Coonhound is typically a very generic term used to describe any of several breeds that are used extensively (though not exclusively) in hunting raccoons. If you want to know the specifics, there are six breeds that are counted as Coonhounds. Any of the six, or any combination of these breeds, will typically generate a dog that can detect, track and tree raccoons.
Arguably, Black and Tans, Blueticks, Redbones and Walkers are the most common breeds included in the Coonhound category. The favorite breeds will depend on several factors, usually related to the region in which you live. Though most of these dogs will perform equally well in any part of the country, the fact is that some lines are simply more available in certain regions. That and personal preference are the main factors in determining what breeds the hunters are talking about when they refer to their Coonhounds.
In addition to these four breeds, Plott Hounds and English Hounds are also counted in this category by most hunters. The things all these breeds have in common include a tremendous nose and the ability to track in all kinds of weather. Some Coonhounds have been known to track a raccoon for many miles through the rain. Coonhounds also tend to have a tenacity that keeps them glued to the tree until their hunters arrive and claim the prize.
Another equally important point to some hunters are the distinctive bays - a joy to listen to even if the dogs spend hours tracking a raccoon without successfully treeing. The Plott Hound is a very healthy Coonhound. These dogs slobber - a lot. They easily move from woods to family hearth and back again. They're tolerant and quick to learn, making them a good all-round companion for the hunter and the non-hunter. The English Coonhound is an attractive dog, somewhat slender compared to some breeds but with the ability to stick with a trail long past the time that some other breeds give up.
The Black and Tan Coonhound's ancestry includes the Bloodhound. Though the Black and Tan makes an excellent Coonhound, it's not nearly so comfortable indoors as some other breeds. This dog has tremendous stamina and an attractive look, especially if you like the way the Bloodhound looks. The Black and Tan Coonhound has retained the long, drooping ears and worried expression common to the Bloodhound. This dog may be somewhat timid if not well socialized at an early age. Bluetick Coonhounds are another of the breeds that moves easily from indoors to out.
These dogs have incredible eyesight, a definite benefit for night hunting. Even though he hunts largely by smell, this breed is often able to combine sight hunting that makes him the preferred Coonhound of many hunters. Redbones were made popular by the book, "Where the Red Fern Grows." Some Redbone Coonhounds have some white markings, but most are solid red. These dogs also make good indoor companions. Walker Coonhounds were developed by two men from Kentucky, one named Walker.
These dogs derive from English Foxhounds and are a favorite of many American hunters. The breed is officially recognized as Treeing Walker Coonhounds.
For more information on Coonhounds and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Hound Dog Directory