The English Coonhound, also known as the American English Coonhound, is a prized family companion and hunting dog. This medium to large-sized breed is the fastest of the six Coonhound breeds and has similarities with the hunting Hounds or a Beagle.
This dog breed has a rich and long history! It’s a product of settlers from Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The settlers brought Foxhounds with them to America to help them hunt. The English Coonhound is the descendant of this breed.
The American English Coonhound was bred in the South in the U.S. Initially known as the Virginia Hounds; it became popular after importation to the U.S. by Robert Brooke, Thomas Walker, and the nation’s first president, George Washington.
21 – 27 inches
40 – 65 pounds
10 – 12 years
Black, cream, brown, red, white, red and white, brown and white
Families with children, homes with yards, rural/farm areas, hunting, and active families
Friendly, energetic, playful, social
English Coonhound is well-renowned for its speed, endurance, and athleticism. If you are an active person who loves the outdoors, this dog breed will make a great companion. However, the English Coonhound is not well suited for apartment living; therefore, it will thrive best in houses with a yard.
This breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service (AKC) in 1995. However, it got full and formal recognition in 2011, which allowed it to compete in the National Dog Show.
If this breed sounds like a perfect option for your home, here’s all you need to know before getting one from your breeder.
English Coonhound Characteristics
English Coonhound Puppies
These active puppies will love homes with big yards. They are friendly and very social. Due to the popularity of this breed, you can easily find one at a rescue shelter. Puppies from a shelter will typically cost less than a breeder.
Because this is a competition dog, the pedigree and their show dog capacity determine the cost. If the specific dog has superior agility to compete or comes from a more potent lineage, you’ll need to pay more.
Before you take the puppy home, get health records from the breeder to get an overview of the dog’s health and lineage. The breeder should also show you how they take care of their puppies. By doing this, you’ll have better information on how to take care of your dog in case of medical conditions.
Temperament & Intelligence of English Coonhounds
As a hunting dog, this breed loves to explore around. They tend to be quiet and calm at home but get very active once outside and require regular physical and mental stimulation.
If socialized well, they love spending time with people and meeting new people. They are also nesters and will curl around blankets and warm spaces in the house.
English Coonhounds are excellent family dogs and could get protective when there are strangers. This dog will alert you when there is an intruder by barking and howling.
These dogs also have an intense and ear-piercing howl. Therefore, if you lie in an apartment, they might not be the best option, especially when the barking goes on for long.
If your dog was not properly socialized as a puppy, these dogs could chase away small dogs and cats as prey.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
This breed is loving, loyal, and eager to please. As long as the pets get socialized when young, this breed does well around children of all ages. The dog has a loud howl that makes it a good choice for a guard dog.
In case it feels attacked, the English Coonhound will be defensive and protect the family. They have a pack mentality; therefore, they keep the family very close. They are obedient and calm and will keep your child company for many years.
If you have young kids, they should also get trained on how to handle this breed. The English Coonhound is typically a large dog; hence it will need supervision around very small children.
These dogs require intense training and activities. If you or members of your family are not active, this dog can be quite a handful. In this situation, you should consider getting another dog instead.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Due to their pack mentality, English Coonhounds will get along well with other dogs. If you put them together with dogs from the same breed, they interact, play, and hunt as a pack. However, when put together with smaller animals such as cats, they’ll treat them as prey if not well socialized.
If you bring in a new small pet or cat to your home, you’ll have to keep them separated from the dog until they get well adapted.
Things to Know When Owning an English Coonhound
An English Coonhound has specific dietary needs, medical issues, grooming, and exercise requirements that you need to know. Here are some of the critical things to consider.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Once you get the English Coonhound, you need to have a budget for its food. This medium to large size dog requires about 3 cups of food per day. As a highly active dog with a fast metabolism, it needs food to replenish its energy and boost muscle development.
You can split the meal into two times a day depending on your dog’s level of activity, metabolism, age, and size. For young puppies, ensure the daily diet has lots of proteins to aid in proper growth.
The energy levels for this breed are very high. Therefore, they’ll need to burn this off daily. Have the dog exercise for 60-90 minutes daily or incorporate their session as you go for a jog or a hike.
During these sessions, remember to have the dog on a leash just in case they pick a scent or chase a smaller animal as prey. It might be hard to settle them down by just using commands. These dogs will also enjoy a walk in the dog park to socialize with other dogs. You can also play a game of fetch to keep them active.
Because of these exercise needs, this dog is not ideal for apartment living or houses without yards. If it doesn’t get enough exercise, it can easily become bored, depressed, anxious, hyperactive, or destructive. If you don’t have a spacious yard for the dog to run, it might be better to go for another breed.
You could also decide to get your dog active in competitive outdoor canine sports. Since it’s a hunting breed, some organizations plan events such as night hunts and field trials. You can enroll your pet in any of these activities to keep them active.
English Coonhounds are eager to please. This makes it easier to train them to take commands. In addition, they pick up instructions quicker if given firmly without scolding or yelling.
However, to ensure they get the training much faster, you’ll have to socialize and train them as puppies. Poor socialization could make them aggressive and dominant, making it hard to train. They need to get exposed to different people, places, sounds, and animals.
The challenging part about training happens when there are smaller pets. They have a prey drive that can make it harder to streamline, especially if they were not socialized early.
English Coonhounds are low maintenance with regards to grooming. They have a short rough coat that has minimal shedding. You can have a weekly brushing session to minimize the amount of hair shed. Only use shampoo when it’s necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
Furthermore, it would help if you trimmed the nails about once a month. For this, you can have your vet show you how to do it or get a groomer to do it for you. Also, brush your dog’s teeth two to three times a week to keep them healthy.
Their floppy ears can be a host for potential infections. Clean them regularly and check for ear infections once a week. By doing this, you will prevent a build-up of earwax and ear infections.
Health and Conditions 🏥
This dog breed is typically very healthy. However, it’s still prone to some diseases that you should know about.
Like most dogs, English Coonhounds have large floppy ears. If not cleaned properly, these ears could develop infections or become inflamed. To avoid this problem, ensure you clean your dog’s ears more frequently.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Like other large dogs, this breed is disposed to hip and elbow dysplasia. This knee and elbow dislocation is genetically inherited and causes the dog to have joint issues. To know whether your dog will have these conditions, you should get it tested by the breeder.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This condition is a group of degenerative diseases that affect these photoreceptor cells in the eyes. Once your dog gets this disease, the cells deteriorate over time and can lead to blindness.
English Coonhounds can get this chronic, non-contagious fungal infection caused by soil-dwelling fungi. To determine whether your dog has this infection, watch out for symptoms, including fever, depression, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Your dog can get bloated when the food is not well digested. The bloating can also affect the regular blood supply in your dog’s body, putting your pet at risk.
Male vs. Female
Both male and female English Coonhounds have the same features and characteristics. They grow to about the same height and weight and have a similar appearance. Therefore, if you are considering getting one for your family, you can choose either gender.
3 Little-Known Facts about the English Coonhound
1. This breed was made famous by George Washington.
The first American president, George Washington, was among the first owners of the English Coonhound. Having originated from Europe, these breeds started been primarily bred in America.
After the war and settler occupation by the Brits, George had developed an interest in the foxhounds and continued breeding them for hunting. He also started importing them to the U.S, which made them popular. The foxhounds were used to produce new generations of the Coonhounds.
2. They have a great sense of smell.
Compared to other dogs, English Coonhounds have unique abilities. For example, they can climb up trees to hunt raccoons, unlike other dog breeds. However, this was not always the case in the past years.
During the early years, the Virginia Coonhound had a weakness in keeping up with the scents of their prey. This issue affected the dog’s hunting abilities significantly. To correct this, breeders crossed the Coonhound with the Bloodhounds, which has stronger smelling skills.
From this breeding, the English Coonhound became an improved species that could hunt better.
3. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2011.
Despite existing in the U.S for many years, this dog breed got official recognition a few years ago. This delay was because the Coonhound had several similar species, among them the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound.
Over the years, the English Coonhound started gaining recognition as a separate breed. In 1995, the Foundation Stock Service from the AKC acknowledged this breed as a distinct species from the Coonhounds and Foxhounds.
The official recognition came in 2011 when the breed got cleared for competition in the Hound category.
If you need an active dog breed, then you should go for an English Coonhound. This friendly and loyal dog is good with families, kids and can get along with other pets if socialized well. Since it got bred as a hunting dog, it can be very protective to the family.
This breed will work well if you have a yard to run around and burn off some energy. On top of this, you should schedule periods of exercise for an hour or more each day since this dog is an active breed.
Take it along as you jog or take a hike to keep the pet happy. It will not be a perfect fit for an apartment due to the high energy and because it barks and howls a lot.
English Coonhounds are low maintenance in terms of grooming and are generally healthy. However, you should get all the background information from the breeder to ensure your dog is not prone to genetically inherited diseases. If you need an active hunting dog, this is the breed for you.
Looking for more hound dog breeds? We have 26 featured on our list!
Featured Image Credit: Richard Pross, Shutterstock