Introduction Of Bluetick Coonhound Dog
Like many Coonhounds, the Bluetick gets its name from its coat, which is covered in black hairs that give it the mottled, or “ticked” pattern for which it is named. This is a medium-sized, sturdy, athletic animal that was bred to trail and tree raccoons and other small game. Today, in addition to its hunting talents, the Bluetick Coonhound is competitive in the conformation and performance show rings and excels in many active outdoor canine sports. It also has become a beloved family companion. The American Kennel Club admitted the Bluetick Coonhound for full registration in 2009, as a member of its Hound Group.
Bluetick Coonhound Dog Breed Quick Facts
Bluetick Coonhound – Appearance & Grooming
The Bluetick Coonhound should look like the dog it was bred to be: a stout, sturdy, speedy and well-muscled hound. It should never appear clumsy, course or overly-chunky. Blueticks have compact bodies, shiny coats and kind, keen dark eyes. They have long, low-set, fairly thin ears and distinctive tan markings on their muzzles and lower legs. When in motion, the Bluetick carries its head and “half-moon” tail well up and proudly.
Size and Weight
Adult male Bluetick Coonhounds should be between 22 and 27 inches at the withers and typically weigh between 55 and 85 pounds. Females should be between 21 and 25 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 65 pounds. The weight and size of this breed should be in proportion to its height, so that the animal always looks balanced.
Coat and Color
Bluetick Coonhounds have short-to-medium length, glossy, slightly coarse coats that lay close to their lean bodies. Their coats should not be extremely rough or especially short.
The preferred color for this breed is a deep, dark blue. While the Bluetick Coonhound’s coat appears to be blue, it actually is tricolor, made up of a combination of black, tan and white hairs. The darker colors usually predominate. Thickly-mottled body patterns, with well-distributed black spots or patches, are highly desirable. A fully-mottled dark body is preferred over occasional ticking on a lightly-colored background. There should be more “blue” than white in the base body coat. The Bluetick’s head and ears are usually black. They may or may not have tan markings above their eyes, on their cheeks and chest and underneath their tail. Many Blueticks have reddish ticking on their feet and lower legs. No other colors or markings are allowed under the American standard for this breed.
The coat of the Bluetick Coonhound is fairly easy to care for. They only require an occasional brushing to keep their coats clean and glossy. Blueticks are not heavy-shedders. Their large, long ears should be cleaned and checked regularly for any signs of infection. They only need to be bathed when dirt or odor become especially noticeable.
Bluetick Coonhound – History and Health
The Bluetick Coonhound is a fairly new dog breed. It was developed in the southern United States in the early 1900s, for the specific purpose of hunting raccoons and other small wild animals. Its ancestors include the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, the Staghound and other French hounds that were brought to America during the early days of colonization. Traders, dog dealers and other people traveling through isolated rural areas of the deep South could not help but notice those beautifully–voiced hound dogs, which contributed to most of the present Coonhound breeds. American hunters found the French hounds to be too slow on the tracking trail. However, when they crossed them with American hounds, they found that the offspring had better cold-nosed trailing abilities and improved endurance. (Having a “cold nose” refers to a dog’s ability to follow an old trail left by whatever animal is being pursued.) Combinations of French hounds, English Foxhounds, Bloodhounds and a number of American dogs of unknown ancestry led to today’s Bluetick Coonhound, which is now recognized as a breed in its own right.
In the early days of their development, different strains of Blueticks were known by the various geographical regions where they were bred and lived. The most well-known of these were the Ozark Mountain, Sugar Creek, Old Line, Smokey River and Bugle lines. The Bluetick Coonhound was first registered by the United Kennel Club (UKC) under the name “English Coonhound”. However, Bluetick breeders wanted to retain and promote the larger size, colder nose and slower hunting style of their dogs, rather than lumping them together with the hotter-nosed, fleeter and less stoic English hounds. In 1945, American Bluetick breeders formally rejected the UKC’s “English Coonhound” designation and directed their efforts toward establishing their breed as the Bluetick Coonhound, for once and for all. The United Kennel Club officially recognized the Bluetick Coonhound as an independent breed in 1946. For a short time after that, Coonhound puppies with blue ticking were called Blueticks, and those with red ticking were called English Coonhounds. This practice stopped as each different variety of Coonhound gained its own staunch supporters and became independently recognized as separate breeds. In 2009, the American Kennel Club accepted the Bluetick Coonhound for full registration as a member of its Hound Group.
Bluetick Coonhounds are a fairly healthy, hardy breed. Their average lifespan is 10 to 12 years. Their large, pendulous ears are prone to becoming infected and should be checked and cleaned regularly. This breed has an increased risk of developing a neurological condition called polyradiculoneuritis, which is similar to Guillain-Barre Syndrome in humans. It usually presents as a sudden, progressive paralysis in all four legs. Most dogs spontaneously recover from this condition slowly over time. Some dogs are thought to develop polyradiculoneuritis as a result of being bitten by raccoons, which is why the disorder is also sometimes referred to as “Coonhound Paralysis.” However, many dogs that develop this condition have no history of exposure to raccoons or raccoon saliva.
Bluetick Coonhound – Temperament & Personality
Bluetick Coonhounds are smart, easygoing dogs that are affectionate, loyal and uniformly devoted to their owners. While they have a tremendous amount of natural energy, Blueticks also enjoy relaxing at in front of the fire, at their owners’ feet or on the couch, when they are not tracking and treeing raccoons or other animals. Blueticks are fond of children and make wonderful, trustworthy family members.
Bluetick Coonhounds are extremely high-energy animals that definitely need a job to do to stay happy, fit and focused. This breed loves to hunt and also enjoys participating in obedience, tracking, utility, agility and almost any other active outdoor canine sport. Without vigorous daily exercise, Blueticks can become bored and potentially destructive.
Bluetick Coonhounds are smart, sensible and stable. They also are unusually sensitive. As a result, kind, consistent, positive training methods work best with this breed, as they do with most others. Because Blueticks can be a somewhat stubborn, their owners should start obedience training and socialization at a very young age. It is not difficult for dedicated Bluetick owners to train and socialize their dogs. It just will take a bit of time and patience, on both parties’ parts. Repetition and consistency are the hallmarks of training this breed successfully.
Bluetick Coonhounds are known to have what is referred to as “the good hound-dog bawl.” This refers to their unique musical vocalization skills. These are intelligent, ambitious, fearless hunting dogs that will work tirelessly to track and tree their targets. Blueticks have the ability and natural endurance to stay on the oldest and most delicate of trails for hours or even days on end, which makes them terrific companions for active hunters and sporting households. Bluetick Coonhounds are considered to be “free-tonguers,” which means that they periodically make a medium-loud, melodic bugle when on the hunt. The American Kennel Club standard for the breed describes that the Bluetick “should be a free tonguer on trail, with a medium bawl or bugle voice when striking and trailing, which may change to a steady chop when running and a steady coarse chop at the tree.” Blueticks should not be trusted off-leash in wide-open areas, because their keen noses are likely to lead them astray. This breed has a strong prey drive and is naturally inclined to chase and pounce on anything that is smaller than them and that moves. This includes children and small animals. Fortunately, if they are well-socialized with pets and kids from an early age, Blueticks can accept them and overcome their prey instincts. They seem to love being in the company of other dogs and typically adore children, once they get to know them.