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REDBONE COONHOUNDS FROM A JUDGE’S PERSPECTIVE
By Lori Mills
throat should have a slight fold under the jaw. Then onto the back a nice lay of shoulders and a good spring of rib. Slightly taller at shoulders than the hips… not necessarily seen but felt. A dog should not look like a drag race car running around the ring or standing still, higher in the rear than the front. I look for adequate muscle, Redbones have a leaner tighter muscle, it varies with dog type but must be present, not f labby or boney. A nice saber like tail free of curl and heavy brush. This is a single coated breed and has a short length coat with various shades of red, varying from a golden red coat to a dark mahogany coat. Note that the coat changes dur- ing the lifespan of the dog. As the dog gets older the coat starts to get lighter in color and grey can appear on the muz- zle, cheeks and toes as early as 4 years of age, much like a Plott hound graying in the same areas. The hind quarters should never be straight or cow hocked, it doesn’t allow for a free moving dog. Nor should they be over angulated. The forelegs and pasterns should be straight and the feet well padded and cat like with nice short toes. Front legs should
evaluat- ing Redbone C o o n h o u n d s I look for the overall dog. I
start at the head and work down over the body to the feet, legs and tail. I am looking for a nice houndy head, with a nice ear set, not bloodhound in type and not high set with a sporting dog type ear hang or length. Th e standard says it should reach almost to the end of the nose, not to the middle of the cheek, I like it touching the nose in length, pro- portionate with the dogs head. A good dark eye or in exception a hazel colored eye, usually coordinating with a medium golden red coat. A darker dog with a lighter eye is not favorable. When look- ing into a Redbones eyes it is a plead- ing expression you are looking for. It is usually a look that melts most peoples hearts, you almost cannot tell them no on whatever they are asking for. A nice well balanced head is the first thing you should see in the breed. Then reaching down the neck which should have a slight arch in it and the
“WHEN LOOKING INTO A REDBONES EYES IT IS A PLEADING EXPRESSION YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. IT IS USUALLY A LOOK THAT MELTS MOST PEOPLES HEARTS...”
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collars and/or multiple collars worn while hunting and training. Th e hair also when it grows back in most cases comes back in white, you can tell the di ff erence in white hairs scantily on the throat from being pulled out or rubbed o ff , totally di ff erent than that of being white up the throat. Being a breeder and hunter I easily over- look these battle wounds and take them in with admiration. Redbones should give an overall impression of being sound and athletic, with the dog being judged as a whole package and not a specific color or height. Everything should be in propor- tion. Th e Redbone when viewed from a distance should have a distinction in sex also. Th e bitches and dogs shouldn’t have to have an under carriage check in most cases. Th e bitch is a little more elegant in most cases and has more tuck up. She also may not be as heavy in body, but should have enough substance about her to take on her quarry of game. Th e dogs in temperament are very even tempered but are very aggressive on game. Th e show ring is tolerated by most. Not saying they do not enjoy showing but most of them come to life when game is present almost like turning on a light switch. So when making my choices I look for the dog that has substance and structure to help denote its ability to do its job with breed characteristics known only to the Redbone. A twenty pound coon or five hundred pound bear or hog can be hunted by the same exact dog so it has to fit the standard to be able to do its job. Th ey meet their game head on in most cases, remember they do not need to become the prey, but if the tables are turned they need to be able to stand their own ground.
BIO National Redbone Coonhound Club The NRCC is now the Of ficial Par- ent Club for the Redbone Coonhound with AKC. This club has been formed to promote the Redbone coonhound in all venues mainly showing and hunt- ing. This club was formed by a group of breeders and exhibitors who have a passion for the breed and are wanting to sustain its true type, personality and purpose. The club is welcoming new members and are planning on several events for the upcoming year. Includ- ing Matches, Bench Shows, night hunts, etc. The NRCC is looking forward to good fellowship and participation from its members and future members. Look for us in the near future at upcoming events. We hope you would like to join the NRCC and help us support and pro- mote this wonderful Hound. We are working towards a National Specialty Event which will hold several types of activities for the breed. Please contact us if you are a club or a judge and are in need of Breed Education. My name is Lori
not toe in or out, but should be straight on when viewed. Front dewclaws are left on for another source of grabbing onto the tree while baying (treeing) game. Back dewclaws are a fault, not permis- sible. Most of the Redbones are also left some length of nail, not long toe nails but not nubs, they have a purpose in their hunting. Th ey have a distinctive flowing move- ment, it is deliberate in stride, not to be moved and ran with like a sporting dog. Th e dog is winding the air and hunting for game as it is moving through the ter- rain that includes swamp, rivers, creeks, fields, woods and mountains a dog that is running wide open is most likely over- running the scent and losing his game trail. In the same terms a dog that cannot move freely and have reach and drive and just pokes along is going to have to catch a cab to get to its game because by now it is in the next county. Th ese dogs are hunters and should be viewed as such. Dogs that are dual purpose hounds will most likely tote battle scars, pieces of ear missing, split ears, scars on their head or legs, clouded or blinded eyes. Th ey will also be missing hair sometimes espe- cially under the chest from underbrush and around the throat area from tracking
Mills and I am the elected President of the NRCC, our Vice President is Phil Samuelson and our Secretary/ Treasurer is Helen Joyce. We have a
great board and line up of members and would love for you to join us. Contact us at www.nationalredboneclub.org and email@example.com. We’re working for the Redbone Coonhound! Lori Mills, President—National Redbone Coonhound Club
“THEY HAVE A DISTINCTIVE FLOWING MOVEMENT, IT IS DELIBERATE IN STRIDE, NOT TO BE MOVED AND RAN WITH LIKE A SPORTING DOG.”
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History of the Redbone Coonhound By Christine Smith Redbone Coonhound
The history of the Redbone Coonhound is one that is not well documented. It’s a history that you would more likely hear about while sitting at the feet of your great-grandpa. Coon hunting was once a well known tradition that has seemed to have faded in this modernized world. However, there is a group still thriving, almost like a “Secret Society”. The great coon hunters from this soci- ety are who founded these f lashy, red-coated, hard hunting dogs we know as Redbones!
Birdsong. Birdsong also acquired a pack of hounds from Dr. Thomas Y. Henry. From these Scottish and Irish Foxhounds is what is to be believed the foundation stock of the modern day Redbone. W.B. Frisbee, a Redbone owner from the early to mid 1900’s, said….. “The Redbone Coonhound originated in the South in the slave days. They were used to catch runaway slaves and by the trustees to catch coon and opossum…. At that time they were a large, heavy
and Redbone strains of Col. Mile G. Harris of GA; could be the beginnings of the Redbone. The July hound was a product of hounds, Tickler and Lade, from Nimrod Gosnell of MD. Tickler was a red hound with white on his neck while Lade was a tan female of a medi- um size. Harris’ other hounds, Proctor and Redbone strain, where large red hounds with long ears hanging like win- dow curtains. After Col. Harris’ hearing and eyesight started to fail, he gave his pack of hounds to friends in Putnam Co., GA. The July hound eventually went to one of the friends, George L.F.
hound and were open trailers on the trail of game…. Had deep bawling voic- es, color was red with black saddles on backs, with red or tan heads and ears. And even then some were solid red.
Going back to before the Civil War, Redbones were already well established. To give an exact year is too hard. I believe that a lot of the old red dogs that
are noted in history and believed to be Bloodhounds, were actually Redbones. Stories tell that Davy Crockett even kept a Redbone for a companion at some point. After much research, here are some of my personal findings that came through putting pieces of the puzzle together… As the stories go, crossings with the Foxhound “July” and also the Proctor
When the slaves were freed and they were no longer needed…. (for that pur- pose)….they were crossed with the Irish hounds to get a lighter, faster hound…. So now they are good trim built hounds that have good cold noses and will range out for a great distance to find their game and will tree it and stay for hours until their owners find them and get the game or call them
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History of the Redbone Coonhound
By Christine Smith
away. They are now and always have been a one man dog and will fight for their master. It is almost impossible for a stranger t o pick one of them up in the woods…” These traits make Redbone Coonhounds unique to the other Coonhound breeds as they were bred first for their looks; to be a solid flashy red dog, medium in size. And after achieving their goal, dedicated breeders focused on the hunting ability again. Thanks to hunters and breeders like Brooks Magill, Roy Blakesley and many more, the Redbone breed evolved into what we see today. W.B. Frisbee spoke the truth; Redbones are an American bred hound originating from the south. Their beau- tiful red coats, whether dark as
mahogany or a golden sheen of red, are a product of determined breeders who set out to produce a medium sized, solid red, eye-catching hound. As I said before, the history of the Redbone Coonhound is somewhat hid- den inside of the “Society” of great coon hunters, past and present. As Roy Blakesley says, “Thank the Lord there were enough good men interested in the breed to stay with it, and bring the breed to where it is today. The Redbone breed is the youngest breed of the old breeds of hounds, but are the oldest breed of tree hounds we have, were never used as trail hounds as a breed, were bred and used for tree game from the start.” And of course in his opinion, “The finest breed of tree hounds in the world.” ■
“ Thank the Lord there were enough good men interested in the breed
to stay with it, and bring the breed to where it is today. . .
The finest breed of tree hounds in the world.”
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Judging the Redbone Coonhound By Christine Smith Redbone Coonhound
Imagine the dark of the night surrounds you. It’s late and you have just decided tonight is going to be a great night! You see, you just cut your hound, Red, loose to go and do what he does best, tree a coon. This is the first image that should enter your mind when you see a Redbone Coonhound in your ring. Redbones can travel numerous miles while hunting night after night. When judging the breed, it’s important to put emphasis on whether or not they look like they are capable of doing their job in the woods. Size is extremely important in the breed. The height standard calls for 22-27 inches in males and 21-26 inches in females; mid-range being preferred. Height is important but remember 2 words that are scattered through our standard are proportioned and square. No matter the height, a Redbone should be equal in height as they are in length. They are a medium sized hound and are never to be overdone. Let’s go back to the darkness of the night, it seems silent at first but then you hear it. The long bawl of your Redbone letting you know he is aggressively on the trail of his game. Sounds like Red has done what he does best; picked up an older track but he’s working it out. All the while, he keeps letting you know where he’s at and how it’s coming along. Until finally you hear it, the chase has come to an end. Old Red has barked a locate, letting you know he ran the coon up a tree and he’s settling in on a chop at the base of the tree. Now comes the hard part as a hunter, making your way to the tree and your hound. As you’re walking you can’t help but think Red has just covered probably triple the ground you are. The terrain is more difficult than you imagined at the start of your hunt. So all the while you’re thankful that Red’s feet are nice, tight, cat paw like because a flat foot wouldn’t be forgiving out here. As you climb over the barb-wire fence, the relief overwhelms
you that your dog isn’t too tall and has a great level topline and a tail set mid- croup. If his tail was to be carried beyond the point of his ischum, we’d be patching a torn up tail tonight. Over the hill you’re climbing, you can hear the stream bubbling, with Red still in the distance letting you know you are closing in on him. All you can think is Red is one heck of a Coondog, with his large black nose and nostrils open and popping from the scent passing through it. For him to not be fooled by Mr. Coon going through the water was probably from help of his long ears gathering up the scent and brushing the tip of his nose. With his round eyes open bright he sought out the trail. Knowing that Red is built right with a 90 degree shoulder and rear end, giving him the correct amount of reach and drive to push through the tough woods night after night is such a relief. Watching where you walk you realize that the paw prints in the dirt are like Red’s rear feet took place of his front almost perfectly. After walking the mile, so to speak, you are finally closing in. Red is still at the tree, barking with every breath. You shine your light in front of you, just to be amazed at what’s in front of you. There’s Red stretched out on the tree, belly rubbing with his front feet clinging to the side most likely where the coon climbed up. The sheen of the deep solid red coat is magnificent, as you see his head throwing back with every bark and his muscles rippling with definition. It’s definitely a remarkable scene with extreme intensity! After looking up the tree with your light and finding the coon, it’s time to leash Red up and head out of the woods. Petting Red up, he looks up at you with his pleading expression, knowing all the while he has done a great job. Now that the jobs done, Red calms down and mel- lows out as he walks beside you, proud of his work and pleased that he has made
his master proud and happy with him. Important points to remember when judging is a Redbone should have a strik- ingly beautiful red coat. When they enter the ring they should move out effortless- ly, showing in a nonchalant manner, never over animated. The Redbones nat- ural temperament is laid back and gentle unless they are hunting and should pre- sent themselves that way in the ring. They should be moderate in size, not overdone, equal in height to length with medium bone. Starting at the head, the skull should be equal in length to the muzzle. The ears should reach the tip of the nose or beyond as well as a slight fold of skin below the angle of the jaw. The topline should never be sloping, instead it will be level. The chest should reach to at least the elbow. The tail is not to be car- ried gay, over the back, past the ischum. Tight, cat paw type feet are a must. The shoulder and rear are to be a 90 degree angle. Most importantly, a Redbone should be square in all aspects from the head to the body. When presented in Group, remember to ask yourself, is this Redbone square, level topline, medium in size, with a pleasing look and good feet? To place in Group, they should be as close to the breed standard as possible and should never be overdone. When judging the Redbone Coonhound whether in Breed or Group these thoughts of doing what they are bred to do should be fresh in your mind. The ability to hunt lies first and foremost in whether or not they are built conformationally correct. ■
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