The redbone coonhound is a large, sweet, and intrepid dog. Bred originally in Tennessee by Scottish and Irish immigrants, the redbone is the descendant of a variety of red hounds. Used primarily for hunting big game like cougars, deer, and even bears, these sleek and tenacious hunters have tons of energy. They love human company, going for walks, and are best suited to live in a spacious home with a backyard to run around in.
With redbones coonhounds, training is essential, as they can be exuberant and hard to contain. It's better to train them as puppies, with a firm but kind hand. They can be stubborn and a little sensitive, so respect is essential to get them to do what you want. Their exceptional intelligence helps them learn commands and tricks, and since they love to impress their humans, rewards are a great way to teach them proper behaviors. Make sure you train them in a fenced area or they will run off following their snout.
Redbones are among the most determined and competitive hounds, working equally well in a pack or on their own. Their instinct is to follow their nose and look for new exciting trails, so don't worry if your Redbone runs off after a scent. They are self-sufficient, strong, sturdy dogs used to find their way back to their humans.
Redbones will get along with everyone in the family and, like other hounds, they love to be part of a pack. Because of their immense energy, they're great to tire out older children, but it's better to supervise them around toddlers. Don't think of them as high-maintenance dogs though, as they have a contemplative side too and don't mind some alone time. Even so, they might not be the best companions for seniors since they need a lot of exercise.
There's no false advertising when it comes to redbones. They are gifted with a magnificent, short-haired red coat that evokes the colors of the Appalachian forests where they were first bred. Their bright and attentive eyes will steal your heart and make it impossible to resist their pleads for treats.
These dogs need a lot of quality time outside. Apartments are way too small for them. A rural setting is where they thrive, but even a home garden will do if it comes with a lot of love and adventurous walks. While daily interactions with humans and other dogs might help tire them out, for redbones the wildness is what matters, so make sure you have time to take your dog to more places than just the park.
Redbones are sturdy dogs that can take care of themselves and don't need much grooming. Brush them once a week to check for insects or dirt hiding in the coat, and to make sure this retains its glorious shine. However, you might want to bathe your redbone coonhound once in a while, especially after a long walk. Their adventurous spirit can easily take them to very filthy places.
Healthy redbone coonhounds weigh between 45 and 70 pounds with females usually being a little heavier than males. Because of their size and need for regular exercise, they eat a lot. Expect to feed your redbone around 2.5 daily cups of high-quality dry food. This breed can be prone to weight gain, so two meals a day, rather than free feeding or a single big meal, are the best option to avoid over-eating.
Redbones are usually healthy dogs. A recurring problem they might develop is otitis, a build-up of wax inside the animal's ears, so make sure you clean them up weekly. The only major health concern they might develop is hip dysplasia, but responsible breeders work hard to conserve quality and health. Life expectancy for Redbone coonhounds is between 11 and 13 years.
A stunning feature of this majestic breed is its musical bark, called a drawling bark or bay, that they use to alert their human masters during hunts. In general, redbones can be pretty vocal, so a good way to reduce their barking is to keep them active during the day.
Only a handful of breeds have had the privilege to feature in Hollywood movies, and the redbone is one of them. From Disney's 1960 cartoon, "The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon," and to the many film adaptations of Wilson Rawls' "Where the Red Fern Grows," Redbone coonhounds have earned their place as one of America's most iconic dogs.
Get your paws on the latest animal news and information