Because hunting and tracking has largely fallen by the wayside, the Black and Tan Coonhound is a breed not commonly seen in many homes these days. It still remains an extremely popular choice with hunters and it has also made quite an impact on law enforcement and search and rescue programs. As it was from its early beginnings, the docile breed has only one thing in mind and that is to catch the scent of leads and follow them. This has made them invaluable not only in the days when hunting was a primary source of food but also now; especially when it comes to important tasks such as finding lost and missing persons. Yet, the Black and Tan Coonhound also pops up amongst some of the most important names of history.
While the breed has its beginnings in Europe, the actual Black and Tan Coonhound of today was developed approximately three hundred years ago in the United States. One of the most central figures in this development was none other than George Washington himself. An avid hunter and tracker in his spare time, Washington knew the importance of having a dog that could catch and keep the scent of clever animals and also be big enough and have the stamina to take on cougars or bears. Historians report it is a well known fact that the Founding Father kept his beloved pack of hounds at his home in Mt. Vernon.
Another Black and Tan Coonhound enthusiast was Thomas Jefferson. Another avid hunter, the man who would be the third president of the United States felt the breed was an all round spectacular hunter and family dog as well. Of his beloved Coonhounds, he is quoted as saying, 'How one deals with their Coonhound's slobber is the most telling way of how one deals with everyday problems; after all he is your best friend.' While he had other dogs as well, Jefferson doted on his floppy eared hunting companions most, keeping his own pack of Black and Tan Coonhounds at his Monticello home.
Even though hunting and tracking is an activity taken up by only a small percentage of the population, there are still regular glimpses of the Black and Tan Coonhound in different parts of the media. Their droopy jowls and floppy ears have made for an endearing caricature and they are often found in commercials and movies. The Duke, a 1999 feature, stars a Black and Tan Coonhound in the leading role. Because the breed is so good natured, it is often used as part of drug awareness programs that look to make an impression on kindergarten aged children. The dog is also used in many training videos for educating K9 units.