A Presidential Hound – The American English Coonhound

The American English Coonhound might have only been formally recognized by the AKC last year, but their origins can be traced back to hounds brought to America by settlers as early as the 1600.  It’s seems fitting to be discussing this breed on Presidents’ day, as the American English Coonhound developed from “Virginia Hounds” imported to these United States by (among others) our first President, George Washington.  (Across the pond, they were known as English Foxhounds.) This breed can be described as loyal, athletic, loud, never shy, super smart, and energetic.

American English Coonhound - one good lookin' hound dog!

Sounds great!  So you want an American English Coonhound as a pet?  Well, you better be willing to provide high levels of exercise….and LOTS of attention.  And LOTS of exercise.  I found it amusing that a few sources warn against getting this breed as a pet if you are a person who does not want to have your pooch on your furniture or in your bed…as they are “incessant nesters.”  They are great pets, but might not be for you if you already have a small animal in your family.  They have a “strong instinct” to hunt.  In other words, don’t let them off leash if there are squirrels or kitties about!

An American English Coonhound "Treeing"

That strong instinct is what makes this breed (like most hounds) so popular with hunters.  That nose of theirs can track big and small animals alike.  I read about them hunting everything from raccoons to bears, foxes to deer, cougars to your neighbor’s cat.  Maybe the most interesting thing I learned when researching the American English Coonhound is that this breed is used for “treeing.”  Treeing is a method of hunting where a dog chases an animal up into a tree and does not stop barking until the hunter has shot the (poor!) animal down.  The American English Coonhound is tenacious (their main health problem they have is overheating due to the face they have a hard time pacing themselves.) Sometimes  they just won’t let up – even when they are mistaken and there is no prey….or the prey has jumped to another tree.  This is where the expression “barking up the wrong tree” comes from.  You learn something new every day!

Now that you’ve read up on just what it takes to be accepted into the American Kennel Club, you might be interested to know that the American English Coonhound joined the Miscellaneous Class on January 1, 2010 and official became part of the AKC’s hound group on June 30, 2011 (as the 171st breed.)

2012 Westminster Dog Show's American English Coonhound Best of Breed - GCH Alexanders Color Me Bad Ginn