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Bluetick Coonhound Dog Breed information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

Considering adopting a Bluetick Coonhound as a family pet or hunting companion? This breed can make an excellent canine companion, but it's important to understand what makes them so special. In this comprehensive breed profile, you'll learn all about their personality, exercise needs, grooming requirements, puppy costs, and more!

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: August 6, 2021 | 20 min read

Bluetick Coonhound Dog Standing in Grass

One of the few breeds developed in America, the Bluetick Coonhound is a gorgeous, delightful breed with a striking coat you won’t find anywhere else. These fantastic dogs were originally bred for the hunt. Many Blueticks are used to hunt raccoons and the like with their great senses of smell and sight. Blueticks need a lot of structure to stay happy, usually obtained through a job. However, many of them are content to be beloved family companions, as long as they get enough exercise!

Provided all their needs are met, this breed has a lot to offer. Bluetick Coonhounds are affectionate and sensitive animals, which may come as a surprise given their background as serious hunters. They can be very goofy with their adorable antics– they simply want to make you smile! This hardworking hound is also highly intelligent, so ensure you can keep up.

Are you looking for more information on the Bluetick Coonhound? This breed profile will tell you everything you need to know about this fabulous hound. You will learn about the Bluetick’s history, their temperament and appearance, plus information on how to give them the best care in every area of their life.

Breed History

Black and White Spotted Dog Standing in the Forest
Blueticks are well known for his nose and can sniff out out trails for hours and even days.

Like all Coonhounds, the Bluetick Coonhound has its origins in the United States. This breed hails from Louisiana, though much of their beginnings are steeped in mystery. While this breed hasn’t been recognized all that long, it’s surmised that their origins come from before the founding of the US.

Little is known about the real depths of their history, though they are thought to descend from several dogs from abroad. Among these dogs, notably, is the Grand Bleu de Gascogne— the French Staghound. You can certainly see the resemblance between these two dogs, with their mottled “blue” coats!

Other dogs that may have contributed to their development are the English Foxhound, the American Foxhound, the Black And Tan Virginia Foxhound, and Louisiana’s Cur Dogs. These breeds were mixed together to create a hound dog with impressive endurance and a cold nose— a nose that can sniff out trails that are hours, or even days old.

Early History

These dogs were bred specifically to hunt raccoons; this is where the Coonhound name comes from. They would chase their quarry until it was treed, howling loudly beneath the tree as they waited for their hunting party to catch up. They did this for a number of small animals, such as rabbits.

However, they also extend their expertise to large, dangerous game such as bears, wild boar, and cougars. Bluetick Coonhounds, having descended from French Staghounds, have inherited a spectacular baying sound used in the hunt.

George Washington’s friend, the French General Marquis de Lafayette, would write to the president about the magnificent sounds that rang forth from the voices of the French Staghounds– “like the bells of Moscow,” Washington later wrote.

AKC Recognition

The breed was originally recognized as the English Foxhound and Coonhound under the UK’s United Kennel Club. Many Blueticks were registered under these breeds, though it wasn’t until 1946 that the breed received its own separate recognition.

Bluetick Coonhounds are the AKC’s 162nd breed. They were not accepted into the AKC’s hound group as late as 2009. They are the 137th most popular dog in America, according to the 2020 survey done by the AKC.

The breed is an important part of the US’s Southern culture. The University of Tennessee has had a Bluetick Coonhound as their mascot since 1953, with 10 generations of Smokey from then until now. In 2019, Tennessee recognized the breed as their official state dog, which is an amazing testament to how beloved the Bluetick really is.

Temperament

Black and White Spotted Dog Laying on a Couch
This breed makes a great family pet,  and will do well as watchdogs.

Bluetick Coonhounds have an incredible loyalty to their families. The AKC describes them as “smart, devoted, [and] tenacious”. They truly live up to this, making them a fantastic companion.

These dogs are always happy to interact with the members of their pack. They are lovable with their goofy antics and will do almost anything to get you to laugh. They value their place in your family, so they will always do their best to show you that they are happy to be with you.

While this makes them a great choice for many different kinds of families, Blueticks have high energy needs. This makes them ill suited for many novice dog owners, as well as people who cannot commit themselves to their physical and mental stimulation.

With Families

As far as interacting with other members of the family, Blueticks have a lot of love to give!  They do perfectly well with children and are very patient with them. They may prefer older children to younger ones, just because older kids tend to be better behaved.

With regard to other pets, as long as they are raised alongside each other, there is little hindrance in pets coexisting harmoniously with this breed. The only exception may be with smaller animals such as birds, rabbits, and hamsters.

Since they were bred to hunt, they have a high prey drive. Therefore, it might be a good idea not to have smaller animals in the house, as harm may come to them. Besides all this, Blueticks are very affectionate and will be perfectly content to cuddle with you as long as all of their needs are met. Since they are so attached to their family, you should not leave them alone for too long in case they develop separation anxiety.

In The Home

One thing to note about the breed is that they are very vocal dogs. They have a high tendency to bark and bay, so you must train them to know when it is appropriate to make noise. For the same reason, they make excellent watchdogs and will prove to be valiant guardians of the home.

These hounds are intelligent but may come across as being stubborn because of how easily distracted they can be. Since they need good structure in their lives, it’s a good idea to give them a job to do especially if you live in a more rural area. This will help keep them even tempered.

Size and Appearance

Spotted Dog with Black Ears Tilting Head
The Bluetick Coonhound is a medium sized dog and will weigh around 55-80 pounds.

The Bluetick Coonhound has an iconic hound appearance. They are of a medium size and fairly muscular, with adorable floppy ears. While they might not be as fast as their other hound cousins, they still look speedy enough for the hunt. Males stand at around 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder, while females are 21 to 25 inches. Males weigh anywhere between 55 to 80 pounds, while females weigh 45 to 65 pounds.

Their head is wide between the ears with a domed skull. The Bluetick’s muzzle is broad and deep, and should look squarish in profile. Their eyes are large, well set-apart, and round; they give off an adorable “pleading hound” expression.

A Bluetick’s eye color is dark, and never lighter than light brown. Their eye rims are tight around their eyes. They have thin, low set ears typical of a hound. They taper towards the end of the nose when pulled forward. Noses are typically large and black in color.

Body Structure

A Bluetick Coonhound’s body is typically deeper towards the elbows than it is wide. They have medium size necks that are muscular and taper from shoulders to head. The back is also muscular, and the topline slopes downward from the withers to the hips. The ribs are well sprung and transition into a moderate tuck up towards the loins.

As for the forequarters, they have straight legs with slightly sloping pasterns. The shoulders slope as well, and aren’t very broad; this allows for free movement and a good strong stride. They have strong hips that aren’t quite as wide as the rib cage. Their thighs are muscular and allow for great power in movement. They have strong hocks that are moderately bent.

Their feet are round just like a cat’s, with well-arched toes and tough paw pads. Tails are a moderate length. They are tapered and carried proudly, with a good covering of fur, though it doesn’t feather out like a flag. AKC standard dictates their gait to be  “Active and vigorous, with topline carried firmly and head and tail well up”.

Coat and Colors

Spotted Black and White Dog in the Snow
Their mottled color is what is referred to as “ticked” pattern, with flecks of blue and black colors in their coats.

With just one look at the dog, you will know that the breed has a very unique coat pattern. This mottled, or “ticked” pattern comes from the flecks of color on the blue and black coat. As for the coat itself, it is a short length, slightly coarse, and set close to the body. It is fairly glossy and smooth, which makes it very nice to pet! AKC standard requires it to be “not rough or too short”. Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, they are not hypoallergenic.

As far as coat colors go, there is a standard look to the breed. The AKC’s preference is a dark blue, thickly mottled body. You will find black spots over the ears, back, and sides. The head and ears are predominantly black.

Bluetick Coonhounds can have tan markings over their eyes, on their cheeks and chest, and below the tail, though you may also see them without. The same goes for red ticking on feet and lower legs. The blue ticking on the body is against white fur, though the coat is predominantly blue-ticked versus white. The AKC does not allow other colors besides the pattern described.

Exercise

Spotted Black, Brown and White Dog with Toy in Mouth
This is a high-energy dog that will need about 90 minutes of exercise each day.

One of the biggest challenges of owning a Bluetick Coonhound is their high energy needs. These dogs truly require a lot of exercise and you will need to accommodate this in order to keep them happy. This can make them a challenging breed to own for first-time dog owners. Since they also have high intelligence, you need to establish a good exercise routine in order to keep them occupied.

Think about putting in lots of variety, as well as keeping it as frequent as you can. Since this dog loves hanging out with their family, you should make it a point that everybody in the family be involved in their exercise as well. Giving them the right amount of exercise is going to help stave off boredom, because bored dogs can become quite destructive.

You can avoid destructive tendencies by taking your dog out on long walks everyday. It’s recommended to give them at least 90 minutes of exercise each day, though you can split this up into multiple sessions throughout the day. If you live near the mountains and forests, your Bluetick Coonhound will be more than happy to hike alongside you.

Since they are eager to run and play, your Bluetick will have a good time burning off energy in the yard, provided that it is well fenced in. This dog can be prone to wanderlust, which can get them lost very easily! Be sure to provide an array of games for them to play, such as fetch and tug-o-war. Given the space, your dog will also be happy to run an obstacle course provided you can build one for them.

Living Requirements

Black and White Spotted Dog Laying in Grass
Blueticks will need lots of room to run around and play stimulating games.

Since they tend to bark and bay a lot, it is not a good idea to keep them in an apartment. They are much better suited to more rural areas where they can make as much noise as they like.

However, if you are effective at training them to bark only when appropriate, as well as keeping them content with exercise and games, they could probably live happily in a suburban setting. Take care to give them a lot of toys to keep them busy so as not to develop destructive tendencies.

As far as tolerating the weather, your Bluetick Coonhound will be happiest in temperate climates. They do well in most different kinds of weather as long as it is not too extreme. Take care to keep them warm during the winter with a good heater, and put a sweater on them when it’s time to go out for walks.

In the summertime, be sure to keep them nice and cool with air conditioners and fans in a good shady area in your home. Provide them with plenty of fresh water all throughout the house as well. Always keep your dog indoors to ensure their health and safety.

Training

Black, Brown and White Spotted Dog Tilting Head
Training the Bluetick Coonhound right away is imperative, as they tend to be on the stubborn side.

Bluetick Coonhounds are smart dogs, though they aren’t always the easiest to train. They are frequently stubborn and will much prefer to do their own thing. This is why training them as early as possible is so important. Train them as soon as they come home with you for the first time. Incorporating firm guidance, plenty of confidence, and a strict routine will help keep your dog well behaved and better suited to training.

One important thing to note when training this breed is that they must learn how to behave while on a leash. These dogs have very strong noses and will happily chase whatever interesting scent they may find on your walks together. They also have pretty high wanderlust and will escape at the soonest possible chance. This goes double if they’ve caught the scent of a small animal and give chase to their quarry. You must also train them not to bark inappropriately, though this can be quite challenging.

During training, you may become exasperated with your Bluetick. However, you must never treat them unfairly, as they are sensitive dogs and will take it to heart. They can quickly grow resentful of an unkind trainer, which will make things difficult for everyone. The best way to go is with positive reinforcement, which is to reward them when they deserve it.

Giving them plenty of pets, praise, and treats for a job well done will give them incentive to keep doing well. After rapport has been established, you can then move on to more complicated tricks, since your dog will be more eager to do right by you. You can even choose to train them in competitive agility and obedience! The key is to give your dog a good sense of routine and structure in order to keep them well behaved.

Socialization

Socializing your Bluetick Coonhound is incredibly important to their mental health. This is also good for the well-being of those who share the home with them. Try to get them used to new people, animals, places, and situations; this will help them become confident and more well-rounded dogs.

The breed is well known to be fairly friendly and will probably not have too hard of a time getting used to their new environments. Still it is possible for them to become discouraged and feel a little shy, so take care to be gentle with them.

Puppy kindergarten classes are a great way to help your dog learn how to behave around other dogs. This is important if they are going to share the home with other dogs, as well as when they see new dogs on the street. Learning to behave appropriately will make your dog less fearful and far friendlier and more confident. It also helps to curb anxiety and aggression.

Health

Old Black and White Spotted Dog Looking in Camera
Blueticks are fairly healthy dogs and are expected to live up to 11-12 years.

Bluetick Coonhounds are fairly healthy dogs;  you can ensure their health by purchasing from a responsible breeder. Good breeders will do what is necessary to guarantee a good bill of health for your dog. Blueticks have an average lifespan of 11 to 12 years. Taking good care of your dog’s health means giving them the best quality of life, and may even extend the time that you have with them!

However, just like all dogs, the breed is still predisposed to a few illnesses. By understanding these illnesses ahead of time you will be able to give your dog a better chance at their best life. Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms will help you inform your veterinarian as soon as possible. While your dog may not develop any of these illnesses, it’s still a good idea to arm yourself with the knowledge just in case. Here are some common ailments they may experience.

Hip Dysplasia

Since they do a lot of running around, your Bluetick Coonhound may be prone to developing hip dysplasia. This is commonly a hereditary disease, and good breeders will always screen for the condition before they release your puppy to you. Hip dysplasia is a condition where your dog’s thigh bone does not fit properly into their hip socket.

This results in limping in one or both hindlegs, irregular posture, and a strange gait. It can also culminate in arthritis and lameness. This condition can be very painful for your dog so it’s important for it to be addressed immediately. For treatment plans, your veterinarian may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or weight loss if your dog is overweight.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition where your dog’s knee cap becomes dislocated from its normal place in the groove of the thigh bone. Unfortunately, this condition can be difficult to spot unless it has progressed to the point of discomfort or pain for your dog.

You may see your Bluetick Coonhound exhibiting hindleg lameness, and kicking in an attempt to “pop” the kneecap back into place. This condition must be addressed immediately, as it often progresses to degenerative arthritis, which is an extremely painful condition. Regular medical treatment is not necessarily a good course of action; your veterinarian may suggest surgery for treatment.

Gastric Torsion

Bluetick Coonhounds have deep chests; this is what makes them prone to gastric torsion, or bloat. This condition is very dangerous and potentially deadly, so it will require immediate veterinary attention. Gastric torsion occurs when the dog’s belly becomes distended with air that is unable to be expelled, and then twists.

Since the dog is unable to expel the contents of their stomach, their blood pressure drops and they go into shock. Signs of gastric torsion include retching without being able to vomit, excessive drooling, restlessness, increased heart rate, and distended belly.

Fortunately, bloat is an easy condition to avoid. Bloat gets triggered when your dog eats too quickly and too much, drinks too fast and in excess, and exercises too soon after eating. Giving your dog the correct amount of food and water can help to prevent gastric torsion. For their safety, only allow your Bluetick to exercise after at least an hour has passed since their last meal.

Nutrition

Black and White Spotted Dog in the Sand
The Bluetick Coonhound will thrive best on an all-natural, dry kibble dog food.

To ensure good health throughout your dog’s lifetime, it is important to give them a proper, balanced diet. A good diet means good nutrition, which is the foundation for healthiness in all living beings. Proper nutrition is required for your Bluetick to develop a healthy body in their puppyhood. Puppyhood is the most important developmental stage of any dog’s life, and your Bluetick is no exception.

The adult and senior years will have your dog’s diet’s focus shifting to maintaining overall vitality and the healthy body they grew during puppyhood. Feeding your dog food that is appropriate for their life stage ensures good nourishment throughout their lives.

There are many different types of dog food available on the market, which can make it a confusing endeavor to choose what is suitable for your dog. Luckily, the most convenient type of dog food is also the best to give your dog. You should select all-natural, dry kibble for your dog, since this gives the right amount of nutrients to maintain complete health.

It’s a good idea to stay away from food that markets itself as being for “all life stages”, since each life stage varies wildly in nutritional requirements. Also avoid food that contains artificial ingredients, as this can be detrimental to the quality of your dog’s diet.

Portion Sizes

Deciding portion sizes for your Bluetick Coonhound depends on a few different factors, namely: age, size, and activity level. That final factor is especially important, since this breed is quite active. As such they will be eating more than many other dogs of their breed size, especially if they engage in sports like competitive agility. Puppies will need nutritionally-dense food to help them grow up well; their portion sizes are going to change as they grow.

Adult Blueticks will need more food, given their bigger size, but their kibble will have fewer calories. Senior dogs will eat the least amount of food, but will still need a lot of protein in order to keep their muscles strong even in old age. Your veterinarian will be able to help you decide food portion sizes all throughout your dog’s life. Feeding your dog too much food can lead to canine obesity, which paves the way for many preventable diseases.

If you find that your dog has developed pickiness, you must address this as soon as possible. First, it is a good idea to be stricter about eating time. Try leaving your dog’s food out for 30 minutes; take it away if it goes untouched. Then, keep the food away from them until it is time for the next meal. This helps them to understand that their food is not always going to be available to them, and will provide incentive for them to eat on time. You can also opt to add wet food into your dog’s dry kibble to up the palatability.

Grooming

Black and White Spotted Dog Laying in Sand at the Beach
Bluetick Coonhounds are moderate shedders and will need a good brushing a few times a week.

This breed does shed, and is not hypoallergenic. However, Blueticks don’t shed an awful lot. You can keep your dog’s shedding in control by brushing them a few times a week. You can use a rubber curry brush to help remove the excess fur, with the added bonus of the brush giving your dog a nice gentle massage. This also helps keep the fur nice and shiny, keeping your dog looking their best!

As for bathing, you will not need to give your dog a bath too often. Sometime around once a month is going to be just fine, though you may increase frequency provided your Bluetick gets visibly dirty. Use warm water and a mild dog shampoo, taking care to rinse well so that no soap residue is left behind.

Soap residue can irritate your dog’s skin, so be thorough. In between washes, you can wipe down your dog with a baby wipe to get a little of the excess grime off of them. Otherwise, Blueticks do a good job of keeping themselves clean.

Bathing & Cleaning

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly will help to prevent infection. You can wipe at the visible parts of your dog’s ear using a cotton pad and a veterinary ear cleaning solution. This will help get the excess wax and debris off. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs. This will help their breath smell great, as well as remove tartar and plaque.

Since your Bluetick Coonhound is a busy dog who does a lot of running around, they usually wear their nails down by themselves. However, you still check their length a few times a month, and trim as necessary to prevent cracking, splitting, and injury.

Grooming should be a happy bonding experience for you and your dog. However, this isn’t usually the case. To make grooming as stress-free as possible for you and your dog, you should soothe them into enjoying it. Use basic obedience commands and a gentle touch to help move the process along. Being kind and guiding them well during their grooming will help them look forward to it, and prevent any mishaps that may come from fear of being groomed.

Breeders and Puppy Costs

Small Black and White Spotted Puppy
Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 and up for this particular dog breed.

Adopting your Coonhound from a reputable breeder is always a good idea. However, the operative word here is “reputable”; be sure to do your research before you buy! There are many irresponsible breeders who are only looking for profit and don’t actually care about the dogs. These unscrupulous breeders run puppy mills where conditions are unsanitary and unsafe; the dogs are often abused.

Responsible breeders will be happy to let you get to know your puppy in the weeks before you bring them home. This makes the transition to life together much more harmonious. They will be happy to answer any questions that you have about your dog, as well as the most important things that you need to know about raising your puppy. They will also provide you with veterinary certifications as to screenings done for illness, plus vaccinations and deworming.

If you’re looking to find a good breeder for your purebred puppy, there are many different resources to help you. Your veterinarian may have leads, so it’s a good idea to ask them first. You can then go to dog shows to speak with dog enthusiasts. It’s a good way to get information, especially if somebody owns a dog of this breed that they love themselves!

You can also choose to move your search online, and check out forums and social media sites full of dog lovers who may be able to help you. Lastly, the AKC has this amazing resource on breeder referrals, in case you need the extra help. You can expect to pay an average of $1,000 and up for a Bluetick Coonhound puppy, with show quality dogs costing more.

Rescues and Shelters

Black and White Dog in Front of Brick Wall
Always check your local shelter when considering bring a new pup into your home.

While it is a good idea to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder, we always recommend that our readers first look to adopt instead of shopping for their new dog. It may be possible to find a bluetick coonhound among the dogs at the shelter. Many of these dogs are senior dogs or dogs with special needs who will need the extra love and support to thrive again.

This can make them less adoptable than others, so we urge you to try to give them another chance at life. Since there are 3.3 million dogs put into shelters each year, with many of them eventually euthanized, adoption is saving a life.

When picking out a dog to rescue, be sure to ask the staff everything you may need to know about the newest member of your family. Understanding everything about your new dog, from their temperament to health issues, will help eliminate the guesswork on how to give the best care for them. This will help them live a better, healthier, happier life.

Dogs from a shelter will often be far more sensitive than most. Be patient with your new furry friend, because they are likely frightened and distrustful of you. Understand that this is a temporary situation and that you can coax them into feeling safe again.

As Family Pets

  • Blueticks are excellent family dogs and valiant protectors of their homes.
  • They make great watchdogs and will always let you know when someone new is around.
  • This breed is highly affectionate and love their owners.
  • They will enjoy making others laugh and being at the center of the action.
  • Bluetick Coonhounds are also prone to separation anxiety.
  • You’ll need not leave them alone for too long in case they become sad and anxious.
  • They should not be kept around smaller animals, as they may chase due to their prey drive.
  • These dogs bark a good bit, and thus will not be suitable for apartment living.
  • Bluetick Coonhounds need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy.
  • Give them daily walks and lots of toys to play with.
  • This breed is fine in temperate weather.
  • They don’t do well in extreme heat or cold.
  • Blueticks shed, but you can manage this with regular brushing.
  • Bluetick Coonhounds do not need baths more than once a month.
  • Grooming is relatively easy and painless.
  • Bluetick Coonhounds are prone to various ailments.
  • Check with your breeder to see if they’ve screened for them.

Final Thoughts

Now you’ve learned everything you need to know about the Bluetick Coonhound. Raising a dog always comes with its challenges, so it’s a good idea to equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to weather those challenges effectively.

We believe that the Bluetick Coonhound is more than worth the trouble, and we’re sure that you will feel the same! Your dog has plenty of devotion to give you, so it’s best to return that devotion with the love and care they truly deserve. This helps them live their very best life and allows you to enjoy all the time that you have together.

Your Bluetick Coonhound will be more than happy to accompany you on all of life’s adventures. They will be devoted to being your best furry friend, so make that friendship count! Getting to know them should come with little trouble since you know how to give them the best care. Armed with the knowledge from this guide, you’re sure to make your life together a happy one. Watch out, because this wonderful dog will be sniffing their way into your heart in no time at all!

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