- AKC recognized in 2009
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Size: Medium
- Energy: Somewhat Active
- Recommended Crate Size: 30” dog crate*
Return to main Dog Crate Size Breed Chart.
Redbone Coonhound: Fearless but Friendly
If you are looking for a handsome hunting dog with an even temper and a charming personality, look no further. Meet the Redbone Coonhound. Registered with the United Kennel Club since 1902 (and the American Kennel Club since 2009), this hound dog has it all- expert hunting skills, dashing good looks and confidence that just won’t quit.
The Redbone Coonhound is a medium-built dog that sports a muscular, lean build under his glorious red, short-haired coat. His proportions are athletically regal - perfect for pulling off the daring hunting feats he is known for. Deer, raccoon and even bear and cougar - this guy is king when it comes to hunting and knows no bounds.
History of the Redbone Coonhound
The roots of the Redbone Coon date back to the late 18th century during the time that a number of European hunting dogs were being brought to America. A mix of English, French, Scottish and Irish descent, such breeds included the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, the Welsh Hound, the Bloodhound, the English Foxhound, the Harrier, and the Beagle.
The importation of these dogs was primarily to suit the fancy of the wealthy folks of the Tidewater region in southeast Virginia, northeastern North Carolina and portions of the state of Maryland who used them for foxhunting.
Over time, however, southern hunters grew quite fond of the hounds and began to selectively breed them for their own purposes. They wanted hunting dogs that would not relent and that would not back down. They needed dogs that would hound their prey with stamina until the very end. And that was exactly what they got when the hound came into existence, especially the Redbone Coonhound.
Also in the late 18th century, there were Scottish immigrants who settled in Georgia with their red foxhounds. The red-coated dogs became the base of the Redbone bloodline. Around 1840, Foxhound and Bloodhound lines from Ireland were being added in.
Coincidentally, one of the breeders of the day was Peter Redbone who hailed from Tennessee. The new line of coonhounds was named after him and they just happened to be...red.
The painstaking care that went into breeding the Redbone Coonhound proved to be a success. Redbones are flexible in that they adapt quickly to almost any terrain and can even swim if they need to. They are agile enough to climb mountains, pounce across meadows and to jump over anything that gets in their way during a hunt. They are quick, smart and relentless. They are also fearless.
The Redbone Coonhound is as diverse as a dog can be. Able to give a small animal a run for his money or take on a large animal over twice his size, he is the ultimate hunting dog. Redbones have never made much of a name as show dogs in the ring. They have made their name on farms and ranches and wherever else hunting grounds may abound, however.
The Red Beauty
With long straight legs, a very deep chest and his head (and tail) held high, the Redbone Coonhounds is indeed a looker. His body is a lean machine. His eyes are brown (anywhere from hazel to dark brown) and his coat - rich red, smooth and short but surprisingly coarse as it nears his skin which provides much-needed protection while roughing the wilds.
Sometimes a tad of white can be seen on his feet, between his legs or on his chest. The occasional white markings are thought to be a resurfacing from the Foxhound and Bloodhound bloodlines. A bit of black may be found on his muzzle or face. Oftentimes Redbones sport a black, prominent nose.
The Coonhound’s ears are droopy like a typical hound dog and his face is a bit on the wrinkled side too. His jowls hang low with loose skin folds below his chin which is referred to as a dewlap. His paws look a bit like a cat’s and his pads are thick.
Weighing in at anywhere between forty-five and seventy pounds, Redbone Coonhounds are generally lean with their weight and height proportional and the bone structure in sync as well. Females stand about twenty-one to twenty-six inches tall while males tend to measure around twenty-two to twenty-seven inches high.
Even the way he carries himself wreaks of pride whether he’s on the hunt, standing at attention or just sitting, minding his own business. Despite the utility and beauty of this breed, it ranks 143 of 192 in popularity, according to the American Kennel Club. It seems there is a bit more to consider before taking one home - to learn more, read on.
Article Continues Below...
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 30” dog crates* for most adult Redbone Coonhounds.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
Back to His Roots
It is said that you can take a dog out of the country but you can’t take the country out of a dog. For the Redbone Coonhound, nothing could be truer. If you are going to own a Redbone, there are some things you should be aware of, especially if you don’t intend to have him hunting or on a stretch of land.
Redbones love to bark. He is an extremely vocal pup which is typical of his hound heritage. Not only does he bark, but he also bays. When on a hunt, the Redbone Coonhound’s bark is a part of the hunt, for him and for his owner too.
On the positive side, for hunters at least, the owner is able to follow the dog’s bark as he tracks. There are specific barks for various stages of the hunt. For instance, there is a bay for when he has a critter cornered up a tree and another one that’s an everyday bay. And yes, much to many owners’ chagrin, there is an everyday bay that will likely take place whether in the wild blue yonder or in the backyard.
Loves the Chase
In addition to barking, a Redbone will chase and that’s a given. Whether it’s a small animal or a neighbor kid riding past on his bike, it’s in a hound’s nature to give chase. Bred to hunt rabbits, badgers, squirrels and other small animals, his built-in urge to chase helps him on the hunting grounds but often gets him in trouble at places like the park. A tall, secure fence is required if you are keeping him in the backyard.
The Redbone Coonhound is notorious for his sense of smell. He primarily uses his nose and his keen eyesight to track his prey. If you are walking a Redbone, you will need to train him not to sniff at every turn and you might want to keep the garbage can out of reach when he’s unattended too.
Just Won't Quit
A stubborn streak comes along with the territory. In order to tree or corner the critters he hunts, his undying persistence is necessary. When not on a hunt or on a farm or ranch, however, his dogged determination can be a downfall. Establishing yourself as the alpha will greatly help. Be strong but kind and you will be able to manage this trait.
Another trait the Redbone has that is helpful on the hunt is his robust energy level. Tracking and cornering or treeing animals requires lots and lots of energy - sometimes for extremely long stretches of time. This energy can be a nuisance when he is not out in the open where he can freely let it out. He will require a good amount of exercise in order to contain himself.
Physically, the Redbone hound has thick paw pads that are compact, almost cat-like. He very well may take to digging in your flower bed (or into your carpet) so be aware that his desire to do so stems from his hunting instincts. He very well may try to dig himself out of a fenced situation in order to chase a squirrel or a neighbor’s cat, so be forewarned.
Nose with a Dog Attached
The breed’s long ears were designed to help him hear better but also to help him pick up scents at a higher level too. That’s right. His long ears are actually positioned lower on his head than most dogs’ are. They are intended to hang low (like dust brooms) so they can scoop up scents left on or near the ground and send them right on over to his sniffers. Indeed, like most Coonhounds, the Redbone is a nose with a dog attached. He is a “cold” nosed dog which simply means he is pro at following old scents on a cold-case trail.
Even the Wrinkles Help Smell
And those wrinkles...they are there for the hunt too. As odd as it may seem, the wrinkles that hounds are so famous for serve a very important purpose while tracking an animal. Some of the scents he comes into contact with get lost in the wrinkles which work out quite well. He is able to pick up on those scent references later on as a reinforcement of sorts.
As you can see, the Redbone Coonhound is a hunter at heart and gives evidence to that in his personality and his physical traits. He is happy while hunting but, he can have a happy life without hunting too as long as the two of you work together to make adaptions where needed.
The Redbone Coonhound Personality
Oozing with personality, the Redbone Coonhound is loveable and loyal. Even though he is a hunter, through and through, he is gentle and affectionate when it comes to his family. He has a burning desire to please his owner too which makes him all the more suited for family life.
His primal instincts, like tracking, stubbornness, and vocalizations, will need to be curbed if he is not going to be primarily a hunting dog. With patience and some knowledge about what you are doing, training can be successful. He is very intelligent and soaks praise up like a sponge. He is able to absorb a surprising amount of information and retain it as well.
The Redbone hound is very laid back and easy to handle so they make excellent companions. They are creative and can be very comical too. When he has a good mind to, he’ll perform one antic after another for you. There will never be a dull moment when you welcome this fine breed into your home.
Redbones are known to be healthy dogs in general and most enjoy a long lifetime. There are a few conditions to watch for medically, however.
All purebred canines have the possibility of developing issues that are genetic in nature. Cataracts, congenital liver shunts, orthopedic disease, soft palate elongation, and intervertebral disc diseases are all conditions that are seen more in purebreds.
If you acquire your dog from a breeder, be sure to ask for a health guarantee and to ask about any health problems in the line. There should be no hesitation in the breeder divulging any potential issues. If there is, shy away from the breeder.
Due to his floppy ears, you will want to check for ear infections on a regular basis. Hip dysplasia is another concern so if you notice a limp of any degree, take him straight to the veterinarian.
Redbones love to eat. Obesity is a potential problem so diet control is a must. Diabetes is not uncommon for those whose weight is not watched. Joint problems can occur due to obesity too. Not only will you want to watch his caloric intake but you will want to ensure he is getting ample amounts of exercise too.
A good number of Redbone Coonhound visits to the vet for health concerns are due to tangles with such critters as raccoons. Even if there is a squabble of such, the Redbone usually comes out on the better end even if he does get a scrape or two in the process. Be sure to keep his rabies vaccinations up to date.
Redbone Coonhounds don’t shed a lot so their coat can be kept in good shape by regular brushing. Since they love to spend time outside, be sure to check for fleas and ticks when you are brushing him. You might check for thorns and stickers too.
Their floppy ears can collect ticks too so be sure to look inside them regularly. In addition, Redbones can be prone to ear infections so keep them dry and take note of any undue scratching of the ear area.
As far as bathing is concerned, there’s no real need to bathe him very often. He will jump in the lake or a pond if given the chance so you might take advantage of the plunge by lathing on some doggie shampoo then rinsing him off with another good dip. The breed does tend to get a bit musky-smelling so an occasional shampoo is in order.
If he rolls in something stinky or gets sprayed by a skunk, an exception is to be made. It can be challenging to get a Redbone into your indoor bathtub so you might consider creating a tub outside or simply showering him with the hose, lathering and then rinsing. You may have to do some coaxing to get him not to run off but if you make it fun and friendly, you’ll be successful.
His nails should be trimmed occasionally. His teeth need to be brushed once a week or so too. Other than those small grooming needs, the Redbone is about as maintenance-free as a dog can be.
Be prepared to accommodate your Redbone’s need for plenty of exercise. Redbone Coonhound puppies are very active and the breed, in general, doesn’t reach maturity (mentally or physically) until around the age of two years. That means, he’s a pup for a long time with the bounding energy of one. On the good side, he’ll have all the adorable playfulness of a puppy for a good while too.
If your Redbone will be in the country with room to romp, he will make sure he gets exercise. Otherwise, he will need to be taken on several walks or runs a day adding up to at least an hour and a half daily. Failure to exercise him properly is asking for trouble and he will certainly find it for he simply cannot contain all of his energy without some release.
Training Your Redbone
The Redbone Coonhound is a hound dog at heart. There are certain approaches with his training that will work like a charm and some that will not work at all. It is imperative to know the difference.
While Redbones certainly fancy a good treat, he also loves to be praised so given that he can easily become an overeater, you might lean to the praise side for rewards. Initially, a treat in hand is fine but transition him over to praise when possible for the sake of his health and wellbeing.
Redbones can be quite stubborn in nature but sensitive at the same time. If you are overbearing or rigid, you may frighten him or worse...hurt his feelings. Neither are conducive for his training so be firm yet kind and above all - very patient.
It is crucial to form a strong, heartfelt bond with your Redbone pup before attempting to train him. Taking walks and spending time together will help the two of you get to know one another better. He will need to develop trust in you. He will also need to see you as his leader.
Because the breed matures slower than most, he may take more time to catch on. The more fun you make training time, the more of his cooperation you are sure to get. Once he does catch on, he’s got it and he is all about showing his new skills off. Teach him, let him practice and THEN let him put on a show.
When it comes to training the Redbone Coonhound to hunt, it’s a cinch. It is in his blood. He will, by nature, trail and hunt. You will want to teach him some basic commands but the rest he’ll know by heart.
The Redbone Coonhound is probably most known for his role in the classic novel based movie “Where the Red Fern Grows”. In fact, there were two Redbones featured - Old Dan and Little Ann. The movie debuted in 1974 but the books were written back in 1961 by Wilson Rawls.
The “Outlaw and Josey Wales” was another Redbone flick. In the movie, a veteran of the Civil War loses his family and takes up with several loners in his path of life. A Redbone Coonhound was one of the loners that befriended him.
“The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon” is a Disney film that was made in 1960 about a Redbone Coonhound puppy. In the story, the hound was raised by a raccoon family.
In Cormac McCarth’s novel, “The Orchard Keeper”, one of the main characters owns a three-legged Redbone named Scout. In the book, McCarth gave an important role to Scout and another featured dog, Buster. He used them to symbolize the difference between killing in a hunt within the realms of nature and senseless killing.
Is a Redbone Coonhound Right for Your Family?
You won’t find a more loveable handsome addition to your family than the Redbone Coonhound. Just be well aware that this new addition will require some action (and patience) on your part.
Since Redbones are fairly laid back when it comes to their temperament, they tend to get along well with other dogs. Cats can be tricky but the relationship has potential, especially if he is introduced to the cat when he is young. They practically never have an issue with people and can be good with children as long as they don’t get too excited and pounce on a young child. So close supervision is required.
If you have a wide open space, the Redbone Coonhound is ideal. He will entertain himself for hours on end chasing everything with a tail. If you don’t live on land, he can still make a great dog if you are willing to properly exercise him and spend time with him.
Redbones are definitely a breed that will worm their way right into your heart so be prepared for lots of activity, antics, and affection if you decide one is a fit for you.