• Stories
  • 3 Tips For Picking Your First Coonhound | Racoon Hunting Dog Advice

3 Tips For Picking Your First Coonhound | Racoon Hunting Dog Advice

3 Tips For Picking Your First Coonhound | Racoon Hunting Dog Advice
March 20, 2023

By Steph Lane

Alright, so you have made your decision. You are going to run with the raccoon hunters. You got your gear and your walking legs ready. Now, you need yourself a coonhound! But where to begin?

Of course, there are many ways to go about this; tons of research can be done, finding a reputable breeder, understanding what to look for in breeding hounds, coonhunting forums to follow (like the Houndsman Trail on GoWild), and so much information is just at your fingertips! It can be overwhelming, and for some, it can keep you so busy you never actually get started. All these things are a must, but nothing is more effective than hitting the woods! 

Here is what I would do. 

For a Beginners Guide To Raccoon Hunting With Hounds Read This Article

3 Steps To Take To Find Your First Coonhound:

  1. Ask Yourself What You Want From Your Coonhound 

And by that, do you want a hound for pleasure Hunting? Competitions? Trials? You may not even know what you want yet, and that's okay! 

  1. Get Firsthand Experience Around Coonhounds

Go with as many people as possible to coon hunts, competitions, trials, etc. Many times you can tag along and walk with the handler and observe. Take it all in. What the handler is doing, but most importantly, what the dog is doing. They have so much to teach us; we just need to stand back, watch, and listen. What didn't you like? What did you like? What got you the most pumped up?

  1. Decide How Experienced You Want Your Coonhound To Be Initially

Now, the research and picking your dog come into play. Take what you've learned and experienced, and evaluate your options. Everyone's situation and the opportunities available to them are going to be different. Are you going to get a puppy? Started hound? An ole' veteran? If and when I do this all over again, I would get a coonhound that has already proved they can do what I would like them to do (i.e. tree raccoons). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE puppies. But as a new coonhunter with much to learn, a coonhound that's at least been started, will teach you at a faster rate. You can hit the ground running so to speak.

On the other hand, I fully understand the gratification that comes with raising up a pup from the beginning, and the cuteness. But whether you're doing trials, competitions, or pleasure hunting, it's a lot of work and a big commitment.

Which Coonhound Breed is Right For You?

But what breed of hound should you get? The seven coonhound breeds recognized by the United Kennel Club have specific traits to do well in Hunting Competitions, Bench Shows, Water Races and Field Trials. All of these events are ways to test a coonhound's natural ability. 

7 Recognized Breeds of Coonhounds:

  1. Black and Tan coonhound

  2. Red-bone coonhound

  3. Treeing Walker coonhound

  4. English coonhound

  5. Bluetick coonhound

  6. Plott coonhound

  7. American Leopard hound

Now with all that said, you do not necessarily need a "recognized coonhound" to have a successful coon hunting companion. The United Kennel Club has over 50 breeds grouped under "scenthounds," and scenthounds are then divided into two groups, "trailing hounds" and "tree hounds." The seven recognized coonhounds all fall under the "tree hound" group.

In just my few short years racoon hunting, I have seen many more breeds than the seven listed above be successful and kick the competition's tail! You just need to get out there yourself and ask questions.

Get Out There with Coonhounds

Go coon hunting or to competitions as much as possible before committing to chasing raccoons or entering competitions with your future hound! If you can hunt with different breeds, take advantage! Do your research. Observe, listen, and pay attention to the dog and its communication with different bawls, barks, and howls. And be open-minded. This is not a perfect science. Dogs, like people, have unique quirks and strengths. You can do all the research and all the planning, and none of it goes according to plan! But that's part of the fun! 

Find out more coonhound breed information, events, and more at https://www.ukcdogs.com/coonhounds

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use.