How to Identify a Black and Tan Coonhound
If you are in the market for a black and tan coonhound, it is important that you are able to recognize the dog’s physical and behavioral characteristics. Identifying the dog’s distinctive physical features and temperament will ensure that you find the dog you are looking for. If you are still unsure, you might also contact a veterinarian or talk to a professional breeder to determine the dog’s heritage.
Identifying Physical Characteristics
1. Look for the distinctive black and tan coloring.
As its name might imply, the black and tan coonhound’s coat is a dark black with tan accents that can be found on its face, neck, legs, and chest. Most black and tan coonhounds have distinctive tan spots above their eyes called “pumpkin seeds.”
- A black and tan coonhound’s coat will be short and dense.
2. Expect a large, tall body.
A black and tan coonhound is a larger-sized dog. The dog has a long-boned body that resembles that of the bloodhound but is slightly more compact.
- Male coonhounds measure 25 to 27 inches (64 to 69 cm) at the shoulder, while females measure 23 to 25 inches (58 to 64 cm) at the shoulder. Males and females weigh between 55 and 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg).
3. Look for long, floppy ears.
Like other members of the hound family, the black and tan coonhound has distinctively long ears. These floppy ears hang down below the dog’s jaw and flap as the animal runs. The ears are black, like much of its body, and improve the dog’s sense of smell by wafting the scent towards its nose.
4. Check for jowls and a long muzzle.
The black and tan coonhound has a long oval-shaped head. The elongated shape is due to its long muzzle and powerful nose. In addition, the black and tan coonhound has droopy jowls that hang down off its muzzle. All of these features facilitate the coonhound’s renowned sense of smell.
5. Watch the dog’s tail.
A black and tan coonhound will have a fairly long, thin tail that tapers at the end. When the dog is in action (such as following a scent), it’s tail will perk up and bend at a slight right angle.
Determining Behavioral Traits
1. Listen for a loud bark.
Black and tan coonhounds have an extremely loud and distinctive bark that can be heard for miles. The notable “arf arf” of the black and tan coonhound resembles the sound that a seal makes but in a much deeper tone. The dog often lets out this noisy bark when they are excited by a new scent or are playing.
2. Look for constant sniffing.
Like other members of the hound family, the black and tan coonhound loves to sniff. When on a walk, the dog will constantly sniff its surroundings and, when it encounters a new human, will give them a thorough smelling. Because its urge to sniff is so strong that it can wander off, the black and tan coonhound needs a leash when walked and a securely fenced backyard.
3. Notice if the dog is stubborn.
Black and tan coonhounds can be difficult dogs to train. They are easily distracted and can be rambunctious. However, if trained properly, they can be very useful hunting dogs.
Verifying the Dog’s Heritage
1. Chat with the owner.
Talk to the owner and ask them if they know their dog’s heritage. Be sure to approach with a smile on your face and use a friendly tone. They will likely know, or at least, have an idea of their dog’s breed.
- You might say something like “Hello, that is a really nice looking dog. What breed is it?” or “Hi, what a beautiful dog. Is that a black and tan coonhound?”
2. Talk to a veterinarian.
If you adopt or purchase a dog and are unsure of its breed, a veterinarian should be able to tell you. They will examine the dog’s physical characteristics and let you know whether your dog is a black and tan coonhound. If your dog is not a purebred, they may be able to tell you what breeds make up your dog’s heritage.
3. Visit a breeder.
If you purchase a dog from a breeder, be sure to inquire about the parentage of your dog. Ask to see the paperwork to show that the American Kennel Club recognizes both parents as black and tan coonhounds. In addition, a breeder may be able to help you identify the heritage of your dog, even if you did not purchase it from them.
4. Check the dog’s breed using an app.
If you have a photo of the dog, you can scan it in an app on your smartphone to determine its heritage. Applications, like Microsoft’s Fetch!, will tell you what breeds your dog resembles. Although it is not the most accurate means of identifying whether your dog is a black and tan coonhound, it might help you get a better understanding of its heritage.
5. Test the dog’s DNA.
For a more accurate detailing of your dog’s background, you might want to purchase a commercial DNA testing kit. A kit can be ordered online and used in the comfort of your home. Simply swab the inside of your dog’s mouth and mail the sample back to the company for testing. Once the testing is complete, you will get a set of results that tell you whether your dog is a black and tan coonhound.
- Some kits use a blood sample instead of a cheek swab, which will need to be collected by your veterinarian. While less convenient than swab tests, blood tests decrease the chance of a contaminated sample.