coonhound is a quick study but you will be hard-pressed to knock their natural hunting instincts out of them. If your dog catches wind of some interesting smell they can’t help but take off after it. Training your dog on leash and keeping them in a well-fenced backyard can help keep your B&T safe.

Energy Level

Despite the quintessential picture of the lazy hound asleep on the hearth, these dogs have lots of energy, and need plenty of daily exercise to be happy and healthy. While you can find them spending hours in front of the fire, when they are awake they are ready-to-go and full of energy! Supplying them with ample movement and time with the family is the best recipe for a happy Black and Tan Coonhound.

What Living with a Black and Tan Coonhound is Like

This is a true hound breed. These dogs are great with kids and love their families, but with such a specialized nose and hunting instinct they are primarily working dogs before family dogs. That said, provide them with enough physical activity and mental stimulation and they can make great family dogs as well.

While the Black and Tan Coonhound loves to laze around, and can seem like a great choice for more sedentary families, they do have lots of energy and exercise needs, so don’t expect to be able to just let your dog out into the backyard to play alone. This breed needs real movement and is a great companion for outdoor enthusiasts and those with an active lifestyle.

Care of the Black and Tan Coonhound

The Black and Tan Coonhound is an easy-going breed that can do well as long as he is provided plenty of space to move, physical activity, and social time.

Environmental Needs

Bred to be out in the field, the Black and Tan Coonhound can do well in all types of weather. Their solidly built bodies and dense fur do equally well at keeping them warm in cold climates, and cool in hot climates.

Exercise Needs

Lots of exercise is key for this breed. Long daily walks or runs, with plenty of sniffing time of course, are essential and should be supplemented with backyard playtime. This exercise helps keep your dog fit and happy. Canine sports like field events area a great way to get your Coonhound engaged and active.

These dogs are natural chasers, and will follow their noses if permitted. Be sure to keep them fenced in or on-leash to keep them from wandering too far.

Shedding and Grooming

The Black and Tan Coonhound has a dense coat that is shed seasonally twice a year. Weekly brushing will help keep loose hair at bay, and keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. Bathing should happen occasionally, depending on you dog’s lifestyle, to prevent him from becoming smelly.

This breed sheds completely twice a year, and regularly the rest of the time.

Because of their long ears it is important to regularly clean and check them to make sure they don’t become infected. Trimming your dog’s nails regularly will prevent him from experiencing discomfort when walking.

Ideal Home Environment

These dogs are hard workers, and great companions for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. While they are mainly used for working, the Black and Tan Coonhound can make a great family dog because of its affectionate and gentle nature.

Being able to provide them with plenty of space, social time, and exercise are the most important factors in deciding if this breed is right for you. If you can provide them with these things, the Coonhound will make a loyal and loving companion forever.

Health Concerns

The Black and Tan Coonhound is a generally healthy breed, but they are susceptible to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and thyroid issues. Working with a reputable breeder can help prepare you for potential health problems, and regular check-ups can help treat and prevent illness in your dog.

Behavior Problems

The Black and Tan Coonhound it one of the more sociable hounds. They bond closely with their families, and do not do well if left alone. You are very likely to hear your dog if you leave them in the backyard for too long. This vocal breed will howl and bark until he reminds you that you are forgetting one of your most valuable family members!

Their other problem is chasing. A natural hunter, the Coonhound was bred to chase down prey using his nose, and he is still quick to follow this instinct today. Keeping your dog on leash and well fenced-in will keep him and the neighborhood squirrels safe.