The Black and Tan Coonhound looks something like his cousin the Bloodhound, from whom he's descended. But he is leaner and doesn't have the wrinkles in his face that the Bloodhound has. His outline is smooth. This dog was developed in the southern United States, and among his other ancestors are Foxhounds, including the Virginia Foxhound of Colonial days.
The Black and Tan Coonhound likes lots of fresh air and action-packed exercise. He loves to be with people, though he can be suspicious of strangers, and he may not take to new dogs right away. The Black and Tan, properly exercised, behaves nicely in the house (though he may expect to snuggle up on the sofa). He sheds year round, but weekly brushing keeps this under control.
The Black and Tan is serious when it comes to hunting. He is called "Coonhound" with good reason. When he picks up the scent of a raccoon and chases it up a tree, he bays loudly. This singing is called "barking up."
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: A working hound, capable of withstanding harsh winters and hot summers with courage, friendliness, power, agility, and alertness.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, 25 to 27 inches at the withers; females, 23 to 25 inches.
A Black and Tan Coonhound inspired this famous tribute to dogs, written in the late nineteenth century by United States Senator George Vest of Missouri:
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world is his dog. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world.
He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.