AKC Hound Group
By most accounts the Bluetick Coonhound is descended from English and American Foxhounds, as well as from the Bleu de Gascogne hound of France. The breed was mostly used to hunt raccoons, but also hunted boar, mountain lion, and deer. Initially known as a type of English Hound, the Bluetick was recognized as a separate breed by the United Kennel Club in 1941. Still used for hunting, the Bluetick is known for its indefatigable desire to follow a scent, its extreme powers of endurance, and its kindly spirit. The breed is the state dog of Tennessee. A Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey is the official sports mascot of the University of Tennessee. The breed received AKC recognition in 2009.
Streamlined and muscular, the Bluetick Coonhound presents a classic hound profile. The head should be broad between the ears with a slightly domed skull, prominent stop, and long, deep muzzle. The eyes are large, round, brown, and wide-set, with close-fitting rims. The expression should be soft and intelligent. The ears are thin and set low, and should reach the end of the nose when extended. The neck tapers slightly from shoulders to head; the body should show depth (versus width). The ribs are long and taper gradually toward what should be a moderate tuck-up. The back is muscular and the topline should slope slightly from withers to hips. The front legs are straight and muscular, and the shoulders should move freely. The hindquarters have muscular thighs and strong, slightly bent hocks. All four feet are round with thick, tough pads. The tail should be set low, but carried high with a half-moon curve.
The glossy coat is coarse and close to the body. The body is dark mottled blue, with large black spots on the back, ears, and sides (head and ears should be black). Tan markings (over the eyes, cheeks, chest, and below the tail) are acceptable. As a scent hound capable of tracking game for hours at a time, the dog’s appearance should be one of strength, power, and vigor. The Bluetick Coonhound should look neat and compact, not clumsy or chunky. His head and tail should be carried high. The voice is a medium bawl or bugle while trailing and steady “chop” (or short bark) when running or at the tree.
- Height: 22 to 27 in. (male); 21 to 25 in. (female)
- Size: Large
- Weight: 55 to 80 lbs. (male); 45 to 65 lbs. (female)
- Availability: Difficult to find
- Talents: Hunting, tracking
Coonhounds are excellent trackers. They tend to bark and bay loudly and often, but can be trained not to do so in the house or kennel. They need lots of exercise. Blueticks are prone to drooling when they smell human food and when they hunt game. The breed is also prone to cataracts, hip dysplasia, and Krabbes disease, a rare but fatal nervous-system disorder. Puppies are born mostly white except for large patches; ticking comes in later.
With its long, hanging ears, doleful expression, loyal temperament, and distinctly ticked coat, the Bluetick is a sure crowd pleaser. But these hounds aren’t for everyone. While friendly and super smart, they can be hard to control indoors (they are famed counter surfers), and equally hard to keep contained in a yard, as they tend to escape by digging under—or climbing over—fences. Good training will make them mind their owner, but even then, their keen noses might lead them to trouble (whether it’s getting into the garbage can or taking off after a squirrel). As working hound dogs, they need lots of space, lots of exercise, and lots of tracking work, as well as toys to keep them busy inside. They are generally good with other pets and excellent with children. They will bark at strangers, but after sniffing them all over, they tend to be accepting.
- Children: Excellent with children
- Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers
- Trainability: Somewhat difficult to train
- Independence: Moderately dependent on people
- Dominance: Moderate (not particularly dominant or submissive)
- Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
- Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
- Noise: Likes to bay
- Indoors: Moderately active indoors
- Owner: Not recommended for novice owners
- Grooming: A little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Short coat
- Shedding: Average shedder
- Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed
- Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
- Apartments: Not recommended for apartments
- Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
- Climate: Does well in most climates
- Longevity: Average (about 10 to 12 years)