The English Coonhound is a rare breed endowed with outstanding hunting talents and prominent voice. It’s reckoned to be one of the most purebred dogs native to North America but it remains fairly unknown outside its homeland. This breed demands a great amount of exercise so it’s recommended only for the families with an active lifestyle.
The English Coonhound origin can be traced back to European Scent Hounds. Since the Roman’s defeat hunting with packs of Scent Hounds became one of the most beloved leisure time of European aristocracy. The preferred types of game were different dangerous predators such as boar and wolf. The England was not an exception but the situation has radically changed in the XVII century due to some demographical and ecological issues in this country. The large game became exceedingly rare in the English forests and the English nobility switched on the fox hunting as an acceptable alternative. So the breeders developed the Foxhound, which was well adjusted to hunting in burrows.
At the same period the Britain has initiated the colonization of the North America and lots of first settlers brought their Foxhounds along to the New World. Except for this breed they imported also Bloodhounds and Greyhounds. Colonizers from other counties also took their dog with them including Spanish Alaunts and Sight Hounds, German boar hunting dogs, French Grand Bleu de Gascongnes, and different Irish and Scottish hunting hounds.
Unluckily enough the climate, terrain and fauna of the American region differs greatly from those of England and majority of dogs failed to acclimatize and perished. Survived specimens were well-accustomed to the American tough conditions and spread all over the continent. The breeding of the dogs was rather chaotic and the crossing between separate breeds frequently occurred. These gave rise to creation the number of breeds, including the Coonhound. There are several types of the Coonhound with slightly different ancestry but the English Coonhound is known to have evidently descended from the Foxhound.
In American tradition hunting with packs of hounds was available to everyone noble or not. By and by the hunting became a popular pastime in the American South and Midwest and racoon hunting turned out to be one of the favourite entertainments. The English Coonhounds were put on trial in various hunting competitions from the beginning of the XIX century. These events quickly reached the national level and the winners were rewarded with substantial money prizes.
The English Coonhound’s designation was almost exclusively hunting. Unlike other types of Coonhounds it’s quite capable of hunting various preys such as foxes, opossums, and cougars. Nowadays it’s still highly valued by American hunters in the rural part of the United States. The dog is rarely kept in cities and suburban areas of its homeland and remains rather obscure overseas.
The English Coonhound earned the recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) as early as in 1905. Despite this fact the dog was recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) only in 2010. The breed still mostly kept for hunting purposes but constantly increasing number of admirers keeps it as solely companion dog.
On the whole the English Coonhound’s demeanour is usual for any working Scent Hound. It shows high level of affection and loyalty to all members of its family. It loves to display its feelings in exuberant way and will actually make up a splendid buddy for a child. Moreover lots of specimens prefer the company of children particularly ones that indulge them with tasty treats. Unfortunately the dog is predisposed to barking and its bellowing voice can cause an unbearable nuisance for your neighbours.
The English Coonhound is a remarkably friendly dog towards all human beings so when correctly socialized the majority of these dogs will be well-behaved and greeting to the unfamiliar person. Sometimes the issue of excessive shyness may arise but it’s rather uncommon for the breed. The dog is able to frighten off unwelcome guest by its sonorous bark therefore it will make a reasonable watchdog. But the English Coonhound doesn’t have enough aggressiveness in it to become an effective guard dog.
The pack hunting is habitual for the English Coonhound and while hunting it had to cooperate with dozens of other dogs. The dog tolerates exceptionally well the presence of other dogs and will enjoy living with one or more other canine animals. The small dog may be mistaken for prey and consequently chased so the owner of the Coonhound must be extra cautious during the walking with the English Coonhound.
The breed has been serving as a hunter for centuries and developed a considerable level of aggressiveness towards non-canine animals. The attack of the English Coonhound leads almost always to death sentence and it’s going to pursue everything in its view. The socialization will eliminate the great deal of aggressive issue so the majority of members will live peacefully with a home cat or other creature. Nonetheless there is no guarantee for that.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· ear problems;
· eye problems;
· gastric torsion.
The grooming of the English Coonhound won’t take much time and effort. Its coat requires only regular brushing to keep it neat and well-attended. The ears of the dog should be cleaned on a regular basis so it won’t get infected or irritated.
Most of the English Coonhounds are heavy shedders and in the shedding period the dog’s hair will be found all over the furniture, carpets and other possessions. That’s why the breed isn’t advisable for allergy sufferers or for fastidious person.
The training of the English Coonhound presents substantial difficulty because of its stubborn character. The dog has mind of its own and doesn’t tend to change its initial decisions. Moreover the breed can be easily attracted by some interesting smell to such a degree that there is no way it can be called back.
The master should never allow this dog off-leash unless he walks with it in the safely enclosed territory. The best motivation for this dog is essentially food treats and it usually shows good results with firm but somewhat gentle handling during the learning process.
For centuries the English Coonhound has been spending the big part of its day running for game. To feel itself fully satisfied it requires at least an hour of vigorous physical activity every single day. The dog will become an outstanding jogging partner but it would rather opt for running and playing on the securely fenced area.
The English Coonhound behaves calmly and likes to laze around as soon as its need for exercise has been met (though it’s pretty tough to do). In the nutshell this dog is one hundred per cent the rural boy and will very likely experience problems with accommodation in apartment setting.