There’s something irresistible about a droopy-eared hound like the Bluetick Coonhound. This energetic, lovable canine is a friendly dog who enjoys the company of an active family. The breed is generally obedient with consistent training, but does have a bit of a stubborn streak. Their history as an independent-thinking hunting dog has given this breed the ability to solve problems and figure out solutions to tricky situations, but it also means he’s likely to think his ideas are better than yours. With training, you’ll surely reach a compromise. And don’t let his rugged looks fool you—he prefers to curl up on the bed rather than sleep on the floor. Because of the Bluetick Coonhound’s bugle-like bay, this talkative breed is best suited to life in the country where he won’t disturb the neighbors.
The Bluetick Coonhound may also be known as a Bluetick Hound, Bluetick, or Coonhound.
A Bluetick Coonhound’s coat is short, glossy, and coarse to the touch. The coat showcases a black-ticked pattern over white, with black and tan markings.
Average Height: 21-27 inches
Male: 55-80 pounds
Female: 45-65 pounds
Breed Standard & History
Bluetick Coonhounds should present a muscular, well-built appearance. The neat body is square, or slightly longer than it is tall. The head displays a prominent stop, with a long, square muzzle and long flews. The large, wide-set eyes should be round and dark brown, with a pleading expression. The black ears are low, thin, and tapered and should reach the large, black nose when extended. Strong legs and hips offer a powerful appearance. The tail should be carried high, with a half-moon curve. A coarse, short coat is dark blue with black spots. Tan markings and red ticking may be present, but are not required. More blue than white is white is required, and no other colors are allowed. – AKC Breed Standards
Bluetick Coonhounds are an American-developed breed said to be descended from the French hunting dogs gifted to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette in the 18th century. The dogs, called Grand Bleu de Gascogne, were the foundation of many types of dog, including the Bluetick. This hardy, intelligent scenthound was developed with the addition of various types and breeds—including foxhound for speed and bloodhound for a keen nose. Though raccoons were their original quarry, they’ve become the hunting and tracking dog of choice for many hunters in the South—and throughout the country.
Blueticks have been prominently featured in movies, books, and country songs since their development. The breed was accepted to the United Kennel Club in 1946, but prior to this was registered as a Coonhound or American Foxhound. The American Kennel Club recognized the Bluetick Coonhound in 2009.
AKC Breed Category
Intelligent, goofy, and affable—Bluetick Hounds are a high-energy breed that grows attached to its family and is accepting of new people. They’re friendly and lovable, but without enough exercise can become difficult to manage. Give them a job to do, and they’ll be calm and laid back companions. They’re hounds, so they may be stubborn or selective when it comes to obedience, but with consistent training and a sense of humor the Bluetick is a good-natured breed.
Are Bluetick Coonhounds Good with Kids? Blueticks are gentle and friendly with kids, but they can be rowdy so they may be a better match for bigger kids who aren't as likely to be knocked over.
Are Bluetick Coonhounds Good with Other Pets? Though they're generally good with other dogs, they may compete for dominance. Most small animals aren't ideal in a Coonhound's space, but they may be able to learn to get along with a dog-experienced cat. They're likely to chase smaller animals, both indoors and out.
A Bluetick Coonhound may make a good watchdog—that Coonhound bay won’t be missed and will scare off any intruder—but they’re too friendly to act as a designated guard dog.
There is no lack of energy when it comes to the Bluetick Coonhound. They can be rambunctious without enough exercise, but after they’ve had a chance to burn their energy may become couch potatoes.
- Incredible, loud 'bawl' or bay, sometimes just to hear themselves talk
- High prey drive
- Can be stubborn and may not listen to requests
- Known to let their nose take over and will often wander
- Needs plenty of exercise or a job to do
- May be rowdy
Though the Bluetick Coonhound is relatively laid back indoors, they’re not an ideal choice for apartment living. They’re loud, and their bawl may not sound as lovely to your neighbor’s ears as it is to your own. Blueticks need enough exercise to keep them on their best behavior, and they can’t get the exercise they need indoors. They are likely to follow you from room to room, and will claim the softest seat in the house as their own.
Fenced areas and leashed excursions are necessary for this high-prey-drive canine. If they catch an interesting scent, they'll follow it—regardless of your call. Though they're a hardy breed that could adapt to an outdoor kennel, their preference is to live indoors with family rather than outside.
As a working breed, the Bluetick Coonhound requires lots of exercise. Without at least a half hour of physical and mental stimulation per day, the Bluetick can become destructive and difficult to manage. Closer to an hour is better.
This sporting dog was bred for endurance—though hunting was his intended use, he can harness his great stamina on the trail or in competition.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: A healthy, full-grown Bluetick Hound may be able to join you for a run of up to six miles, but they’re not known for their speed. They’re happiest at a jog rather than a run.
- Hiking Miles: The Bluetick Coonhound is happy to hike all day long. Leashed hikes are safest, as the breed may find a scent or woodland creature more interesting than your request to stay put.
The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food to feed a Bluetick Coonhound is 2½ to 3 cups per day, split between two or three meals. This amount is based on average weight and activity level. Because they are prone to bloat, the food bowl should be raised and activity should be limited to an hour following meals.
While Blueticks aren't more likely to guard their food than any other breed, children should never be allowed to touch or remove food from any dog while it is eating.
Though the Coonhound will follow family throughout the house, with enough exercise and attention, they’re able to stay home alone for five to eight hours during the day. Without enough exercise, they may become destructive. Counter surfing and trash picking are common behaviors among Blueticks, so keeping garbage out of reach and counters clear is necessary. Crate training may be necessary to prevent chewing or other destructive behaviors. They are likely to bawl, or howl, regardless of how much exercise they get. There may be less noise from a dog who is tired out, but baying is part of the breed’s nature.
Health and Grooming
Weekly brushing and baths as necessary are all that is required for the Bluetick Coonhound. Though little upkeep is necessary, they may exude a bit of the doggy odor that is common with hounds. Regular ear cleaning is necessary to prevent ear infections. Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail.
Common Health Issues
Bluetick Coonhounds are generally healthy, though they may present breed-specific health concerns, such as:
- Hip dysplasia
- Ear infections
- Working injuries
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Bluetick Coonhound by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
The intelligent but stubborn Bluetick Coonhound learns basic obedience with ease—the trouble is in getting him to comply with your requests if he thinks there’s something better to do. Some training priorities include basic manners, no jumping up, and a solid recall. Though they may be trained to bark at only certain times, the breed is a vocal one and it’s in their nature to bay. Positive reinforcement is the best approach to training a Bluetick as they have a sensitive side and may choose to ignore harsh correction.
Agility, tracking, and dog sports are favorite activities of both Blueticks and their owners. This working breed needs to burn lots of energy, and dog sports are an exciting way to do that. The harder they have to work, the better behaved they can be.
Sporting Dog Training
The Bluetick Coonhound is a sporting breed, developed with the hunt in mind. They’ve got a keen nose that can follow days-old scents without hesitation, and are more than willing to track all day. Though their original use was raccoon hunting, the Bluetick can be trained to track, tree, or hunt a variety of game. They’re often found out-sniffing the competition in nosework and tracking trials.
A 'cold nose,' in reference to a Bluetick Coonhound, means that the dog is able to pick up and follow old scents. Their nose isn't actually colder to the touch than other breeds, but they may be able to follow a 'cold' trail—even one that is days old.
The Bluetick Coonhound and Redtick Coonhound—recognized by the AKC as the American English Coonhound—are similar in many ways, but hunters will shout the differences between the two from the treetops. Some say the Bluetick has a colder nose and can track old scents better, while others prefer the American English Coonhound for the hunt. There is more confusion between the breeds, as the American English Coonhound can also come in a bluetick coloring. But the Bluetick Coonhound developed from the American English Coonhound, so they’re cousins who share many traits.
Bluetick puppies are born mostly white, with black markings. The ticking coloring doesn’t show up until the puppy reaches a few weeks of age, and becomes more noticeable as the puppy grows. By adulthood, the ticking will be obvious. Breeders have tricks to determine the amount of bluetick coloring an adult dog will have when puppies are only a few days old.