What Is the Difference Between a Beagle & a Coonhound?

by Maura Wolf
    Treeing walker coonhounds can be mistaken for tall beagles.

    Treeing walker coonhounds can be mistaken for tall beagles.

    Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

    Beagles and coonhounds are completely distinct breeds of dogs in the hound family. The beagle and the treeing walker coonhound are sometimes compared to each other because they have similar coloration. The most common coloration for both breeds is known as tricolor, which in the case of the treeing walker and the beagle is a combination of black, reddish brown and white.

    Beagles come in two different sizes. The smaller type are 13 inches or less when measured from the shoulder. The larger beagle’s size ranges from taller than 13 inches up to 15 inches. The 13-inch beagle should weigh between 22 and 30 pounds, and the 15-inch beagles can weigh up to 35 pounds. Beagles love to eat and can become overweight easily which is not healthy. Beagles have a variety of coat colors.

    There are six coonhound breeds -- American English, black and tan, bluetick, redbone, plott and treeing walker. All are large dogs, ranging in height at the shoulder from 20 inches to 27 inches. Depending on the breed, coonhounds can weigh between 45 and 80 pounds. Five of the six American Kennel Club-recognized breeds of coonhound originated from English, Irish and French roots and were first developed and bred in the southern United States. The Plott hound came from Germany and was brought to America in the mid-1700s. Of all the coonhounds, only treeing walker coonhounds resemble beagles.

    Beagles are excellent pets for active families who enjoy dogs who are energetic and fun. Beagles are described a "clownish" and "merry," and they are generally good with children, in part because, like children, beagles are playful, curious, affectionate and need to be supervised. Coonhounds also can be good family dogs, and they are playful and interactive companions. Typically patient, cooperative, playful and interactive with children, coonhounds can forget they are large dogs. They must be reminded to be gentle, or children can get knocked down as they romp together.

    Coonhounds and beagles share some similar traits. They both hunt in groups and are scent hounds, who follow their noses and can forget everything else that may be going on around them. Both hounds are typically cooperative, although the beagle may be more difficult to train. The coonhound is more easily trained than beagles, but both breeds are wanderers and can get themselves in trouble if allowed to run loose. Beagles are often described as curious dogs, whereas coonhounds have a working dog nature and have been called "driven."

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    About the Author

    Maura Wolf's published online articles focus on women, children, parenting, pets and mental health. A licensed psychotherapist, Wolf counsels individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, body image, parenting and LGBTQ issues. Wolf has two Master of Arts degrees: in English, from San Francisco State University and in Clinical Psychology, from New College.

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