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Coonhounds are the Pit Bulls of the South

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

A coonhound advocacy group approached Pet News and Views asking for an interview. They want to spread the word that coonhounds are the pit bulls of the south.

Skeptic that I am, I didn’t totally believe them. Then I went to BlogPaws, and heard a lot of folks—from the south—talk about these amazing dogs and how many of them—too many of them—are mistreated.

Coonhounds are known as hunting dogs, and I’m not a hunter. And while I have a lot of trouble seeing hunting as a sport, I have met a handful of hunters who treat their dogs like family.

Anna Nirva, one of the founders of Coonhound Companions, knows a lot of people who keep large packs of coonhounds strictly for hunting. “They often complain that they are too noisy, untrainable, stubborn, and unfriendly,” she says. “I see these dogs often posted on different Yahoo groups needing rescue. When kept in large packs, they are often ignored and treated poorly.”

Anna rescued a coonhound a couple of years ago, and has been a spokesperson for the breed ever since. Anna and the other members of Coonhound Companions are promoting coonhounds as family pets.

Right before Anna was going to adopt Austin, her husband told his boss that they were getting a coonhound. “His boss basically tried to talk him out of it,” she says. “He wasn’t aware of how sensitive and good natured they are. So many people, who don’t know dogs, get the wrong information. Now that we have Austin, we know it was the right choice. If you want a large breed, coonhounds are great.”

Jerry Dunham, who is also with Coonhound Companions, explains, “The public’s perception is that coonhounds and foxhounds are hunting dogs only, not suitable as pets. I’ve heard that MANY times. I’ve never understood why retrievers, setters, pointers, and spaniels, all originally developed for hunting, don’t have the same stigma. Beagles, which are related to these hounds and have similar characteristics, seem to have dodged the stigma.”

According to Jerry, coonhounds are affectionate, without being clingy. “They tend to be easy going and very tolerant of children,” he says. “They were bred for centuries to be very social, so problems between hounds and other dogs in the family are almost never the fault of the hound, and are in general rare. They generally do well at dog parks, if that is something their family would like to do. Some of them, particularly when young, can be real clowns.”

Should You Adopt a Coonhound?
“The person who should consider adopting a young coonhound is someone who would also consider adopting a retriever or pointer,” says Jerry. “They do well with very active families, particularly those who hike or run a lot. They are less obsessively active than pointers and many retrievers, but have generally greater endurance. Most seem to be better at settling down inside the house than pointers, while being nearly as active when outdoors.”

For older coonhounds, you’d expect them to be less active and need less exercise, and that’s generally true. “It’s all relative,” says Jerry. “Our 7-year-old coonhound is more active than our Great Danes were at 2. He’ll probably get to the activity level of a 2-year-old Dane by the time he’s 10 or 11. He’s content to sleep quite a bit of the day curled up behind me in my office, as he is now.”

Why You shouldn’t Get a Coonhound
In general, coonhounds and foxhounds have two negatives that stand out, and neither negative is true of all examples of the breed. “A coonhound is useless to a hunter if he can’t track where his dog is in the woods at night, and that means that a good one is very loud,” says Jerry. “They aren’t constantly yappy as some smaller dogs can be if allowed, but when they do decide something needs to be commented on it may be audible for blocks around. Bear in mind that many hounds that end up in rescue are there because they’re failed hunters, and one of the reasons may be that they were NOT loud. An adopter wanting a coonhound, but living in close proximity to neighbors needs to make sure that they deal with a rescue group that is willing to seek out a quieter dog for them.”

Coonhounds were bred to traverse all kinds of terrain while tracking their prey, including going over fences and stone walls. To a healthy coonhound a 4-foot fence is nothing, and some very athletic examples can clear (not climb) a 7-foot fence. “The majority of coonhounds will not go over a 5-foot fence, but you have to be aware that they CAN,” explains Jerry. “If you want a scenthound, and want to be sure it will stay behind a 4-foot (or less) fence, get a Basset Hound. Reputable coonhound rescue groups will demand that adopters have at least a 6-foot fence.”

To learn more about coonhounds, click here.

69 comments to Coonhounds are the Pit Bulls of the South

  • jacob hannah

    Coonhounds are the Pit Bulls of the south. It is true Michele. Thanks for covering this.

  • Thank you so much for covering this. Coonhound Companions approached us some time ago but our causes were full-up at the time. I shared your article in our Twitter and Facebook feeds. Hope it helps to raise awareness.

  • Thanks Kim, They approached me a while ago, and I just got to this. I didn’t realize how big an issue this is. –Best, Michele

  • Thank you for bringing this issue to peoples attention. I had no idea this was going on. It’s good for working dogs to work but they need family time too and to have a purpose for more that just a few months a year. While reading this the dock dogs sport of extreme vertical came to mind. What a great way to use those high jumping skills! I’m going to repost. Thanks to Be the Change for sharing first.

  • Thank you for posting this.

    Indeed, this can be a big issue. I don’t want to claim that it’s as big an issue as the Pit Bull image problem, because it definitely isn’t, and there are far more Pits dying in shelters all over the country. Still, it’s a very similar problem.

    The real issue with Pits and coonhounds is that people don’t do their research when choosing a breed to adopt. Often they go primarily on appearance, some dimly remembered tales they heard once upon a time, or the sweet look a shelter dog gives them. Many dogs, of all breeds, end up in rescue because owners didn’t understand the breed they chose and the dog’s behavior doesn’t fit the family’s lifestyle.

    Particularly when it comes to families with children, I have to believe that many would be better off with an easy going coonhound than the edgy, nippy terrier that is often the choice. Not all terriers are nippy, of course, but there’s a reason why some terrier rescue groups won’t generally place them with adopters who have children under 7. Small children often don’t understand how to act around dogs, and terriers tend to be much less tolerant of that than coonhounds.

    Let’s get the right dogs in the right homes. If we do, I have to believe that many more coonhounds will be saved.

    Jerry Dunham
    Tejas Coonhound Rescue

  • Thanks Jerry, And thanks for letting me interview you about coonhounds. You certainly understand the breed.–Michele

  • Michele, thank you for writing about our beloved coonhounds and why we are working hard to create awareness of their plight in pounds and shelters. My husband and I adore our charmer Austin, an abandoned hunting hound we feel certain (many scars). We think he was dumped because he is afraid of gun shots, thunder, tractors, anything noisy near our home in rural Wis. He gets along very well with our grumpy senior Great Dane and our picky-about-dogs pit bull. He almost never sings and always sticks close to home even though we don’t have a fence. He charms all visitors, leaning, wagging, soulful gazes, offering paws to everyone. And those ears!!!!!!

  • Henriette

    Thanks for the information on these dogs Michele! Very well described! However I do not believe that hunting is a sport, it is cruelty not to respect another species life as important as our own! Dogs should not in my views be made to pursue another’s live to kill.

  • I agree with you Henriette–Michele

  • Many foxhounds & coonhounds have no experience of living inside – I had 5 pet foxhounds many years ago, they were excellent pets once they learned what was expected of them. It helped that there were other dogs to learn the ropes from, & they certainly wanted canine company as well as human. The one pack hound had been malnourished, neglected & picked on at the kennel, she was an exceptionally devoted girl

  • carol

    I had the honor of owning a bluetick coon hound for 14 short years. They are the most wonderful dogs. He was my cats favorite dog. They get alomg with other dogs, they love children, easiest dog I ever housetrained and never even when sick with cancer had an accident in the house he was the best walking buddy i ever had, I am devasted that they are abused and misunderstood I miss him everyday

  • Traci

    I love hounds, they CAN make wonderful pets to the right owner, hounds are not laze around the front porch and sleep all day dogs they are active athletic animals so exercise is a must.

    I love hound ears, I love their soulful voices and their intellegent eyes. Nothing beats the love of a hound! AND this comes from someone that only had stock dogs all of her life until these 2 wonderful Black and Tan coonhound puppies blessed her life! To me life without a hound would not be living. LOVE MY HOUNDS!

  • Emily

    Thanks, Michele. I am also a founding member of Coonhound Companions. I have a pair of redbones that both hunt and sleep in my bed. For those of you uncomfortable with hunting, let me add that hunting with hounds is the only kind of catch and release hunting there is. My hounds regularly chase bears and raccoons up trees, and I find it a great thrill to get up close to the quarry without harming it. Hounds are passionate animals, especially when it comes to doing what they were bred to do. They are bred to use their heads and solve problems while out of sight of their hunter, which can lead to charming and comical results in the home. They’re beautiful without being all foo foo fancy, and no dog has a closer relationship with his owner than a coonhound who trusts his owner.

  • Micaela Torregrosa-Mahoney

    We adopted our Bluetick Coonhound from Four Paws Coonhound Rescue three years ago. I didn’t know anything about these dogs and had actually contacted the rescue about a different dog they’d posted on Petfinder. I’m so happy they matched us up with this sweet girlie instead! She’s pretty quiet for a Coonie and has absolutely zero prey drive, so she would obviously be a lousy hunting partner. But she’s a great companion dog: great with kids, friendly to our guests, completely trustworthy around other dogs and cats. Too many of these sweet & gorgeous hounds languish in shelters & rescues because people don’t realize they’d be great as companion, therapy or agility dogs. Right now we have Carolina Coonhound Rescue near Charleston, SC but the need in the Carolinas is too great.

  • Julie

    Although I’m biased, I would definitely recommend people consider a Coonie when adopting a pet.
    My husband and I have two Coonhounds (ages 5 and 3), and we’re both crazy about them. I got my first one from a breeder. He’s a laid back, well-mannered, loyal dog with a really sweet personality. He’s content to sleep all day after a good walk/jog or some time outside.
    We adopted the second dog from a rescue. The shelter she was rescued from didn’t have much information on her. She had been found wandering, a young, very thin stray, but I’m pretty sure she had been a hunting dog (based on her behavior) and had never lived inside a house. Obviously, it took some work to develop her manners, but she’s a great pet now, and very, very affectionate. She’s got more energy than my first dog, but is pretty calm indoors and still sleeps A LOT.
    Coonies really do make GREAT pets! Mine can be headstrong sometimes (less and less now, as they get older) but overall they’re just friendly, happy dogs.

  • Ginny Kennedy

    I adopted a coonhound from American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue three years ago and was so crazy about him that I adopted another last year. These are the sweetest, most loving dogs I have ever encountered. They’re great walking buddies and love to snuggle on the couch. They also make great watchdogs even though they don’t bite — they’re just loud!

  • For all my years of loving dogs, I never knew of this perception. Good info as always, Michele!

  • Being the owner of both a coonhound and a pitbull, I would have to say they are both possibly misunderstood but in no way comparable. Yes hunting dogs are mistreated by some hunters. Yes some coonhounds are left in packs or in individual kennels outside and have to endure the weather and are poorly fed during the off-season or in-season. Some hunters even feel it is necessary to underfeed them to make them better hunters as if hunting to eat. Horrible. But the flip side is they are no where near as many beaten, abused, bred to the hilt, put into dog fights, had their teeth removed and beaten to become a bait dogs, had their puppies used as bait dogs and a breed with the most popularity that has created so many variations that a pit bull can actually be a combo of several different breeds. Pitbulls get the worse rap due to bad owners. You never read about the hunter that abused its coonhound.
    Now on the coonhound being misunderstood and being a great family pet. Coonhounds can be taught and can be trained. They only do as they have been shown. If adopting a hunting dog, it will take time to train and teach to be a companion pet. It can be done and they will LOVE you for it. I love my Zeus and he is the greatest boy. Acts like a FOOL but is very smart when he wants to be. He is 2-1/2 and just a great dog. Zeus is a Black & Tan Coonhound.

  • Fulvia

    Thank you for posting, Michele and everybody! Very interesting!

  • Kikkn' Wing

    In February of 2007 I had arrived at a very lonely place in my life. I was working at a new job, purchased a new home, and was newly single. I came home every night to an empty house. And before long, I didn’t want to come home at all. After much thought and consideration I began searching for a companion. On a whim I stopped at the local shelter and I met Daisy. The counselor advised me that she had been in and out of the shelter for a year because, “no one wanted her”. She had a typical hound story. According to our counselor, “She is going to need someone to lean on, be dependable, and love her no matter what.” Ironically, I realized that day, I needed Daisy a lot more than she ever needed me. It wasn’t long before I realized I had stumbled into a gold mine of loyalty and love. I was hooked! Next came Maybelle, a 9 month old Black & Tan, who was dumped when her owner realized she was pregnant. She is still shy & weary. She has an old soul who has seen many atrocities in her short time but she is my girl through and through. Subsequently, Charlie, a Bloodhound, who had been evading authorities for months fending for himself on the streets came across my radar. I knew the moment I met him it was kismet. He sat on my lap and we have never looked back.
    Over the course of the next two years I became overly involved in the rescue of hounds, some would say it’s borderline obsessive(smile). Coonhounds are one of the most loyal and sensitive breeds of dogs.
    I have become educated on the process in which many hunters breed, train, and board their dogs. These animals serve one purpose for this group of people; once that purpose is met they are chained and left until the next hunt is to occur. If the hound doesn’t “perform” to the hunting party’s standards the dog will be beaten and left to starve. If the hunting party is “considerate” (please note the sarcasm)they will just shoot the animal. Hounds come creeping out of the woods in rural areas, more often than not, trying to find food, warmth, and shelter. Many of them don’t survive even when they have found a human to take them in because the damage is so severe.
    Two months ago I received an urgent email regarding a young Redbone Coon Hound, Wilbur. Through a complex network of people Wilbur traveled from Ohio to Colorado. He began as a foster pup in my house-hold. He was emaciated, frightened, and abused so severely that one his back hind legs from the hip down no longer works. It appears he was “dumped” because he just wasn’t a “good enough hunter”. Wilbur has found his “furever” home with our pack.
    No two hounds are alike, the same goes for my pack. But each one of these amazing dogs has managed to fill all the lonely nooks of my house and my heart with their unconditional love. I have a reason to come home now! Saving a Coonhound benefits EVERYONE involved. It really comes down to ‘who rescued who’?
    Please visit our page on Face Book, My Fairy Dawg Hound Rescue.

  • Diane Cartwright

    This rings so true! And as someone who networks with North Carolina shelters, I have followed the progress of many a Coonhound. When they do find homes people are so thrilled with what lovely companions they make, it’s just crazy. So in that way too, they are like the Pitties. However, the Pit Bulls still get killed at a rate – estimated – of one in four that do not get out of the shelter alive. Coonhounds do have a better chance still.

  • Becki Williams

    The very first dog we ever fostered was a Walker Hound girl that was named Belle. She’d never been inside a house prior to coming out of Animal Control and we’d never had a Hound. Belle was a sweetheart, eager to please, usually quick to learn (except at first she would tinkle inside when it was snowy, which earned her the nickname of “The Big eyed P Dog”), great natured with kids and all other animals.

    Loved her, loved her gorgeous eyes, her long silky ears, her unassuming nature and her unbounding joy when she discovered something new. I would recommend a hound for ANY family.

  • I have two coonies! If you have a dog prone to jumping a fence-take them out on a leash! That’s an easy problem to solve. I didn’t have a fence when I adopted either of my girls and it was no problem since I was willing to leash walk them.

    And as for the baying, well, I love it! Neither of my girls talk outside unless there is something to be hunted in the yard. And I don’t mind the talking inside. It isn’t constant or as frequent as many breeds.

    These dogs are super sweet and loving. Like no other dog I’ve known!

  • Thank you for writing about the wonderful coonhounds and foxhounds. I have owned coonhounds for more than 13 years and I could not imagine life without them. They are wonderful family pets, they are loyal to their owners, they love people of all sizes and just they are just plain sweet. We are trying very hard to educate people on what great family pets and companions they can be and this blog will definitely help! We need more people to help rescue them, foster them and most of all ADOPT them!

  • Karen Dancy

    Seven years ago my husband and I decided to add a dog to our family. I spent hours on Petfinder because we wanted a rescue dog and not a designer breed dog. I finally came across this unusual black and white speckled dog, appropriate named Pepper. She was a bluetick coonhound and to be honest, I knew nothing about blueticks or coonies in general. We became Pepper’s forever home. Within two weeks, she never left our side, even while off leash. She had no interest in chasing anything, include the neighbourhood raccoons. She was the sweetest dog ever. Very gentle and loving, the biggest couch potato and bed hog in the world. When she passed away suddenly in 2009, my husband and I decided to open our home and our love to helping a local rescue, Ontario Bluetick & Bloodhound Rescue, by fostering stray coonies who would otherwise end up in shelters and overlooked by families looking for the over popular breeds. Coonhounds are awesome, we just have to keep spreading the word that they are great family dogs.

  • Susan Taney

    Five months ago, my husband and I took in a 105 lb. 11 year old blk & tan coonhound mix (we think bloodhound) named Elvis. He has lumps, scars and a white face. He is crate/house trained, knows sit, down, & catches treats in the air. Luckily we live on 6 acres because he bark rattles our windows. He lives with a beagle, basset and a chihuahua and they have become a pack. Elvis is just a hoot. Senior coonies rock!

  • Omarisa Valdez

    I have heard that “coonhounds are the pit bulls of the south.” However, they really aren’t as mistreated. What they are is misunderstood. Yet, every coonhound I met was sweet, loyal, and loving.

  • Helen Hatton

    Aaahh….Coonhounds….the gentle perfect sized dog for an active family! The Hound Group of dogs is the most overlooked as a loving family pet, and we don`t know why.
    The pups are stunning and oh so cute with their long silky ears and big feet, who can resist a Hound pup? These noble and loyal dogs grow into gentle but athletic adults who enjoy being included in the family`s fun. They just want to be with their people. I have found that Coonhounds are very tolerant of other dogs and kids. Coonhounds are beautiful to watch, as they prance on the leash, follow a trail, or run at full tilt in a huge field, they are poetry in motion. I have rescued a large number of dogs, most of them Hounds, Coonhounds or Beagles. You lose your heart to them both as you realize how kind they are and how the rescue Hounds are so willling to please and grateful for food, love and attention.
    They just want to be loved.

  • Really great article. Having had the honor of rescuing and re-homing both breeds all pulled from kill shelters in Georgia, I am happy to see any article supporting the rescue of pets. However, the pit-bull problem IS in the south. Pit bulls ARE the pit bulls of the south. They are fought, used a bait, tortured and killed in numbers we cannot begin to comprehend. Lets hope we get a handle on the coonhound problem before it becomes as bad as the pit bull problem.

  • i have a black n tan coonhound and she is an awesome dog my heart belongs to hounds now they grasp at ur heart n never let go and i have yet to hear her bay she doesn’t at all not outside not inside not when someone comes over never i thought she was mute but vet said no when she has something to say she will say it lol

  • Veronica Michaud

    Thank you for writing this story. Living in Northern Ontario, Canada, there aren’t too many coonhounds in the area. I hope to help raise awareness of this amazing breed. 6 years ago we adopted a wonderful, intelligent and lovable walker hound – bluetick hound cross, “SNOOPY”. I am disabled, and somehow, he instinctively knows how to assist me, especially if i cannot get up. Snoopy is so loving and loves to cuddle. He has been so protective of our 6 year old grandsons, since birth. I will never get another breed of dog, I will always adopt a hound and recommend that anyone looking for a loyal, loving and smart dog does to!! thank you again!

  • Theresa

    I lived in the city (Charlotte, NC) for most of my life. Until I moved to the country (in S.C) over four years ago, I didn’t even know what a Treeing Walker Coonhound WAS! Once I saw one, I was fascinated with them. Since then, I have adopted 3 of them. They make great family pets. They are affectionate and playful, and SO easy to fall in love with. Of course, like any breed, each one has their own personality. I tell people that it’s like having a large Beagle. I am aware that there are too many Coonhounds in my area (mostly due to hunting and abandoning). I occasionally volunteer at a local animal shelter, and see several of them there that would make excellent family pets. I believe that more people would adopt Coonhounds if they knew more about them. If people were more educated about them, then a family that was considering adopting a Lab might be just as likely to adopt a Coonhound (BUT, if that family has never seen or been exposed to a Coonhound, it might never cross their minds. Like in my case, all the years I lived in Charlotte, I had never SEEN one, so I wouldn’t have considered getting one). I wish that more of the Coonhounds in shelters in my area could have a chance in shelter’s in larger cities. People might fall in love with them. By the way, I use invisible fencing to keep my dogs close to home, and I think the whole plug-in invisible fencing kit cost less than $300 at Lowe’s.

  • Thank you for bringing attention to this issue. I had not heard how poorly coonhounds are treated in the south, but it doesn’t surprise me. the problem is people choose not to work with the breed, they try to make them fit their lives.

    I fell in love with a Coonhound at our shelter. He was the most affectionate dog I ever met. When he went home with his new family, the fist picture they sent was of him laying in her lap (I honestly don’t know how he fit in it!). I’ll be sharing this one.

  • Jean

    There is a walker momma and pup.in the summerset, ky shelter that are going to die in a few hours!!! Show me you are serious and go get em!! There are transport options available!!!!

  • Karen Bartel

    I adopted a coonhound four months ago and hearing it being referenced to a pit bull didn’t make sense to me; two different breeds and temperaments. After four months, I know I have adopted the best dog. She is obedient, sweet, warm, intelligent and wouldn’t hurt even my 12 pound dog. She even sleeps in my bed every night and is my wake up alarm every morning. If no one ever told me that Coonhounds were used for hunting, I wouldn’t even know. I live up north and hunting is not a common thing in modern suburbia. Right now, she is living the life of a happy (spoiled) dog…running, playing with her toys, playing with my other two dogs, chewing her bones, chasing the birds, etc. She is perfect and I’m so grateful that I made the choice to adopt her.

  • Salem

    Very true of the coonhounds’ situation. Especially in the Southeast where ignorance reigns.

    I keep hoping a really amazing coonhound rescue group will pop up and focus on the southeast. The shelters are just overflowing and the general public just passes them by. I can’t imagine having anything other than a coonhound.

  • Kate Harward

    I have owned Coonhounds for 15 years and been involved in Coonhound Rescue for 11 years. These dogs are amazing and most of them make awesome family dogs. Like everything in life there are no absolutes but that is where good rescues and skilled foster homes can help. Finding the right home for the right dog is the key, As Jerry said earlier families need to do their reseach and shelters and rescues need to be as knowledgable as possible about each dog they place. The key is not jumping to conclusions about any breed based on a small amount of information from just a few sources. Talk to lots of people who own the breed and look for lots of different perspectives.
    I love my hounds and train them in Flyball, Rally and tracking. I love their intelligence, their independence and their EARS 🙂 Thanks for the article Michelle the more people that learn about these great dogs the better.

  • Carrie Ringwold

    very good info! thanks for sharing. I rescued a coonhound last year, and am in love with this breed. They are loyal and truly loving.

  • Amy Eisner

    Our coonhound Woodstock is the kindest family dog in the world. He gets along with children and other dogs. So easy going. thanks for this great article.

  • Great article about coonhound… don’t agree with the title at all though. It hurts the public’s perceptions of coonhounds even more by comparing them to pit bulls, which sadly have their own huge problem with misguided public perception FOR COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REASONS. Why add that to the coonhound breed issues.

    The statement “coonhounds are the pit bulls of the south” hurts the breed A LOT much more than it helps. Thanks but no thanks.

    Leslie Fournier
    Founder of Maine Coonhound Rescue
    12 years rescuing and placing hundreds of homeless coonhounds

  • Thanks Leslie,
    I’ve heard others compare coonhounds to pit bulls, and while they are totally different in character traits–except that both are incredibly loyal, like pit bulls they are misunderstood. Thanks for your comments. –Michele

  • Thanks for writing about the plight of coonhounds Michelle. They are such great dogs ! It’s true that most folks don’t realize what great pets they are, and they can be a great alternative to retrievers and other popular breeds for family dogs. We have a relatively new rescue in New England – we’re bringing up coonhounds from the south and midwest and educating people about their suitability as pets. If anyone out there is in New England, New York or New Jersey, and can help us with rescue activites, home visits, meet ‘n greets, transport, fostering, etc – please get in touch. Northeast Coonhound Rescue, Lexington, MA.

  • OMG. The coonhounds make excellent companion/family dogs. I have been rescuing coonhounds for 5 years now. I myself own an Bluetick and an English and they are great family dogs. Ever since my 6 year old was 1, he wakes up in the morning and sleeps on my Bluetick, she lays there and doesn’t even move. I think that when people hear “coonhound” they think “Oh, these are outside dogs”, We are trying to educate the public about the coonhounds that we pull from rescue’s in the south. Most of them are in the shelter because they will not hunt, so to the hunters, they are no good. I love their intelligence, and their long soft ears.

  • Dan French

    We adopted a coonhound for our family. Our son is Autistic, and he has a lot of energy. Our dog, Sooner, is a great companion for him. Thanks for this well informed article.

  • Sam Darrin

    I own a coonhound and my wife and I are thinking about adopting another one. They are the best.

  • The problem for hounds finding rescue is that most folks are ill equipped to handle their “big voices” and give them the physical activity they need. They are so MANY breeds of hounds…all can be good family pets. By comparing them to pit bulls, they are being marked as “bad, mean, vicious” and we ALL know that even the pits are not like that. NO LABELS PLEASE!

  • Hi Billie, I love Pit Bulls. They are one of my favorite dog breeds. I compared the two in only that they are misunderstood. I’m glad to see so many caring coonhound and pit bull lovers here.–Michele

  • Kellie Ricker

    I have always loved hounds and they make the most amazing companions. I have had an english, a tri-color coonie that I rescued and had flown from the south to Idaho. I currently have a beautiful walker and a bloodhound. I ride horses and they never run out of my site. They are my best friends and the biggest love bugs ever. My friend children climb all over them. My cat sleeps with them even. They are the most living and even tempered dogs I have ever had. There needs to be more education on how loving and gentle these big hounds are. They have big voices to tell you they love you and thrive on your love back. I will always have coonies.

  • Kim Gardner

    If you want “Personality Plus,” choose a Coonhound. They not only have personality, but a SENSE OF HUMOR as well! There is a good reason why Walt Disney chose a hound to play the part of lovable Goofy~~They are charmers, they are clowns and they are also incredibly intelligent. Because our Bella Marie is able to understand pretty much all of our household conversation, there are many words we now have to spell. Unfortunately, she has now learned to spell as well!! It is nothing less than heartbreaking to see so many of these sweet souls losing their lives in the South due to prejudice and misinformation~they are loving and loyal and, for the precious few who are lucky enough to be adopted, they become irreplaceable family members. Thank you for helping to stamp out ignorance and prejudice!

  • Thomas Hansen

    As you can see from the comments, there are a lot of us coonhound loving people. Coonhounds are the best.

  • Ingrid

    I have had several coonhounds as pets and they are one of the best breeds to own! It is also a myth that coonhounds don’t get along with cats or small animals. Like most dogs, they may have to be trained to get along with other pets in the household. Our bluetick sleeps with our cat and I can also put my hamster on his back with no problem LOL!
    Coonhounds are being euthanized very often in shelters as people do not see what great pets they make. Therefore they are rescued less. We do need more fosters, rescues and just more education for people out there who think they are only used for hunting. Coonhounds are very sweet, loyal and intelligent. They are active when you are active and they are resting when you are resting which is great. Some coonhounds are quieter then others. One of mine barely barks and my other coonhound barks when he hears something. The only disadvantage I can think of with owning any hound is that if you are in a area without fencing and have no leash they can get distracted and start following a scent. But when I think of all the advantages of owning a hound (I own coonhounds and basset hounds), I can’t ever think of ever owning any other breed!

  • Samantha Klein

    We adopted a coonhound 15 years ago, and when she passed a year ago, we adopted another one. They truly are eager to please and are the sweetest dogs on the earth.

  • Eartha Scott

    We love our coonhound rescue, and we will always have a coonhound in our house. As your other readers can attest to, they are the best.

  • Maureen Pisani

    We adopted a 4-5 month old puppy classified as a ‘pit mix’ in Northern California last January, but he developed into what was clearly a plotthound. ‘Spike’ had been abandoned at about 8 weeks old along a roadside, and at the shelter for 2-1/2 months before we saw him. We are extremely happy to have him, as he’s pathetically lovable (even when he eats the sofa)and an extremely handsome and healthy boy. He needs lots of calm and consistent training, as hounds typically do, and we hope he’ll get over his abandonment issues soon. I would recommend these hounds to families with children and anyone with time to spend with a good companion.

  • Coonhounds make great pets. I have a hound sanctuary – Beagles, other hounds and senior dogs. I have been blessed with Treeing Walkers, Black and Tans, Redbones, Blue-ticks, English aka Red-ticks, and Bloodhounds (ok, they ar not Coonies but are super cool large hounds also). I would not want to live without at least one Coonie in my pack – who all, 15-17 at a time, live in and out of my home with me. What I find so hilarious about my Coonhounds is they are lap dogs; yep, they love to cuddle :). Thanks for featuring these often ill-treated and loving dogs.

  • Lenore Byron

    Coonhounds are great family dogs. You got a lot of comments on this article, and it just goes to show you all coonhound owners know how lucky they are. Thank you for this great article, and great blog.

  • Jill Sicheneder

    Our coonhound, Wanda, is the sweetest and most gentle dog. I am sickened by all the coonhounds in shelters and the comments that nobody wants them. I really appreciate publicity about hounds being wonderful pets and I hope the word gets out. Thanks for the article!

  • Susan Nash

    We have been thinking about what type of dog to get for our family. I have twin boys–age 8. They really want a dog. Coonhounds sound perfect. And I realize they need work–like all great things.

  • Julianne Burke

    Great Work. Coonhound parents are so dedicated. I think I will look into getting one. My 9-year old son wants a dog, and coonhounds sound like great family pets.

  • Jackie Nickelson

    We got a coonhound when I was a child, and he was the best dog ever. He lived to be 15, and we are planning on getting another one.

  • Dominick Rainer

    I agree with everyone here that coonhounds are the best family pets. Maybe we can start a trend.

  • I also am the proud parent of two nonhunting coonhounds. They are the best. Thanks for this great article: Pet News and Views–you rock.

  • Lissa

    We adopted our first coonie (walker) 3 years ago. She was rescued from a horrible situation – used for breeding, neglected, abused and left to die in mid winter. Thankfully there was a wonderful rescue organization with a wonderful foster mother who nursed this amazing dog back to life. Despite being around 5 years old, and obviously tramautized, she adjusted very well to being a pet. She is smart, loving, gentle, very good with children and loves all other animals. I would highly recommend a coonhound to any family who has the time to love, train and exercise their new family member. I thought my coonie was special as she was so sweet and loving, but as I learned more about the breed, I realized they are all amazing dogs and equally sweet and loving.

  • I am a foster mom to Gus, an adoprable 2-YO Coonhound, who was dumped at a local high-kill shelter. He is my third Coonhound foster. Hounds are greatly underrated, overlooked, and unappreciated. Everyone needs a little Hound in their heart! Please help network these great dogs that are sitting in shelters right now. They deserve a chance to become companions and not just property!

  • Dee

    Can’t really see life without a coonie. Elvis, a redtick with heart melting brown eyes is my first. Then can Bo, an elegant Black and Tan. They are great companions.

  • Jill

    Thanks Michele, very interesting!

  • Very interesting post, Michelle! I’ve seen large groups of coonhound abandoned in the south. We even helped some of them at The Daily Tail. http://www.thedailytail.com/nonfiction/the-sussex-hounds-need-you/
    It’s very sad.

  • Deanna

    I am a Vet tech of 11 years.
    We’ve owned many dogs, and I’ve handled many, many types of breeds; none of which compare to the joy, loyalty, and overwhelming love and dedication that we received from our two bluetick coonhounds.
    They are lap dogs and ” pack dogs”. They always want to be by your side.
    They are dedicated family dogs. I would compare them to having a personality like our chocolate labs, except with that added coonhound “goofyness”

    They are also so smart that they tend to challenge your own intellect.

  • Princess Pepper

    We adopted our first pup at a high kill shelter three years ago. She was a 6mo Walker Coonhound, found running the streets. The owners didn’t want her back when she was found and she was left at the shelter. I didn’t know it then, but we couldn’t have gotten a better pup for our family. Like many new additions, we had some growing pains the first couple of months since it was clear her prior family left her to fend for herself outside, but now she’s the most sensitive, quiet (except for the occasional alert to rats and raccoons in the yard), loving, gentle family dog you’d ever want to see. She makes the perfect running and hiking companion and sleeps away most of the morning and afternoon, after her morning runs. In the evening, she just loves to curl up on the couch next to my hubbie and I as we watch tv. I’d never get another breed after seeing what a great dog my Pup turned out to be!