Black and Tan Coonhound

Georgina Ushi, DVM
By Georgina Ushi, DVM on Mar. 15, 2024
wet black and tan coonhound walking on a beach

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In This Article

General Care

Bred from crossing Bloodhounds and Black and Tan Virginia Foxhounds, Black and Tan Coonhounds were originally used for hunting bears and raccoons in the southeastern U.S. Much like their Bloodhound ancestors, Black and Tan Coonhounds trail with their nose to the ground, but at a faster pace. Trailing opossums and raccoons is the breed’s forte, and they’re still commonly used as hunting dogs today.

Caring for a Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tan Coonhounds are quiet, mellow, and calm dogs indoors. But once they go outside, their hunting instincts take over.

One of the most notable characteristics of the Black and Tan Coonhound is their exceptional sense of smell. As scent hounds, they have an extraordinary ability to track scent trails over long distances. Keeping your Black and Tan Coonhound dog on a leash or inside a fenced space is important for their safety.

The breed is known to howl and bay, and they can be reserved around strangers. It’s important to begin socialization and training as soon as you bring home your Black and Tan Coonhound puppy. With proper guidance, these dogs can be friendly, loyal, and gentle around all people, including children.

Black and Tan Coonhound Health Issues

black and tan coonhound in a dog show
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/Kyle

The average Black and Tan Coonhound lifespan is 10–12 years, and they are a generally healthy breed. But, like all breeds, they may be predisposed to certain health conditions. Investing in pet insurance may be a good choice for potential pet parents.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic condition in dogs, including Black and Tan Coonhounds. It occurs when the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to joint instability and degeneration over time. When left untreated, hip dysplasia can lead to arthritis.

Symptoms may include lameness, difficulty rising, and a decreased range of motion. Treatment options may include medication, weight management, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity.

Ear Infections

Black and Tan Coonhounds are prone to ear infections because of their long, floppy ears that can trap moisture and debris. Regular ear cleaning and inspection are important to prevent infections. Symptoms may include itching, redness, odor, and discharge.

Treatment typically involves cleaning the ears with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner, medication prescribed by a vet, and/or addressing any underlying causes, such as allergies.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or GDV, is a severe form of bloat in dogs and a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested breeds like the Black and Tan Coonhound. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas or fluid and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow.

Symptoms may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal distension
  • Drooling
  • Unproductive attempts to vomit

Take your dog to a vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Emergency surgery may be necessary to correct the torsion and prevent complications.

Talk to your vet about whether a gastropexy procedure, where the stomach is secured to the abdominal wall to prevent twisting, is appropriate for your dog.


Hypothyroidism is a common disorder in dogs where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Symptoms may include weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, and skin problems. Treatment includes lifelong medication, but affected dogs can live long and happy lives with the right care.


Ectropion is an eyelid abnormality where the eyelids turn outward, causing irritation. Surgery may be necessary to correct these conditions and prevent corneal damage.

What To Feed a Black and Tan Coonhound

When choosing a dog food for a Black and Tan Coonhound, consider your pup’s nutritional needs and any health concerns they may have or be predisposed to. 

Select a food made with high-quality, easily digestible ingredients. Look for foods formulated to meet the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Because Black and Tan Coonhounds are active, large dogs, consider dog food with a moderate to high protein content.

Protein helps support muscle development, which is beneficial for Coonhounds because of their large size. Your Black and Tan may also benefit from a dog food that contains ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which support joint health and mobility.

The food must also be formulated for your dog’s current life stage: Black and Tan Coonhound puppies need to eat puppy food, adults should eat adult-formulated food, and seniors should eat a senior diet. Your vet can help you pick the best dog food for your dog.

How To Feed a Black and Tan Coonhound

Black and Tan Coonhounds typically do well with two meals of equal size every day: one in the morning and one in the evening. Do not feed your dog one big meal per day, as this can contribute to bloat and life-threatening GDV.

Along with feeding multiple meals, you can help your dog avoid GDV by:

  • Feeding with a slow feeder bowl

  • Avoiding raised food bowls

  • Limiting exercise immediately before or after mealtimes

Aim for consistent meal times that establish a routine for your Coonhound. Try to feed them at roughly the same times each day, spaced evenly apart.

Do not feed your dog one big meal per day, as this can contribute to bloat and life-threatening GDV.

How Much Should You Feed a Black and Tan Coonhound?

When determining the appropriate amount to feed a Black and Tan Coonhound, it's important to consider factors such as age, weight, and activity level. 

Talk to your veterinarian for the best guidance on feeding portions. Monitor your dog's body condition and adjust the portion sizes as needed to maintain a healthy weight. Puppies may require more frequent feeding and larger portions to support their growth and development, while senior dogs may need smaller, more frequent meals to prevent weight gain and manage age-related health concerns.

Nutritional Tips for Black and Tan Coonhounds

The typical, healthy dog eating an AAFCO-approved food won’t need supplementation. But your veterinarian may recommend certain supplements for your dog, depending on their health. This includes:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin: These joint supplements can help prevent or alleviate symptoms of hip dysplasia, a common issue in Black and Tan Coonhounds. They promote cartilage repair and reduce inflammation in the joints, supporting mobility and comfort.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 supplements such as fish oil can benefit the skin and coat health of Black and Tan Coonhounds. They help reduce inflammation, alleviate dryness and itching, and promote a shiny and healthy coat.

  • Multivitamins: A multivitamin supplement can help ensure your dog receives all essential vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health. This is especially important for dogs with dietary deficiencies or those on homemade diets.

  • Probiotics: Probiotic supplements support digestive health by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria. They can help prevent or alleviate digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, and gas.

Behavior and Training Tips for Black and Tan Coonhounds

Black and Tan Coonhound Personality and Temperament

black and tan coonhound running through waves on a beach
Photo credit: Adobe Stock/everydoghasastory

The Black and Tan Coonhound temperament is outgoing and good-natured, though they may be reserved around people they don’t know at first. However, some individuals may be prone to anxiety or fearfulness, especially if they haven’t been properly socialized.

Overall, they are loyal, adaptable dogs that thrive in an active household where they receive plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. Providing regular exercise and mental stimulation is important for Black and Tan Coonhounds.

Black and Tan Coonhound Behavior

Black and Tan Coonhounds are naturally curious and inquisitive dogs, thanks to their strong sense of smell. However, their nose—and their strong prey drive—means they may not be the best fit for families with smaller animals, which they may see as something to chase. Black and Tan Coonhounds require supervision when outside, and they may wander off if they catch an interesting scent. 

Along with their sensitive nose, Black and Tan Coonhounds are known for their distinctive baying or barking, which they use to communicate while hunting or when excited. While they are not excessive barkers, they may bark when they detect something interesting or when they are trying to. Proper training and management can help reduce excessive barking behavior.

Like many hound breeds, Black and Tan Coonhounds may have a natural instinct to dig, especially if they are bored. Providing plenty of physical and mental exercise, as well as appropriate outlets for digging (such as designated digging areas or interactive toys), can help redirect this behavior in a positive way.

Black and Tan Coonhound Training

The Black and Tan Coonhound's temperament can influence the training process and style in several ways. For one, these dogs can be independent thinkers, which may require a patient and consistent training approach. They may not always respond immediately to cues and may test boundaries, so training sessions should be structured and engaging to keep their attention.

Due to their strong scenting instinct, Black and Tan Coonhounds may become easily distracted by interesting smells in the environment. This can make recall training challenging, especially outside, where many stimuli are competing for their attention.

Training methods that focus on building a strong bond and trust, such as reward-based training and using praise and treats, tend to be most effective with this breed. Incorporating training activities into their exercise routine—such as obedience training, scent work, or tracking—can help fulfill their need for stimulation and constant engagement.

Socialization is important for Black and Tan Coonhound puppies to ensure they are comfortable and well-behaved around people and other animals. Exposing them to a variety of experiences, sights, sounds, and environments can help build confidence and reduce the likelihood of fearfulness or anxiety in new situations.

Fun Activities for Black and Tan Coonhounds

Black and Tan Coonhound Grooming Guide

The Black and Tan Coonhound has a short coat that is relatively easy to maintain. They shed moderately year-round, with seasonal increases in shedding during spring and fall. Overall, they are considered low-maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Skin Care 

Black and Tan Coonhounds typically do not require special skin care beyond regular grooming and maintenance. However, like all dogs, they may benefit from occasional baths using a gentle dog shampoo to keep their skin clean and free of dirt and debris. 

Coat Care

While Black and Tan Coonhounds don't require professional grooming, regular brushing helps remove loose hair and distribute natural oils to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Brushing them once or twice a week with a slicker brush or grooming mitt is usually enough to keep their coat in good condition and reduce shedding.

Eye Care

The Black and Tan Coonhound’s soulful eyes can be prone to tear stains, especially if they have folds of skin around their eyes. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth or specialized pet wipes can help prevent tear stains, and remove debris or discharge that may accumulate around the eyes. 

Ear Care

Black and Tan Coonhounds, like many floppy-eared breeds, may be prone to ear infections due to the shape of their ears. Routine ear care is important to prevent infections and maintain ear health.

Pet parents should regularly inspect their Coonhound's ears for signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or odor, which may indicate an infection. Additionally, cleaning the ears with a gentle ear cleaner can help remove wax and debris, reducing the risk of infection.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Before bringing home a Black and Tan Coonhound, pet parents should consider their energetic nature and need for regular exercise. An ideal home for this breed provides plenty of space for them to run and explore, such as a large, fenced yard where they can engage in scent-based games.

Coonhounds do well in active households where they get regular exercise and mental stimulation, so prospective pet parents should be prepared to commit to daily walks, playtime, and activities that cater to their hunting instincts. 

They are social dogs that enjoy companionship, so a home with plenty of human interaction—and possibly another dog—would be ideal. However, they may not be suitable for apartment living or homes with small, enclosed spaces, as they may become bored or restless without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. Consistent training is necessary to channel their energy and prevent undesirable behaviors, such as excessive barking or digging. 

Black and Tan Coonhound FAQs

Are Black and Tan Coonhounds good pets?

Black and Tan Coonhounds can make wonderful pets for active and outdoorsy families.

Do Black and Tan Coonhounds bark?

Yes, Black and Tan Coonhounds are known for their barking, especially when they are excited or pursuing a scent. This trait is deeply ingrained in their hunting heritage because they were originally bred to track prey.

Are Black and Tan Coonhounds hard to train?

Training a Black and Tan Coonhound can be challenging due to their independent nature and strong hunting instincts. They may be prone to following their noses rather than obeying commands, particularly in distracting outdoor environments. Lots of patience and praise are needed for training to help guide their energy and instincts effectively.

How much do Black and Tan Coonhounds cost?

The cost of a Black and Tan Coonhound can vary depending on several factors and typically ranges from $500 to $1,500 or more. Factors such as pedigree, lineage, and geographic location can influence the price. 


The American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. 20th Edition. Ballantine Books. 2006.


Georgina Ushi, DVM


Georgina Ushi, DVM


Dr. Georgina Ushi completed her undergraduate education at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she earned a Bachelor of...

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