Redbone Coonhound Articles
A popular element in many children’s books and movies is the relationship between a child and his or her dog and the adventures that they embark on; all you have to do is look at the popularity of things like Old Yeller and Lassie to realize the impact stories of this nature can have. A classic children’s book that is often read in American public schools is Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls, a story about a boy and two special dogs, Redbone Coonhounds. Actually, before the publication of this book and the subsequent movie release, not many people were familiar with the Redbones outside of the Southern US hunting community. This book helped spark public curiosity regarding the breed, and its popularity increased. [...]
A breed of purebred dog is officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the most recognized kennel club in America, if there is concrete proof that there is a relatively large interest in the breed around the country and if there is current, sustained and serious activity relating to the maintenance of high breed standards. If a breed isn’t registered with the AKC, but it meets the above conditions, the breed is first admitted to the Miscellaneous Class; if this breed continues to show consistent growth and positive results while in this class, it will eventually become officially recognized and move out of the Miscellaneous Class. [...]
Redbone Coonhounds were bred by hunters that wished to create a superior coonhound that at the same time looked good. Many of its characteristics as a hunter have allowed the Redbone to become an extremely enjoyable family pet, though its hunting urge is still very much present. Indeed, these dogs take to the hunt with an almost unequalled fervor, often exchanging the neighbor’s cat for a raccoon that needs to be chased up a tree.
The dogs can be well-adjusted in an apartment setting, as long as they are given plenty of exercise; this is fortunate, as many people who own dogs today are not farmers and do not have large estates on which the dog can roam. People in the southern US that do have farms, or at least access to large areas of land where hunting is permitted, are delighted to take their Redbones on the hunt and report that the experience is extremely rewarding. [...]
The Redbone was one of the first breed of hounds to be bred entirely in America. This breed is currently in the Miscellaneous Class of the American Kennel Club, but is officially recognized in the United Kennel Club, UKC, and considered part of the Scenthound group; indeed, it was one of the first breed of hounds registered with the UKC. The American Kennel Club is not the proper kennel club to turn to when showing and registering hunting dogs and hounds, as it does not put as much emphasis on hounds and hunting breeds and so does not register as many hunting breeds as the UKC. Indeed, while the UKC has a number of coonhounds registered, the AKC has only one: the Black and Tan Coonhound. Furthermore, it is the United Kennel Club that organizes and hosts the majority of American hound trials. [...]
As mentioned previously, many of the skills that were so essential for particular breeds excelling at their intended functions have easily transferred into other activities. Today, dogs not only still work as hunters and herders, but they also perform extremely beneficial jobs such as pet therapy and search and rescue. There are quite a large number of search and rescue organizations throughout the country and a wide variety of dogs, both purebred and mixed breed are employed in these important activities. Though Redbone Coonhounds at the moment are not in high numbers in search and rescue organizations, the set of skills that make them such versatile hunters have allowed them to successfully break into the job. [...]
The Redbone Coonhound is not the only type of coonhound in existence. Indeed, at the moment there are six officially recognized coonhound breeds registered with the United Kennel Club, including the Redbone; the only coonhound officially recognized by the American Kennel Club is the Black and Tan Coonhound, while the Redbone has been acknowledged and is currently awaiting recognition. Coonhounds are scent hounds, or dogs that use their keen sense of smell to track or chase prey in order to help hunters; they are an American class of dogs that was created when hunters realized the inadequacy of foxhounds for the novel hunting conditions in the New World. Indeed, foxhounds were baffled when prey climbed up and hid in trees and would often lose the scent. New hounds were developed, which had all the qualities of the traditional scent hounds, but with a superior sense of smell, an independent nature and a natural "treeing" instinct; these dogs were bred to chase animals up trees and hold them there, hence the birth of the coonhound. [...]
As mentioned previously, coonhounds are scent hounds, dogs that help humans hunt by using their amazing sense of smell; the scent hound's sense of smell is superior to most other types of canines. They work very differently than sight hounds, which run down their prey using their vision and speed. Coonhounds are special types of hounds; they were purposely bred to handle game in the United States, specifically in the southern US. Dogs were needed that could track animals that took to the trees, as raccoons, bears and mountain lions often did and do. Scent hounds might have a sense of smell superior to that of other dogs, but coonhounds have a sense of smell superior to traditional scent hounds.
It's that superior sense of smell that makes coonhounds such efficient hunters; they also have quite a sense of intelligence and independence, so much so that their handlers release them to track prey on their own. [...]
It's unfortunate that many breeds of dogs suffer from a variety of genetic problems due to the poor decisions of some uninformed or careless breeders. Before bringing home a canine addition to your family, you should do some research into how healthy the breed is; if not, you may be in for a surprisingly large number of visits to the vet and some serious heartbreak. The Redbone Coonhound, fortunately, is an extremely healthy breed, which suffers only rarely from less than a handful of genetic issues. Besides hip dysplasia, common in many dogs, the Redbone tends to suffer from two main eye problems: entropion and progressive retinal atrophy, also known as PRA.
Entropion is an eye problem that occurs in many breeds of dogs, including Redbones, though is not as common in Redbones as it is in breeds such as Bloodhounds or Mastiffs. [...]
Besides hip dysplasia and eye problems, Redbone Coonhounds, like all coonhounds, also have a tendency to suffer from obesity. They are active dogs, needing a good amount of exercise, but they all too easily will adjust to a sedentary lifestyle if their owner does not provide them with activities to vent their energy; if deprived of exercise, they will also develop behavior problems. Also like many hounds, the Redbone has a tendency of overeating if given half the chance and these factors contribute to somewhat of a predisposition for gaining weight in the breed. This may not seem like a life-threatening disease, or as painful as something like entropion (inward turning of the eyelid), but obesity in dogs, as in humans, is not to be taken lightly. Obesity can lead to a variety of medical complications and can even contribute to shortening your dog's life, so measures must be taken to prevent your dog from becoming obese or getting him back to his proper weight. [...]
The Redbone Coonhound is the only solid-colored coonhound.
Redbone Coonhounds make excellent water dogs; they can actually follow a scent through the water.
Because of their excellent sense of smell and high level of intelligence Redbones are being used more and more in search and recovery operations.
The Redbone Coonhound is said to have the most pleasant "voice" of all coonhound breeds. Pleasant or not, it is loud and melodious; the baying characteristic of scent hounds is accentuated in coonhounds. [...]