OVERVIEW OF THE REDBONE COONHOUND
The Redbone Coonhound is a medium-sized hound with a beautiful red coat, a plaintive expression typical of hounds, and a lovely voice that booms out when they’re hunting. They also bark excessively when not hunting and require much patience to train.
These diligent hounds are suitable for both companionship and hunting. Redbone Coonhound puppies grow into great adults when they undergo early socialization — especially when joining a family with small children or cats, which enables them to adapt to new scents, people, and settings swiftly. But, even with well-trained dogs, you must always oversee playtime between dogs and children. They need a lot of physical and mental exercise because they’re a clever and active breed; otherwise, they could become bored and misbehave. Keep them occupied, and you’ll have a cheerful, energetic family member.
Although they’re quite intelligent, if they aren’t specifically looking for anything, their laid-back nature means they are easily distractible (“squirrel!”).
Redbone Coonhounds’ family tree isn’t entirely clear. According to the United Kennel Club (UKC), the English foxhound breeder George F.L. Birdsong brought his dogs to Georgia in the mid-1800s, where he mixed them with bloodhounds and other European hounds, including the Irish wolfhound and the Grand Bleu de Gascogne.
Redbones were once known as “saddlebacks” because of their distinctive dark “saddle.” The saddle eventually disappeared as breeders attempted to achieve a more true-to-type uniform red coat and a body conformation. It’s believed that the term Redbone refers not just to the dog’s fur but also to Peter Redbone, a prominent hound breeder in Tennessee.
The major breeding objective was to produce a scent hound with extraordinary tracking skills. Colonial American hunters depended on Redbone Coonhounds to find food for their families, including foxes, deer, and raccoons, as well as greater animals such as cougars, bobcats, and bears. The sharp nose, great stamina, and inherent persistence of a coonhound enabled it to track animals easily. The Redbone also acquired an excellent “cold nose,” which allows it to recognize an old scent and pursue it.
In 1902, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Redbone Coonhound as a separate breed. It wasn’t until 2010 that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Redbone continues to be a popular choice for household pets.
REDBONE COONHOUND TRAITS
A Redbone Coonhound dog’s stunning, smooth and short, ruddy coat distinguishes him from other hounds and makes him an exceptionally handsome pup. While breeders made a deliberate decision ages ago to accentuate his red coloring, some Redbones may occasionally have a dab of white on their paws because of their ancestors.
From his upbeat demeanor to the tip of his slender, arched tail, a Redbone is prepared for action! Its high and long hindquarters enable it to leap over varied terrain and wade through wetlands with ease. A slim Redbone has the physique of an endurance athlete, meaning they are muscular without being overly bulky.
Female Redbone Coonhounds are similar in size to their male counterparts, standing around the same height and weighing the same number. They’re each between 21 to 27 inches tall and between 45 to 70 pounds.
Rounded, bright eyes of hazel, brown, or amber that glance at you with devotion and eagerness reveal the sweet Redbone Coonhound’s character. Its long, smooth ears curl around its broad muzzle, just below the jaw, and are incredibly pleasant to the touch.
A Redbone Coonhound is not prone to hanging on the front porch, but it does appreciate cuddling up with family members at the end of the day. But remember, it will want to sniff and inspect numerous things first. Redbones thrive under the care of informed dog owners who recognize their need for constant and different physical and mental stimulation.
Redbones tend to be low-key but sometimes may get highly energetic at times. They tend to get hyperactive at times and possess a great deal of energy because of their primary function as hunting dogs.
While calm and sociable with its family, a Redbone Coonhound’s attention is unwavering during night hunts and field activities like bench show water races and hunt tests. These training exercises appeal to the innate impulses of a Redbone. They were bred particularly to meet these challenges.
They can be amusing in serious situations and genuinely enjoy spending time with their families. Their playful disposition makes them excellent family dogs because they enjoy the company of youngsters and see no reason to separate themselves from you.
If you want a dog that won’t jump on the furniture or sneak into bed with you, a Redbone isn’t the breed for you. And you should know that those begging eyes can be quite persuasive.
A Redbone’s propensity for being a chatterbox goes hand in hand with his bursts of energy and zaniness. Hunters expect to hear their “singing” (also called crooning or baying) so that they can track down their Redbone and its prey. If you’re familiar with howling, you’ll recognize the similarities between baying and their sound. Redbones are verbally expressive in different ways, including groans, grumbles, whines, grunts, and moans. They don’t engage in constant barking, but when they do, it’s a distinct, deep bark that’s distinctly audible and easily detected.
Be aware of them if you have noisy neighbors or a lot going on nearby. If they’re fidgety or bored, they may get interested in anything as mundane as a package arriving at the door or leaves blowing past a window, making it all the more important to give them meaningful activities to participate in.
TRAINING AND EXERCISE
While Redbones are generally easygoing and tolerant of new situations, their restless energy and natural curiosity require regular exercise, and their houndy howling isn’t always music to the ears of their human neighbors. With that said, a Redbone dog in a more urban area may be content with regular exhilarating treks in the woods or running tracks nearby that tempt his nose and pique his interest, provided that his new owner combines these possibilities with the right mental stimulation.
Redbone Coonhounds are happiest when they have a fenced-in yard to run around in and sniff around. Redbones are notorious boundary testers. Playgrounds should have high fencing that they can’t easily climb or jump over. It’s important to set up rules and rituals for them from an early age. Short training sessions spread out throughout the day are most effective.
Spend some time training a Redbone to wear a harness so it won’t run off after catching a whiff and leaving you behind. Puppy kindergarten is a great place to start training your new Redbone Coonhound for life by teaching them basic manners like walking well on a leash, coming when called, and responding to your commands with appropriate vocalizations. Being scent hounds by definition, they tend to follow their noses, which might get them into trouble. The harness and leash should be worn even on non-sporting walks.
Early exposure to new people and animals, such as cats, small dogs, and children, aids in acclimatization. These fare best in a family where they are included in daily life, and they enjoy living with other dogs.
Redbones are highly sensitive and that’s why it’s important to ease an adult adoptee into the family gradually if it comes from an unknown background. Some Redbones may never lose track and trail hound tendencies, so it’s crucial to know how they’ll react in a home with a cat and other small pets. Working with an animal behaviorist could be helpful if his history is unknown, or you could wait to get a Redbone until you already have other large dogs at home.
Additionally, you should know that not all breeders are the same. Do your research and take your time choosing a breeder that specializes in the appearance and temperament of the dogs you want.
FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE REDBONE COONHOUNDS
Your Redbone Coonhound should grow on superior dog food, whether you get it from a pet store or cook it yourself under your vet’s supervision. Dogs of all ages need age-appropriate diets (puppy, adult, or senior). The caloric intake and body mass index of some dogs tend to be excessive, so make sure your dog gets enough food. While treats can be a helpful training tool, excessive doling out can lead to weight gain. Find out what kinds of human food can be fed to your dog and what can’t. If you’re worried about your dog’s nutrition or weight, it’s best to consult a vet.
Health concerns of Redbone Coonhound
Although the Redbone Coonhound only has a 15-year lifespan, that’s really good for a canine of its size. Most of those years should be spent in full health for this hound, but your dog is still at risk for a few common problems among Coonhounds.
If you own a hound, you’ve probably observed that its ears hang loosely. While endearing, this characteristic has been linked to chronic infections of the outer ear skin and ear canal. If your dog has an ear infection, you might see them looking angry or shaking their head as if something were trapped in their ear, or you might see them clawing at the afflicted ear.
If your dog is acting strangely, it’s recommended to arrange a vet appointment to determine what’s going on. You should not treat a probable ear infection without your veterinarian’s assistance. Untreated or improperly treated ear infections in your dog can result in hearing loss, vision difficulties, and vertigo.
Redbone Coonhounds frequently suffer from hip dysplasia, a genetic condition that results in the abnormal development of the hip joints and eventually leads to arthritis. One or both of its rear legs may be lame, making it hard to stand up from a reclining position. Some dogs with moderate dysplasia have no symptoms, and the problem never causes discomfort. If you have worries about your dog’s hips, especially if you own a breed known to suffer dysplasia, consult your veterinarian immediately.
A condition known as Coonhound paralysis rapidly impairs limb function and can occasionally result in total paralysis, but it gradually gets better over time. Although it can happen to dogs who have never encountered raccoons, it typically happens after a dog has been bitten by one. An adverse response to raccoon saliva is thought to be the root cause. Most Redbone Coonhounds heal within a few weeks with attentive care and therapy.
Pelger-Huet anomaly is a very uncommon blood condition that might affect your Redbone Coonhound. If your dog carries the disease, its white blood cells that fight infections look abnormal under a lens but work normally. But, puppies who inherit a copy of this defective gene from both parents typically pass away before or soon after birth. That’s why it is crucial to identify breeding dogs that are carriers of this condition and prevent them from producing affected puppies.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR REDBONE COONHOUNDS
While Redbone Coonhounds love to run and play in the great outdoors, they also appreciate the comforts of home when the weather turns cold. If they aren’t doing a lot of jogging, a warm coat or sweater will do for a casual outing. They may also enjoy lounging on their own plush bed or couch, but it won’t stop them from hogging yours.
Overall, they’re a resilient and low-maintenance species. The short, sleek coat of thin hair of a redbone coonhound is not “hypoallergenic,” but with regular brushing, the shedding is minimal. It won’t need frequent baths unless it comes into contact with something unpleasant on the trail.
Checking and cleaning your dog’s ears weekly is essential, especially if you own a floppy-eared breed like a Redbone. Ear infections in Coonhounds are typically caused by a combination of yeast and bacteria and are easily treated. Coonhound owners should regularly clean their dogs’ ears to prevent ear infections. Home remedies such as peroxide, alcohol, or vinegar were once thought to be effective in cleaning a dog’s ears. Still, these products can be uncomfortable or dangerous if eardrums are damaged. So, it is recommended to massage a tiny amount of formulated ear cleaner into the ear canal and remove any excess fluid using a cotton ball.
The unwillingness of redbone dogs to have their nails trimmed is the most common maintenance concern reported by redbone dog owners. If nail trimming is not part of their regular routine, they will avoid them at all costs.