A true “Southern” breed, the Bluetick Coonhound comes from Louisiana. The breed has been featured in popular media such as the TV show “Airwolf” and the Charlie Daniels Band song “Long Haired Country Boy.” A bluetick coonhound named Smokey is the mascot of the University of Tennessee.
History and Origin of the Bluetick Coonhound
The breed originally descended from the French Bleu de Gascogne and the English foxhound. The original bluetick breeders found themselves wanting a different type of hunter, larger with a “cold” nose (meaning a slower, but more determined tracker). This breed differentiation eventually became known as the bluetick coonhound.
Appearance and Size of the Bluetick Coonhound
The breed is named for its “ticked” or mottled black (or dark blue) and white pattern. With an athletic, slim build and long ears, blueticks are quite handsome with short, glossy coats. They typically range in size from 45-80 pounds.
Personality of the Bluetick Coonhound
Like many other types of hounds, the blueticks have a soft, pleading expression which endears them to their humans. They are generally friendly and happy, although are known to let their noses lead the way. Blueticks are interested in new visitors, and often give a thorough sniff upon entering the home. Being a hunting breed, they will tree any small animal (such as squirrels or raccoons) if given the chance. They require a decent amount of daily exercise, like long walks or hikes. Even if the bluetick will not be used for hunting, other dog sports would put those hunting skills to work, including nosework/tracking, agility, or even search and rescue.
Home and Family Relations with the Bluetick Coonhound
Bluetick coonhounds bond closely with their humans and enjoy all the creature comforts of a loving family: soft beds or furniture, riding in the car, and affectionate attention. They are generally good for families with children or other pets, including cats. They do love to bark and bawl when they come upon an interesting scent, so they may not be ideal for apartment or condo dwellers. They can also be excellent problem solvers, so interactive treat or feeding toys may help with mental stimulation.
Training of the Bluetick Coonhound
Being highly intelligent, early training is recommended. Blueticks are highly food motivated, so use of positive reinforcement techniques along with food and praise rewards are very effective. Once trained, the breed is very responsive and obedient.
Grooming of the Bluetick Coonhound
Bluetick coonhounds are low maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. Their short and glossy coats benefit from weekly brushing with a rubber curry brush and occasional baths (especially following an outdoor excursion). In addition, regular tooth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning is recommended.
Special Care of the Bluetick Coonhound
Because their noses often “call the shots,” care should be exercised to keep garbage and food secured to prevent dietary indiscretion. In addition, when out on walks or hikes, it is important to keep them securely on leash, as they can have the tendency to follow their noses when they find an interesting scent on the trail. Having a securely fenced yard can help reduce this at home as well.
Common Diseases and Disorders of the Bluetick Coonhound
Bluetick coonhounds are a generally healthy breed; however, there are some conditions for which they may be predisposed. These include hip dysplasia, bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus), and luxating patellas. If the bluetick is a hunter, injuries may be suffered in the field (such as attacks by raccoons). Lastly, their long, floppy ears can harbor yeast or bacteria, causing chronic ear infections.
Life Span of the Bluetick Coonhound
The average life span of the Bluetick Coonhound is approximately 11-12 years.