If you're looking for a fine, handsome hunting dog who can perform double duty as a family pet, the redbone coonhound fills the bill. He makes a good companion even if you don't hunt, but remember that chasing and treeing game -- especially raccoons -- is in his blood. However, of all the coonhound breeds, he's probably the most laid-back in temperament and adjusts more readily to living the life of a house dog.
Nothing but a Hound Dog
Remember that, first and foremost, your redbone coonhound is a hunting dog. His nose rules his life. He loves to run and it takes a lot of exercise to tire him out. All that energy needs an outlet. Think twice about bringing a coonhound into your life if you live in the city or can't take your dog for long daily walks. Because of his strong hunting instincts, even a well-trained coonhound can't be trusted off leash.
A Good Ole Boy
Most redbone coonhounds are friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs who love their people. As long as he receives sufficient exercise, your redbone coonhound should do quite well in your house. Your gentle, good ole dog hasn't met a sofa or easy chair he didn't like. He's smart, aims to please and usually takes to housebreaking faster than other coonhounds. While he likes attention, he's not the sort of dog who becomes a nuisance and constantly craves it.
What He's Not
While your redbone coonhound has lot of good qualities, there are certain common canine traits he's not likely to possess. Most coonhounds aren't great watchdogs, so don't become upset if he's lacking in that department. He likes strangers almost as much as his loved ones. Of course, he would never actually bark at anyone -- but he might howl. He might howl a lot, and that hound "music" carries -- another reason he's best suited for rural living.
Generally Plays Well with Others
Redbone coonhounds usually get along well with other dogs. If you raise your coonhound with cats, he should be fine with them, but strange cats are another story. Keep rabbits, birds and other small pets separated from your coonhound. He can easily become your older child's best friend, as coonhounds and kids have energy to spare. Because he's big and goofy, he can send toddlers flying, even though he means no harm.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.