Showsight Presents The Redbone Coonhound

SS1104 SIG 179 4/14/11 1:12 PM Page 192

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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