Big Red, our featured dog, is a Redbone coonhound; and since I don’t know one hound from the next, I thought I’d do some research on the breed and share my findings with you.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Redbone coonhound is “even-tempered, amiable and eager to please,” suggesting Big Red will make a great companion and/or family pet. 

“Reds” tend to be well-muscled with short, coarse coats, and while many are solid-colored, others will have touches of white on their chests, between their legs and on their feet. They may also have black on their faces and muzzles. They have prominent hound noses and long, floppy ears suited to the hunters they were bred to be.

Redbone coonhounds tend to be extremely high energy and may mature later than other breeds, so prepare to give them plenty of positive outlets for that energy to prevent destructive behaviors. Patience will be required while training, as harsh words or actions negatively impact this sensitive and sometimes stubborn breed. However, at 3 years old, Big Red is well past the puppy stage and you can expect a deeply loving, gentle and loyal family pet.

Bred to hunt raccoons, deer, cougars and bears, Redbone coonhounds are natural problem-solvers, enabling them to track their prey in spite of fences, rivers or other obstacles. Their instinct to follow their noses can get them into trouble if they aren’t appropriately directed. Make sure your Red is on a leash when outside or within a secure fence to avoid unplanned canine adventures.

Designed to track prey over vast distances, this breed requires exercise, so plan to spend time out walking your hound or hunting with them. Over time, you can learn what their various vocalizations signify, from first catching a scent to treeing their prey to a warning of danger, and with consistent training, you can become a dynamic team. 

Don’t be surprised if your Redbone coonhound acts more like a Lab and jumps in the family pool, as their webbed feet make them                                an excellent swimmer.

Big Red has been well socialized and gets along well with adults, children, other dogs and cats. But again, keep him on a leash when outside his own yard. The instinct to track and tree his prey may lead him to misidentify the neighbor cats.

Every source I found referred to the Redbone coonhound as a great breed for a family pet. If you know your potential pet’s needs and your ability to satisfy those needs, you can look forward to many years with your new best friend.

 — Pets and the People Who Love Them is brought to you on behalf of your friends at the Athens- Limestone Animal Shelter. To adopt a dog or cat, visit www.limestone to view pets and fill out an application, or call us at 256-771-7889 to set up an appointment to visit the shelter at 1701 U.S. 72, behind Limestone Veterinary Clinic.

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