American English Coonhounds are sweet-faced, muscular, and deep-chested dogs with a knack for hunting due to their endurance and speed. They have a medium-length coat that may be marked with different patterns and ticking.
The American English Coonhound has a broad head sporting a domed skull with low-hung ears. The breed's dark-brown eyes track the prey that they pursue. When not hunting, the American English Coonhound's temperament is mellow.
Unlike some other coonhounds, the American English Coonhound isn't exactly an ideal house dog. For one, the breed has a loud, ringing bark that can create disturbances for the owners. Plus, the breed has a strong drive for work and high energy levels that novice owners find hard to keep up with.
Some passionate coonhound fans believe that if you're not training the dog for hunting, it's a waste. It takes a lot of time and effort to train an American English Coonhound.
Characteristics of American English Coonhounds
Male American English Coonhounds range in height from 24 inches to 26 inches. Females can reach 25 inches tall at shoulder level. The American English Coonhound's weight ranges from 45 pounds to 65 pounds, and their lifespan is 11 to 12 years.
The typical American English Coonhound colors include black, blue, brown, red, white and tan, tri-colored, black and tan, and red and white.
The American English Coonhound has a short, smooth coat that does not shed much. You don't have to groom the coat regularly. Monthly grooming works best for the American English Coonhound. The breed doesn't drool much, either.
The American English Coonhound is a moderately affectionate dog. Although they're not as lovey-dovey as some other breeds, they like to play with their owners and are also good with children. They're very good with other dogs.
They're also moderately open to strangers. Since the American English Coonhound has a relatively protective nature, they can be watchdogs for the house. They tend to adapt to moderate changes but don't do well with drastic changes.
American English Coonhounds can be challenging to train, as they're not as eager to please as some smaller breeds. They also have high energy levels that the owner must keep up with. American English Coonhounds are highly vocal and have a loud bark. Their mental stimulation needs are moderate.
Caring for American English Coonhounds
Caring for your American English Coonhound is vital because your pet can live a long and healthy life with the proper care. However, American English Coonhounds are prone to specific health problems, so it is essential to be aware of these conditions and how to treat them.
It's imperative to train an American English Coonhound in its early years. If they don't get socialization training, coonhounds can become possessive of their family and home, leading to aggression.
You should facilitate positive interactions between your American English Coonhound and other people and animals from an early age. Doing so will help your coonhound understand that humans and other animals are not a threat.
The breed has a split personality. They are sweet companions at home but stubborn and tireless when hunting. Their strong prey drive and high energy levels make them difficult to train.
The patience and determination it takes to train an American English Coonhound make the dog perfect for experienced dog owners.
You should feed your American English Coonhound a high-quality diet, whether homemade or store-bought. The diet should be according to your pet's age.
If you're feeding them homemade food, prepare it under a vet's supervision. Talk to your vet to learn which human foods are safe for your American English Coonhound to eat and which ones are not.
It's also important to remember that coonhounds tend to gain weight as they age. You should watch your pet's calorie consumption to prevent obesity. While treats are a great positive reinforcement during training, they should not make up more than 10% of the coonhound's daily calorie intake.
Talk to your vet about which vaccinations are suitable for your American English Coonhound. All puppies should start with a series of vaccinations to protect them from disease. These include the four core vaccinations for adenovirus, rabies, parvovirus, and distemper. The vet may recommend additional non-core vaccinations depending on your dog’s risk levels, especially if they hunt.
As the pup ages, the vet will determine which booster vaccinations are necessary.
The American English Coonhound has a short, hard coat that does not need extensive care. You can use a rubber-nubbed grooming mitt or a shedding tool to groom your pet's coat and minimize shedding.
Grooming also helps distribute the oils in the skin, giving the coat a sleek and shiny appearance. You should trim your coonhound's nails once a month.
Bathe the American English Coonhound once a month or every six weeks to keep the coat healthy and clean, and clean the ears every week to remove any debris or wax.
American English Coonhounds are energetic, making perfect companions for hikers, bikers, and runners. Due to the American English Coonhound personality, the breed needs a lot of exercise. Staying active keeps them happy and healthy.
Since they have a strong prey drive, you should not take the coonhound off-leash if you're running with them in a dog park or public area. If they see a rabbit or squirrel, they will most likely take off after it without thinking twice.
American English Coonhounds also like to chase a ball or run around. Ensure your backyard is fenced to prevent your pet from running after moving vehicles or passersby.
Health Problems To Watch For With American English Coonhounds
American English Coonhounds are generally a healthy breed. Breeders screen for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. However, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to some conditions, such as cataracts and retinal atrophy.
American English Coonhounds may also have gastric dilation-volvulus, a common condition in larger breeds.
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)
Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), is a life-threatening condition in dogs with deep, narrow chests. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off its blood supply.
The condition is painful and can cause shock, organ damage, and death.
Signs of bloat include retching, restlessness, pain, and salivation. If your dog is not treated, they will go into shock in just an hour or two. After a while, their heart rate will increase, and their pulse will weaken, causing death.
The doctor will treat the shock condition before starting any treatment. After that, the treatment for bloat is surgery. During surgery, the stomach is untwisted, and the dog's chest cavity is opened so the dog can breathe.
If any piece of the stomach wall is damaged, the doctors will remove it. Unfortunately, almost 90% of dogs that get GDV once will get it again. Thus, the vets perform a procedure called gastropexy to prevent stomach twisting in the future. Gastropexy is a surgery in which the stomach is tacked to the abdominal wall.
Atrophy is when a body part or organ shrinks due to a loss of function or blood supply. Atrophy can occur in any tissue or organ in the body. In dogs, progressive retinal atrophy is an example of atrophy that leads to blindness.
Early signs of retinal atrophy in dogs are a loss of night vision and difficulty adjusting to changes in light. As the disease progresses, the dog's field of vision narrows, leading to blindness. Depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may lose their sight in a year or two.
Dogs develop cataracts when their eye lenses cloud. A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Clouding usually occurs gradually and affects vision in a small part of the field of view at first.
When the cataract covers the entire lens, your dog starts experiencing visual deficits, such as near-blindness or blindness. If the condition worsens, the lens begins shrinking. Inflammation in your dog's eyes is expected in this stage.
A vet will refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist who can remove the cataract surgically. In most cases, dogs have few or no complications from the surgery and can resume normal activity in just a few days.
Special Considerations for American English Coonhounds
Responsible breeders will make sure to perform screening before breeding. You should only get an American English Coonhound puppy from a breeder who can provide you with proof that the parents have been cleared of health conditions.
History of American English Coonhounds
The American English Coonhound is both American and English because it has an English ancestry but was born in America. The breed is one of the six types of coonhounds bred to hunt raccoons.
Sources say that American English Coonhounds descend from English Foxhounds, a breed that came to America in the 1800s. Breeders crossed the English Foxhounds with other breeds and created the American English Coonhound.
The breed could hunt raccoons at night and foxes during the day. American English Coonhounds have been popular among coon hunters since colonial times. In today's America, the English Coonhound is often considered the fastest coonhound breed.