The Coonhound: The American Coonhound dogs are Scenthounds, and were originally developed as Hunting Dog Breeds and believed to have all initially descended from the English Foxhounds that were brought to America by the early colonists and settlers. The only exception was the Plott Hound that had a completely different heritage. The name "Coonhound" is derived from its original use as a raccoon hunter with its natural ability as a tree hunter. The Coonhound were 'All American' new breeds that were developed to suit the different climate, quarry and vastly different types of terrain in the 'New World'.
The Coonhound breeds are noted for their special hunting skills, their scenting abilities, strength, tracking ability and their endurance. The different types of Coonhound include the Black and Tan Coonhound, the Bluetick Coonhound, the Redbone Coonhound, the Treeing Walker Coonhound and the Plott Hound.
The History of the American Coonhound: The history of the Coonhound dates back to the Colonial Era of American History when the original colonists and early settlers developed and adapted the different breeds of dogs that originated in Europe to increase their suitability to hunt in the 'New World'. America really was a 'New World', everything was strange from the different climate to the trees, plants and animals who lived in different environments from forests to swamplands. The Coonhound was developed to be as adaptable as the first settlers in North America. Every coonhound breed developed in Colonial America was originally referred to as the 'English Coonhound'.
The English Coonhound: There were no coonhounds in England. There were no racoons in England and there were no dogs that were suited to hunt racoons whose "cunning surpasses that of the fox". The ancestors of most of the America Coonhound Breeds were the oldest of the British scent hound breeds, the now extinct, 'Southern Hound' and the English Foxhound. The raccoon depended on trees to climb when they felt threatened.
The American settlers needed a dog that had the ability to track racoons and alert their owners of the racoon's location preventing the 'coon from escaping from the tree by harassing them with their barks and baying. All coonhounds were originally referred to as 'English Coonhounds' and this did not change until the 1900's when standards were developed for all of the Coonhounds, at which point each type were given specific names.
The Black and Tan Coonhound: The large sized, adaptable Black and Tan Coonhound was developed by mixing the English Foxhound with the now-extinct old English breed called the Talbot Hound, a forbear of the Beagle and the Bloodhound. The coloring of the dog lead to its name although for a time it was fondly known by its nickname the "Raccoon Raider.
The Bluetick Coonhound: The large sized, intelligent Bluetick Coonhound was developed by mixing the English Foxhound, and the Bloodhound with a French scenthound called the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. The blue color of the French dog resulted in the a ?ticking? or mottled blue pattern on this type of Coonhound and explains its name.
The Redbone Coonhound: The medium sized, energetic, Redbone Coonhound was developed by a dog breeder called Peter Redbone who crossed the red-coated Irish Setter with a Bloodhound and an English Foxhound to produce the elegant Redbone Coonhounds.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound: The large sized, confident, intelligent Treeing Walker Coonhound was developed by John W. Walker and his 4 sons, the Walker brothers, to produce the Treeing Walker Coonhound by crossing Virginia hounds with the English Foxhound.
The Plott Hound: The medium sized, brave, attentive Plott Hound is another one of the Coonhounds. It was developed by a German immigrant called Johannes "George" Plott who produced the breed by crossing the a German boar hound with the Catahoula Leopard Dog, it differs from the other American Coonhound breeds because it descends from German dogs rather than the English Foxhound.