The Black and Tan Coonhound is first and fundamentally a working dog, a trail and tree hound, capable of withstanding the rigors of winter, the heat of summer, and the difficult terrain over which he is called upon to work. Used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon, the Black and Tan Coonhound runs his game entirely by scent. The characteristics and courage of the Coonhound also make him proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, mountain lion and other big game. Judges are asked by the club sponsoring the breed to place great emphasis upon these facts when evaluating the merits of the dog. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness. He immediately impresses one with his ability to cover the ground with powerful rhythmic strides.
While the Black and Tan Coonhound is not prone to the average canine disorders, some degree of hip dysplasia has been recorded. But like all breeds there may be some health issues such as cataracts and some thyroid issues. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Black and Tan Coonhounds are generally a healthy breed.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Black and Tan Coonhound can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies. The American Black and Tan Coonhound Club (AB&TCC) has its own Canine Health Committee. Many members have their breeding stock tested.
Black and Tan Coonhounds are sociable hounds who thrive on companionship. A lonely Black and Tan Coonhound will serenade the neighborhood with loud, mournful “music.” They can keep pace with the most active family, but they also can happily hog the sofa for hours on end. Hounds will be hounds: A passing squirrel can arouse a Black and Tan Coonhound's prey drive in no time flat. A strong leash and sturdy fence are a must. As sweet and trainable as they are, Black and Tan Coonhounds might be too much hound for the lifestyle of every owner.