These sleek and racy, lean but muscular hounds work dusk to dawn in pursuit of the wily raccoon. The sight of the American English Coonhound tearing through the moonlit woods, all sinew and determination, bawling their lusty night music, is coon-hunter heaven.
The American English Coonhound was bred to hunt raccoons, foxes and other wild game. Its natural instincts, intellect, strength and speed make it perfectly suited for those tasks. However, it also makes a great companion for active owners who enjoy spending time outdoors with their high-energy pets. American English Coonhounds are gentle, friendly, reliable, affectionate and devoted to their owners. Breed fanciers also describe them as loving, loyal and eager to please. They interact well with children, especially older ones, as long as they and the kids are all properly socialized early in the relationship. These are sociable dogs, in part due to their history of living and hunting in packs. The bark, or bawl, of the American English Coonhound sounds a fine alarm that stands up in tone and volume to that of any other hound. As an alert, watchful dog with a big voice, the American English Coonhound can be a good watchdog. However, it shouldn’t be expected to be a guard dog or show excessively aggressive behavior unless it is extraordinarily aggravated. These dogs may be defensive when directly challenged, and protective when friends and family are threatened, but even then they rarely attack without extreme provocation.
The American English Foxhound should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Remember that a working dog requires a very different food than one who lives a more sedentary life. Coonhounds are prone to getting overweight as they age, so be mindful of your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Good nutrition influences the shine and texture of your American English Coonhound’s coat from the inside, but he will still need regular grooming to be at his best. His short, hard, protective coat requires a minimum of care. Using a shedding tool or a grooming mitt with rubber nubs at least weekly will help to keep his shedding to a minimum. This also distributes skin oils down the hair shaft, giving his coat a natural shine. His nails should be trimmed once a month, and a bath every four to six weeks will keep the coat and skin clean and healthy, and reduce doggy odor. His ears should be checked weekly and gently cleaned of any excess wax or debris.
Still bred primarily as a hard-working dog, which must have an efficient physical condition, the American English Coonhound is generally a healthy breed. Responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia as well as eye disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts. His ears should be checked regularly to remove excess wax and debris. Like other large and deep-chested breeds, he can experience bloat, a sudden, life-threatening stomach condition. Owners should learn the signs of bloat and what to do should it occur.
Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:
No recommended health tests
The American English Coonhound is American by birth, English by ancestry. They’re one of six AKC coonhound breeds that frontiersmen devised to specialize on trailing and treeing North America’s perfect source of food, fat, and fur: the raccoon. It’s said that English are descended from English Foxhounds brought to America in the early 1800s. Foxhunting had been a popular pastime in Great Britain’s southern colonies in America since the late 1600s. George Washington maintained an avid interest in English-style horse-and-hound foxhunts even as he commanded the army that would deprive England of its American colonies. Importations of English Foxhounds during America’s formative years refreshed the gene pool used by Colonial breeders to create America’s coonhound breeds.
Backwoods breeders crossed foxhounds with other breeds to create the American English, once known as the English Fox and Coonhound, as it could hunt foxes by day and raccoons by night. As the breed came to specialize on nocturnal raccoon hunts, it acquired its current name. (The breed was also known for a time as the Redtick Coonhound and, simply, the English Coonhound.) Since Colonial times, the American English has been immensely popular among the tight fraternity of coon hunters. “If I couldn’t have an English hound,” a veteran cooner tells says, “I’d give up hunting.” Today’s American English is considered by some experts as the fastest of the coonhound breeds.