The Breed History
The origins of this breed likely trace back to the Talbot Hound in 11th century England. Later, admixture with American Foxhound and Bloodhound, and the black and tan Virginia Foxhound is likely. The AKC registry admitted the first of this breed in 1945 after a period of breed development in the Southern USA of approximately 200 years.
Breeding for Function
These dogs were bred for hunting raccoons and opossum. Their manner of hunting is similar to the Bloodhound. They move slowly at a determined pace with head down and follow the scent, giving loud voice when ready for the hunter. This signal means the quarry is treed. The dog has also been used for other game such as deer and bear. They are bred to withstand temperature extremes and rough terrain.
Height at Withers: female 23-25" (58.5-63.5 cm), male 25-27" (63.5-68.5 cm).
Weight: 55-75 lb (25-34 kg).
Coat: The coat is glossy, short and dense with a black background highlighted by rich tan markings. This includes a small pumpkin seed sized tan marking above each eye. Any white except a tiny patch of less than 1" (2.5 cm) is a disqualification.
Longevity: 11-12 years
Points of Conformation: An athletic hound with long smooth gait, and moderate musculature and bone, the males are more heavily built. The head is about 9" (23 cm) long, expression is alert, nose is black colored. The flews are well developed. Eyes are brown to hazel, and round. Ears are set low on the head, and are very long and pendulous. They have a medium stop. The neck is medium in length and thickness, and topline is level, the thorax deep and ribs well sprung. The thick tapering tail is carried up when on scent. Feet are compact, and the toes well knuckled up with black nails. The limbs are straight boned.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed traits include: Friendly, though some individuals are reserved, watchful, and obedient. Noted to be very intelligent, with an independent streak, and when off leash, need to be restricted to a fenced enclosure. They have high exercise needs, though exhibit low activity levels around the home. Low grooming needs, and a high drooling tendency also characterizes the breed.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 14.9% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 1.6% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Black and Tan Coonhounds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Hemophilia B (Factor IX Deficiency): Rare, X-linked recessive coagulation disorder causing severe bleeding in this breed.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 10.0% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Coonhound Paralysis (Polyradiculoneuritis): Disorder of acute paralysis due to transient demyelination, similar to Guillain-BarrР№ syndrome. Caused by exposure to raccoon saliva in genetically susceptible dogs. Affected dogs can recover, but must be supported during remyelinization.
Retinal Dysplasia: Focal folds are seen in the breed. Identified in 6.02% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Anterior cataracts predominate, although anterior, nuclear, and capsular cataracts also occur in the breed. Unknown mode of inheritance. Identified in 4.22% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Black and Tan Coonhound with a cataract.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 3.01% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Ectropion: Rolling out of eyelids, often with a medial canthal pocket. Can also cause conjunctivitis. Ectropion is reported in 1.91% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 1991-1999. None were reported between 2000-2005.
Entropion: Rolling in of eyelids, often causing corneal irritation or ulceration. Entropion is reported in 1.91% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 1991-1999. None were reported between 2000-2005.
Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 1.20% of Black and Tan Coonhounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Inherited degeneration of the retina leading to blindness. Clinically evident by 2 years of age. There may be more than one form of PRA in the breed. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Cryptorchidism, Gastric Dilatation-volvulus, and Pelger-Huet Anomaly are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Disseminated Melanoma: An 11-year-old, Black and Tan Coonhound presented with lameness and osteolysis in the right distal femur and a pulmonary mass. Neoplastic melanocytes were observed from aspirates of the femoral and pulmonary masses. Postmortem examination revealed a disseminated melanoma involving the right femoral bone marrow, lung, multiple lymph nodes, and adrenal gland, with diffuse infiltration of the leptomeninges of the brain and spinal cord.
Tests of Genotype: none
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC certification: Required testing includes hip radiographs, CERF eye examination, and congenital cardiac evaluation. Optional testing includes elbow radiographs and thyroid profile including autoantibodies. (See CHIC website; www. caninehealthinfo.org). Recommend patella evaluation.
- Breed name synonyms: Coonhound, Black and Tan, American Black and Tan Coonhound.
- Registries: AKC, CKC, UKC, (Here known as the American Black and Tan Coonhound), NKC.
- AKC rank (year 2008): 42 (3,222 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: American Black and Tan Coonhound Club: www.abtcc.com
American Black and Tan Coonhound Association: www.abtcha.net
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