The Redbone Coonhound, also known as the Redbone, the Redbone Hound and the Red Coon Dog, is truly an all-American breed. This is an easy-going, friendly, good-natured hound dog that is immediately recognizable by its beautiful, deep red coat. Redbones were bred to perpetuate their instinctive desire and talent for hunting and treeing raccoons and other large game, including bobcat, cougar and even bear. Redbone Coonhounds are surefooted and swift. They also are fantastic family dogs; they adore children and get along famously with other companion animals. Today, this is the only solid-colored purebred coonhound. The American Kennel Club accepted the Redbone Coonhound for full registration as a member of its Hound Group in 2009.
Solid red coonhounds have been documented in the United States since the 1700s. In the latter half of the 18th century, red foxhounds were brought to North America by Scottish immigrants. Other red scenthounds were imported from Ireland around the same time, just before the start of the Civil War. Combinations of those dogs, primarily orchestrated by breeders in Georgia and Tennessee, formed the foundation of what later became today's true-breeding Redbone Coonhounds. Early-on, no real attempt was made to develop red hounds that consistently bred true to type. Eventually, a small group of fanciers in the southern United States started a selective breeding program to develop a stable line of solid red hunting hounds that had hotter noses and were faster than other American coonhounds. The first few generations of these red scenthounds were called "Saddlebacks," because they often were born with a black, saddle-like patch over their backs. Selective breeding eventually eliminated the black patching, leaving a rich, solid red coat on a hound that consistently breeds true to type. The Georgian foxhunter, George L. F. Birdsong, is said to have owned some of the foundation stock of this breed.
There are two theories about the origin of the Redbone Coonhound's name. One is that the Redbone got its name from an early fancier and Tennessee coonhound breeder named Peter Redbone. Other enthusiasts believe that the breed was simply named for its distinctive, deep red coat color.
Today, the Redbone Coonhound has an established following well beyond its area of origin in the deep South. It is popular not only in America, but also in Canada, Mexico, South America and even Japan. The Redbone Coonhound continues to be an extraordinarily talented scenthound and treeing dog, known for its exceptional agility, speed, athleticism and swimming ability. It also is developing a presence in the AKC conformation show ring.
The average life span of the Redbone Coonhound is 12 to 14 years. This breed matures more slowly than most, both mentally and physically. Breed health concerns may include eye problems, hip dysplasia and obesity.
Redbone Coonhounds are determined, energetic, tenacious, tireless and fearless, especially while on the hunt. These personality traits are part of what make Redbones such fantastic scenthounds. In addition, Redbone Coonhounds are affectionate, friendly, kind-hearted, sensitive and extremely good with children and other animals. This is not a high-strung, fussy or clingy breed. Redbones adapt effortlessly to a wide variety of new situations. They are not suspicious or wary around strangers, nor are they overly boisterous or pushy. These are solid, stable hound dogs that can work in the field all day, and then comfortably relax with the family for a nice evening at home.
The Redbone Coonhound is a very athletic, active breed. Redbones require regular exercise to maintain healthy mental and physical fitness. They enjoy swimming and using their noses, so lots of time in the great outdoors is especially important for these dogs. Redbone Coonhounds are happiest when hunting is a regular part of their lives. If left alone and unattended for long periods of time, the Redbone can become bored and destructive due to its fairly independent and naturally curious nature. While Redbone Coonhounds are not "couch-potatoes," they do enjoy a warm, cozy nap just as much as the next person. After a full day of work or play, they usually can be found curled up at their owner's feet, completely content.
Redbone Coonhounds are sensitive, fairly "soft" dogs. They are slow to mature, both physically and mentally. As a result, they can take a bit more time to train than some other breeds. The Redbone's hunting instincts are so deeply ingrained that little or no training is required to teach it to trail and tree game. Other, more mundane obedience-type training (sit, stay, down, come, roll over, etc.) may require more creative methods to keep the Redbone's attention. Positive training, with lots of repetition and rewards, is the best way to train this breed.
Redbone Coonhounds are good natured, easy-going dogs. They don't startle easily, are not particularly vocal and have an independent streak that keeps them from being overly clingy. Redbones love to romp outside, and they especially love to swim. Most Redbones are enthusiastic eaters. Unfortunately, because of this, they have a tendency to become fat. They should be fed a top-quality diet to support their high energy requirements, but portions should be carefully managed to prevent obesity. Owners of Redbone Coonhounds should pay attention to their dog's weight, to be sure that they stay lean, happy and healthy.
Hunted from swamplands to mountains, the Redbone is surefooted and swift, even on the most difficult terrain. Well-balanced, with a flashy red coat and excellent cold nose, the powerfully built Redbone mingles handsome looks with a confident air and fine hunting talents.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size- Males - 22 to 27 inches. Females - 21 to 26 inches. Mid-range dog preferred. Proportion Length well proportioned to height. Should be equal in height from highest point of the shoulder blade to the ground as long measured from sternum to the buttocks. Slightly taller at shoulder than at hips. Substance- Weight should be in proportion with height and bone structure. Working dogs not to be penalized for being slightly underweight. Well boned according to size of dog.
Expression - Pleading. Eyes - Dark brown to hazel in color, dark preferred. Set well apart. No drooping eyelids. Eyes round in shape. Faults - Yellow eyes, drooping eyelids. Ears -Set moderately low, fine in texture. Reaching near the end of the nose when stretched out. Proportioned to head. Faults - Stiff to the touch. Appearing to be attached only to the skin, instead of firmly attached to the head. Skull - Moderately broad. Shape is flat. Faults - Narrow across top, excess of dome, pointed dome. Muzzle - Square. Well balanced with other features of the head. Faults - Dished or upturned muzzle. Not in proportion with head. Nose - Nostrils large and open, black in color, never pink. Faults - Any color other than black. Teeth - Scissors bite preferred. Even bite acceptable. Faults - Overshot or undershot.
Neck, Topline And Body
Neck - Medium in length, strong, slightly arched and held erect, denoting proudness. Throat -Slight fold of skin below the angle of jaw, clean throat is permissible. Faults - Too long, too thick, not in proportion with head and body. Topline - slightly taller at the withers than at the hips. Fault - Hips higher than withers. Body - Chest - Deep, broad. Ribs - Well sprung to provide optimal lung capacity, denoting stamina. Back - Strong. Faults - Roach or sway back. Loin - Slightly arched. Tail - Medium length, very slight brush and saber-like. Faults - Not strong at root, heavy brush, Setter-like plume, curl tail.
Shoulders - Clean and muscular. Shoulder angulation should have a perfect 90-degree angle or close. Legs - Straight, well-boned. The forelegs will be set under dog and feet under his withers, not under ears. Pasterns - Straight, well set, clean and muscular, denoting both speed and strength. Faults - Forelegs crooked, out at elbows. Feet - Cat-paw type, compact, well padded. Toes - Stout, strong and well-arched. Nails - Well-set. Faults - Flat feet, open feet, hind dewclaws.
Thighs - Clean and muscular. Fault - Cowhocked. Hindquarters should have the same angulation as the forequarters. Well boned.
Short, smooth, coarse enough to provide protection.
Solid red preferred. Dark muzzle and small amount of white on brisket and feet permissible. Faults: White on feet extending beyond toes. More white on brisket than an open hand will cover. White stockings on legs.
Determined, steady, and proud, with good reach and drive.
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Sources: American Kennel Club