There are several of the hound breeds that make outstanding companion pets and really do adjust very well to being indoor and outdoor dogs. They are not suited to living situations where the dog has to stay indoors for prolonged periods of time however and are recommended only for urban households with medium to large sized well fenced yards. This because the Black and Tan Coonhound, like all others in this group, has been bred to travel long distances on the trail of an animal and needs to have lots of physical exercise in order to stay physically as well as mentally in shape.
The Black and Tan Coonhound is also a bit of a couch potato if not encouraged to exercise. They can easily become very content just lounging around the house or yard, so they will need routine time for structured exercise. They don't need to be out running, but an active family that plays with the dog, can commit to fairly long, brisk walks two or more times a day as well as time off leash to run and play will be a great match. Without proper exercise the Black and Tan Coonhound will be prone to weight gain and the associated skeletal, digestive and metabolic problems that can be associated with obesity in any of the larger breeds of dogs.
The adult Black and Tan Coonhound will mature in the weight range of 80 to 130 pounds, with males larger boned, taller and physically heavier than the females. Typically heights for mature dogs are 23 to 27 inches at the withers, with males again taller than the females. This means that these dogs are large to have in the home. Generally the Black and Tan Coonhound is extremely calm indoors and will find a spot that he or she is comfortable and just relax. They are affectionate dogs and if allowed to enjoy being up on the couch or the bed.
The coat of the Black and Tan Coonhound is easy to care for year round. They are light shedders with a fine, very short and sleek coat. Typically grooming routines should include a weekly brushing with a medium bristle brush or a grooming glove, along with inspection of the coat and skin for any signs of irritation. Generally these dogs are very tolerant of topical flea medications but a few can have sensitivities and will need alternative treatments. This is not necessarily a characteristic of the breed and can be found in almost any type of dog. The hounds generally have very few health problems and are not prone to many of the genetic problems found in the larger breeds of dogs. Hip dysplasia is rarely seen as hunting dogs are not kept for breeding purposes if they are not sound.
The Black and Tan Coonhound does require a patient owner that is familiar with the demands hounds and this particular breed. They are highly focused on scents and will need to have that taken into consideration when they are outside of the yard. Even when trained off leash it is recommended that they be leashed outside of a yard since they will take off on a scent trail, even when not trained to hunt. When this occurs the dogs are totally focused on the scent and will run out into roads and even into the path of oncoming traffic if that is where the trail leads. Most Black and Tan Coonhounds can be trained to work off leash with lots of work but in the city this is really a very risky and potentially tragic decision that too many owners make.
Training needs to be done only using positive methods. The Black and Tan Coonhound, perhaps more than other hounds, is very submissive by nature and will quickly become confused in treated harshly or even yelled at during training. They will need positive praise, lots of attention and even a few food treats to help them build up their confidence in obedience work. They are a breed that strives to please the owner and once they master a command they have the concept for life. The Black and Tan needs to know that they have a purpose in the family and obedience work or tracking is the best way to keep them mentally stimulated and prevent destructive behaviors.
The Black and Tan Coonhound does need lots of routine, early socialization in order to accept new people and new situations without becoming anxious and stressed. Show lines are typically much less timid than the field lines that may have difficulty around people that are not in the family. These dogs are not aggressive, rather they are more shy and timid when meeting unfamiliar people. Once socialized they are friendly dogs although not as outgoing in personality with newcomers as some of the hounds.
Bred for generations to hunt in packs, the Black and Tan Coonhound is typically not an aggressive dog towards other canines unless they feel threatened or attacked. They can protect themselves and will stand up to other dogs if the situation calls for it. This breed will do well with smaller dogs as well as other larger sized dogs and can be paired with a more dominant breed as a companion. Males will be more dog-aggressive than females, especially those that have not been neutered.
Kids and Black and Tan Coonhounds get along well together if the dog has been raised with children from a puppy. They do best with older children that are less likely to make lots of noise or sudden movements. The naturally athletic nature of the Black and Tan Coonhound is great with children that love to be involved with the dog and the hound will quickly learn how to play and interact with the children. Since they are not highly dominant they tend to listen to children provided the child has been involved in the training of the dog.
Black and Tan Coonhounds do have a habit of drooling and slobbering, due to the soft mouth and loose lips associated with most of the larger hound breeds. This is most pronounce immediately after eating or drinking, however they will also drool when sleeping and when just relaxing as well. Different lines are more or less prone to drooling, which may or may not be an issue for potential owners.