Showsight Presents The Black and Tan Coonhound


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

JUDGING THE BLACK AND TAN COONHOUND By Robert Urban T hus spoken by the founders of our breed nearly 70 years ago, when our standard was first written and the breed entered into the

connected to this, as a hound not carry- ing the proper degree and quality of bone will not have the substance upon which muscle may form, attach and develop to its optimal advantage. Secondly, we look at how the pieces form together to create a whole. Our standard calls for a “muscu- lar, sloping, medium length” neck flowing into “powerfully constructed shoulders.” “Forelegs are straight… pasterns strong and erect.” “Feet are compact, with well knuckled, strongly arched toes and thick, strong pads.” Moving on the hindquar- ters, we want “Quarters well boned and muscled. From hip to hock, long and sinewy, hock to pad, short and strong.” “Stifles and hocks are well bent… When standing on a level surface, the hind feet are set back from under the body and the leg from pad to hock is at right angles to the ground.” Putting all of these descrip- tive terms into play we move on to address gait which states: “When viewed from the side, the stride of the Black and Tan is easy and graceful, with plenty of reach in front and drive behind.” Descriptive terms used in evaluating movement coming and going include “e ff ortless, soundness, converge, balance and stamina.” While doing all of this, the head and tail carriage is “proud and alert; the topline remains level.” Th is all paints a pretty easy to under- stand and apply picture, right? Assuming the judge has a proper working knowledge of canine gait and structure, one would hope so. Th is brings us to the next, more elusive portion of understanding the Black and Tan Coonhound: Type. Head and overall expression define breed type in many breeds, as does the body out- line. Both of these are most helpful in learn- ing to identify the correct Black and Tan. Th e head is a unique feature of the B&T and although it is immediately recogniz- able as a scent hound and apparent kin to

AKC. “ Th e Black and Tan Coonhound is first and fundamentally a working dog; a trail and tree hound, capable of withstand- ing the rigors of winter, the heat of sum- mer and the di ffi cult terrain over which he is called upon to work.” As a member of our Judges Education Committee, I stress the first paragraph of our standard from which this sentence is taken - unchanged since 1945 as the foundation upon which the evaluation of the breed should be based on. Th e old adage of “No foot, no horse” has a ring of truth to it here as well, although it is important to recognize that all things are connected and interdepen- dent, from the foot to the hip as well as shoulder blade. Th e Black and Tan standard refers to gait and soundness on three di ff erent occasions and has its own separate sec- tion dedicated to gait. Our breed found- ers recognized the importance this played in both the formation and preservation of the breed and placed the appropriate value and emphasis on it. Again quoting from paragraph one of our standard: “He immediately impresses one with his ability to cover the ground with powerful rhyth- mic strides.” Once we have established the importance gait, structure and stamina play in the formation of the ideal Black and Tan, how do we go about selecting those qualities that tend to support those all important characteristics within the some- what limiting parameters of the showring? Firstly, we must look at overall condition and balance. Th e hound should appear fit and in proper condition to do the job for which it was created. Substance is directly

Correct low reach and drive.

Great expression.


unique feature of markings includes “black pencil markings on the toes”. Our only DQ is a “Solid patch of white which extends more than one inch in any direction.” It is important to note that scars resulting from honorable wounds are not to be faulted and that the resultant hair growth in these areas typically grows back white. Another area where a fair degree of latitude is given is size. Our standard calls for bitches to be from 23"-25" at the with- ers and dogs 25"-27". However, we do not penalize hounds which are oversized when general soundness and proportion are in favor. We do however, penalize undersize. North America is a very big landmass, with a vast multitude of ter- rain and conditions which has resulted in hunters preferring a larger or smaller hound to pursue the game they are hunt- ing. Our standard takes that into consid- eration and allows for it. In summary, overall proportion calls for a hound that is equal in size from the withers to the ground as it is from the point of shoulder to the buttocks or slightly longer. Taking into consideration the resulting outline given proper angula- tion—bend of stifle behind, presence of forechest in the front, we see a slightly o ff - square profile of a hound that “stands over plenty of ground.”

Great profile.

both the Bloodhound and Bassett, chiefly through the ears and ear set, there are key di ff erences which make it unique. Starting with the ears, the B&T gives up nothing to either of the aforementioned breeds in this regard. Low set (at eye level or lower) well back on the head, hanging in graceful folds and naturally extending well past the tip of the nose. (Author’s italics.) Along with this, we want to see flews that well developed with a typical hound appearance. So far, so good... Changing up the game a bit we conversely do not want to see “excessive wrinkle” and the skin should be “devoid of folds.” On top of that, we want to see an “almost round” and “Not deeply set” eye, ranging in color from hazel to dark brown. No mention or reference is made as to the presence of visible haw or lack thereof although most hunters would prefer a hound without a drooping haw for simple eye maintenance reasons. Th e head is cleanly modeled and the muzzle

and skull should form equal parts, creating a balanced picture. Th e stop is moderate and on profile displays practically parallel planes between skull and muzzle. Th e skull forms an oval outline and I interpret that as when viewing the skull from above. Com- mon head faults include broad, coarse heads and deep chiseled stops, often going hand in hand with high set, short ears. Color and markings are given considerable lati- tude, ranging from a very deep mahogany to a lighter, clearer tan. Hounds completely lacking in markings where called for are to be faulted as are hounds with excessive amounts of tan, most often seen running high up the legs, completely covering the feet, presenting a solid broad patch of tan across the chest or across the bridge of the nose. Hounds lacking the correct mark- ings are most often seen on the head or face through the absence of “pumpkinseeds” over the eyes or missing in other areas. A

BIO Robert Urban has

been around hunting hounds since he was a youngster. He has been active with AKC Blk and Tans since 1981. He is a Life Member of the Ameri-

can Black and Tan Coonhound Club and has served on the Judges Education Committee since 1990. He also serves as the Club’s AKC Delegate.

“COLOR AND MARKINGS ARE GIVEN CONSIDERABLE LATITUDE, ranging from a very deep mahogany to a lighter, clearer tan.”



By Edith S. Atchley Rockytop Black & Tans


lack and Tan Coon- hounds are very good family dogs. Th ey are very laid back and will be equally happy taking a walk with their own-

may not endear them to the competitive “nite hunter”, they can excel as a pleasure hunting hound, giving free voice with a deep “bawl” as they work to unravel the path that their quarry has taken. Th is type of hound has the added benefit of picking up their lessons thoroughly, once learned and seldom need refreshers in the field to remind them of what they are there for. Th ey tend to be easy hounds to handle and call in, seldom requiring high tech gadgetry such as GPS tracking collars and the like to keep tabs on their whereabouts while in the woods. As with many hounds, they can be jealous and possessive at the tree and may attempt to “own it”, to the exclusion of other hounds that that they may have been cast with.” I would like to present a couple of exam- ples of notable obedience coonhounds. Th e first was CH McDaniel’s Sugarfoot UDT who was owned and trained by Jim McDaniel. Sugarfoot earned her UD in 1981 and became the first Coonhound to earn a UD, the first AKC Champion Coonhound to earn a UD and the first Coonhound to earn OTCH points. She earned at least 1 High In Trial at an all- breed obedience trial along the way. Another Coonhound to earn the UD title was Schudaben Kodies Kid UD, “Ben” who was owned and trained and hunted by Mable Ziegler. While Ben was not an AKC champion, he was actively hunted proving that one dog can do both

er or keeping the owner company while watching TV. Being a hunting breed, Black and Tan Coonhounds do equally well living in the house or living outdoors in a fenced area. Th eir short, dense coat requires minimum maintenance. Th ey can be vocal if you have squirrels in your yard, or if your neighbor has cats that tease them. If they are not kept in a fenced area, they will tend to follow their nose which can get them into trouble. Black and Tan Coonhounds are a versatile breed devel- oped primarily for hunting raccoons. However, their desire to work with man makes them suitable for companion events such as tracking, obedience and agility. Bob Urban states, “ Th e traditional “Old Fashioned” AKC Black and Tan typically has a distinctive hunting style that is di ff erent from that of the “hot- ter nosed”, foxhound-based coonhound breeds. Th ey tend to be more deliberate in their scenting style and are not typically the type of hound that “hits the ground running”. Th ey are willing and capable of working an older (colder) track and stick- ing with it to its conclusion, even to the point of passing up fresher (hotter) tracks they may run across. While this tendency

hunt and compete in obedience. In 1995 Ben was invited to AKC’s first National Invitational Obedience Championship which was held in St. Louis on June 17 & 18, 1995. Ben placed 3rd overall in the Hound group at this event. Karen Winn states, “Rally Obedience is an ideal way to start competing with a Black & Tan Coonhound. Th e introduc- tory level, Rally Novice, is all on leash, and has simple obedience exercises that any well behaved dog should be able to do  heeling at various speeds, turning, circling, sitting and staying, lying down on command, and so on. In Rally Novice


competitions you can talk to your dog, pat your leg, and clap your hands to keep their attention, making it an ideal way to initi- ate the dog into obedience competition.” Two Black and Tan Coonhounds have completed the AKC Master Agility Cham- pion (MACH) title. Th ey are MACH Indigo Mark V Spitfire MXB MJS and MACH Sloopy MX MXS MXJ MJB. Teresa Locatelli who is currently compet- ing in agility writes, “If you want to spend some fun time with your coonhound, try agility. Even if you don’t want to compete, training is fun.” She continues by saying, “Your first obstacle is to find a trainer that realizes a coonhound is not a border collie. Unlike the herding dogs and terrier in my agility class, I can’t send my coonhound through the weave poles three times in a

row. If she does it right the first time, she doesn’t get the point of repeating the same thing and she will get slower the second time and shut down on the third time.” I emphasize the history of the Black and Tan being trainable in both obedi- ence and agility so that people will real- ize that these dogs make excellent family pets. Th ey are excellent with children. Since Black and Tans were bred to hunt raccoons, they are a bit impervious to pain. Th is means that a toddler or small child who accidentally hurts a coonhound is not likely to get snapped at. Samantha, my youngest daughter started showing dogs in fun matches at the age of six. I gave her one of my grown Coonhounds, CH Rockytop Mountain Moonshine CDX to handle. Samantha had to reach

under Shine to set his legs that were not next to her because she could not reach them over his back. She took first place at one fun match—she was the smallest junior with the biggest dog. Shine was very patient with his young handler! Th ey are also excellent watchdogs, alerting you (and the rest of the neigh- borhood) when there is a stranger in the vicinity. I lived in Huntsville for 13 years and I thought we just lived in a good sec- tion of town. Th ere was never any crime on our street. About a month after we moved to Gurley, Alabama several of the cars up and down our former neighborhood were broken into. My coonhounds, who lived in the back yard, kept the neighborhood safe all that time by causing the burglars to find quieter neighborhoods to vandalize.

“Since Black and Tans were bred to hunt raccoons, THEY ARE A BIT IMPERVIOUS TO PAIN.”



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