The Bluetick Coonhound is a faithful dog breed that played a very important role in the development of the United States! They have a long history of helping settlers and hunters. Even today, they’re a common companion for hunting enthusiasts. Of course, you can also see them being just another member of the family.
With their distinct looks, fun personalities, and unwavering loyalty, Bluetick Coonhounds are wonderful dogs to raise. That said, they do have some unique care requirements. These aren’t like your average Golden Retriever. To keep them healthy and happy, you must understand their personalities, history, and needs.
History of Bluetick Coonhounds
As we mentioned earlier, these dogs were crucial in the development of the United States. They were originally bred as hunting dogs that could handle the new environments Settlers were encountering. It’s believed that the breed we know today first originated in Louisiana. Settlers crossbred several other hound dogs to create the perfect companion hunter. Some of these parent breeds included the French Grand bleu de Gascogne hound, the English Foxhound, and the American Foxhound.
The Bluetick Coonhound is a product of years of crossbreeding to find the perfect hunting companion. It’s said that our founding father, George Washington, even had a hand at trying to develop the Bluetick Coonhound! They quickly became popular around the developing nation. Even the mascot of the University of Tennessee is a Bluetick Coonhound!
Despite their popularity, it wasn’t officially recognized as a purebred until only recently. The United Kennel Club finally recognized these pups as a separate breed in 1946. The American Kennel Club, or AKC, didn’t do so until 2009!
Types of Bluetick Coonhound Puppies
Breed standards for these dogs have long been established. There’s only one type of Bluetick Coonhound and they all belong to the larger scenthound family.
Bluetick Coonhound Temperament
Overall, Bluetick Coonhounds are very loyal and friendly dogs. They are social creatures who do best in the company of others. Like other hound dogs, these pups are very intelligent. They love to spend their time playing fetch and partaking in mental stimulation challenges.
Hound dogs tend to have a reputation for being only loyal to one person. However, that’s not the case with the Bluetick Coonhound. They make great family dogs and have been known to bond with everyone. These dogs thrive with human interaction, so having a lot of people to play with is great for their well-being.
As with any dog, early socialization is very important. Bluetick Coonhounds are very capable of showing some signs of aggression to those they aren’t familiar with. However, exposing them to other people and animals at a young age can help to prevent that kind of behavior from becoming an everyday thing.
One of the biggest issues that Bluetick Coonhound owners have to deal with is high prey drive. They were specifically bred to hunt down raccoons and other small animals. Thus, they can be a bit of a handful if they’re not properly trained. Even those that are well-trained have a knack for finding critters in the backyard and treeing them.
Another behavioral quirk is baying. Bluetick Coonhounds are one of a small group of dog breeds that are capable of performing this unique bawl. It’s like a cross between howling and barking. Because they are hounds, they will bay pretty frequently. This could be a problem if you live in an apartment or suburban neighborhood. These dogs are very vocal. While you can implement some training to minimize vocalization, it’s impossible to stop it altogether.
Training and Intelligence
Thanks to their intelligence, training a Bluetick Coonhound is pretty easy. They are quick to learn new concepts. Pair that with their desire to make you happy and you shouldn’t have any issues with obedience training.
Bluetick Coonhounds are unique in the fact that you must work on specific types of training. Remember, these are hunting dogs that are born to find prey. They can easily get distracted.
These dogs have a strong sense of smell. Not only that, but they have “cold noses.” Basically, this means that they can pick up very faint scents that other canines won’t pick up on. Once they have picked up a scent and start the hunt, you need to have a way to get their attention back. You must provide recall training early on to teach your dog to snap back to reality. Otherwise, you could lose your dog!
Bluetick Coonhounds respond best to positive reinforcement. Thanks to their acute sense of smell, they will respond to commands from great distances. Don’t be afraid to whip out the snacks if your dog gets lost on their hunt.
Bluetick Coonhound Characteristics
While they have many similar characteristics to the English Coonhound and other similar breeds, Bluetick Coonhounds have some standout characteristics that set them apart.
Size and Stature
These dogs are relatively large, tipping the scales at 80 pounds when fully grown. On the lower end, they can be about 55 pounds. Males are usually noticeably larger than females. The girls often weigh between 45 and 65 pounds.
When it comes to height, males reach 22 to 27 tall at the withers while females are 21 to 25 inches.
Bluetick Coonhounds are very lean and have defined muscles that are perfect for sprinting. Contrary to popular belief, these dogs typically don’t do the hunting. Instead, they’ll signal to the hunter whenever they find prey. However, their agile bodies do come in handy when it comes time to retrieve game animals.
The most defining feature of a Bluetick Coonhound is its floppy ears. Like most hounds, these dogs rely on their sense of smell rather than their sense of hearing to find prey. Thus, they don’t need to have perky ears like some other breeds.
Their ears are quite large and hand low on the sides of their heads. They do have some control over their ears. But, this is only at the base. The dogs can perk their ears up and move them in several directions, but don’t expect them to point them upwards!
Accompanying their floppy ears are floppy lips. As these dogs get older, the skin on their muzzles tends to get loose. Eventually, it’ll hand down below their lower jaw, which makes for some very interesting expressions.
Coat and Coloration
Bluetick Coonhounds have very short and glossy coats. It does shed, but it’s very minor compared to long-haired breeds.
You’ll see a lot of variety with these dogs when it comes to coloration. They have several color patterns throughout the body. On their head and back, they usually have bold black spots. This may be accompanied by some black and tank markings. Some white may be thrown in on the tail and face as well.
These dogs get their name from the mottling all over their bodies. They typically have black spots and blue ticking. However, some red ticking is also possible. This spotted pattern is typically found on the chest, legs, and backside.
Generally, Bluetick Coonhounds live between 10 and 12 years. This is pretty consistent with the average life expectancy of similarly sized dogs. These dogs are relatively healthy. As long as you provide them with the basic necessities, your pup should have no problem living a fulfilling life.
Possible Health Issues
Like any other dog, Bluetick Coonhounds can suffer health problems. Despite their reputation for good health, there are two common ailments that are known to plague the breed.
Bluetick Coonhounds seem to always have a healthy appetite. This leads many owners to try free-feeding rather than sticking to established feeding schedules. In most cases, this leads to excessive weight gain.
While many breeds know when to stop eating, hounds tend to eat as much food as possible whenever they can get it. It’s theorized that this behavior is a result of their pack mentality. Originally, these dogs were bred in large groups where food was scarce. So, they ate as much food as possible to prepare for times of famine. Even though modern pups have it good, that instinctive behavior is still there.
You need to stick to a strict diet plan to avoid weight gain. Manage food portions and provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to get some physical activity in.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia is a pretty common genetic condition that affects most large breeds. Unfortunately, it runs rampant among Bluetick Coonhounds. Dysplasia occurs when the hip or elbow socket becomes deformed. The malformed shape prevents the joint from operating fluidly. It’s often accompanied by an audible clicking noise and causes some immense pain for your dog.
Reputable breeders will often screen for this condition. However, because it’s so common with this breed, it’s difficult to get a puppy that’s not genetically predisposed to it.
You can do your part to prevent the symptoms from occurring. This includes managing weight gain and preventing your dog from working too hard. At the very least, these steps will help to alleviate pain. You can also consult with your vet to see if surgery is an option.
Bluetick Coonhounds don’t have any special dietary requirements you need to worry about. A high-quality kibble with all the recommended macronutrients will do just fine.
A protein percentage of at least 22.5 percent is a must. Protein helps to build and maintain muscles, which is essential for hound dogs. Make sure to take a look at the ingredient’s list and stick to products that have identifiable protein sources. Wholesome animal meats provide all the amino acids your dog needs to stay healthy. Good complex carbs like sweet potatoes and peas are essential, too. They will keep your dog’s energy levels constant throughout the day.
While not a requirement, many Bluetick Coonhound owners like to go for formulas that have some kind of joint support. Ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin may help to prevent joint problems in the future.
Most Bluetick Coonhounds will need in the neighborhood of 1,400 calories per day to stay healthy. Split this up into two meals. You may also want to invest in some kind of slow-feed bowl.
As we mentioned earlier, these dogs are voracious eaters. A slow-feed bowl or puzzle insert can help slow your dog down so that they don’t experience bloat.
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The large breed formula from Purina Pro Plan is a good option for Bluetick Coonhounds. It has a crude protein analysis of 26 percent, which is more than the AAFCO recommendations. Most of that protein comes from wholesome chicken. The recipe also includes omega fatty acids and glucosamine to support the joints and improve mobility.
Bluetick Coonhounds need a lot of physical activity throughout the day to stay fit and healthy. At the very least, they’ll need an hour of activity. You can take long walks or let them run free in the backyard. Just make sure that they are contained. Their strong sense of smell can lead them to a chase.
If you’re going out for a walk, use a durable harness and a lengthy lead. A long leash will give them that freedom to sniff around while still keeping them contained.
Grooming a Bluetick Coonhound is fairly straightforward. They do shed regularly, but you can keep stray hairs to a minimum by brushing them once a week.
Regular baths are important, too. Not only are these dogs prone to getting into some smelly situations, but they have that signature hound smell. It’s a distinct smell that only hound breeds have. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Regular quick baths can take care of that problem in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big do Bluetick Coonhounds get?
Adult males can weigh upwards of 80 pounds. They can also be about 27 inches tall at the withers. Females will only weigh as much as 65 pounds.
Are Bluetick Coonhounds good for families?
These dogs are great with families. They exhibit playfulness with everybody and will go to great lengths to keep everyone protected.
Do Bluetick Coonhounds bark a lot?
Bluetick Coonhounds are known to bark and bay pretty frequently. Thus, they’re not ideal if you live in close quarters with other families.
Do Bluetick Coonhounds shed?
These dogs do shed regularly. However, their hair is short and very manageable. You can minimize shedding by brushing their coats regularly.
Are Bluetick Coonhounds good with other animals?
These dogs are good with other animals with early socialization. They can even get along with small dogs and cats if they are raised and trained with the animals close by.
Do Bluetick Coonhounds make good guard dogs?
Thanks to their strong sense of smell, Bluetick Coonhounds make fantastic guard dogs. They will often smell intruders before they even see them.
Thinking about getting a Bluetick Coonhound? You won’t regret it! These dogs are affectionate dogs that fit in well with most families. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter looking for a lovable companion to help you in the field or someone wanting to raise an active family dog, you can’t go wrong with a Bluetick Coonhound.