Showsight Presents The American English Coonhound

JUDGING THE AMERICAN ENGLISH COONHOUND

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By Penny Jessup

aving been a fancier of these ticked up hounds for a number of years, I became passionate about the breed after I heard my

I have had an English female win the 2012 AKC World Championship Bench Show and additionally a second English Coonhound female win the 2013 UKC World Championship Bench Show. My endeavors with this breed have brought me heartache and also incredible joy and while I have a deep appreciation for all the Coonhound breeds, the English hounds do hold a special place in my heart. One thing lots of folks ask is “why is this breed called the AMERICAN ENG- LISH Coonhound?” Th at’s a fair question. For all the years until AKC formally rec- ognized this breed, it was only known as the “English Coonhound” so my interest was piqued as well. As it was explained to me, it was to avoid any confusion with any- one thinking this was a Coonhound breed developed in England and brought there. Th is is a purely American breed, developed primarily in the southeastern United States to run and tree game. So while the name “AMERICAN English Coonhound” seems a misnomer in name, it actually recognizes the breed accurately and I can accept that and appreciate that. I feel there would not be much I can tell any current AKC conformation judge reading this article about movement and how these hounds should place their feet for e ffi cient and e ff ortless movement. My goal therefore is to discuss finer points of the breed in hopes you will better under- stand the breed when you next judge them in your rings. One thing to note… of the 6 Coon- hound breeds presently recognized by AKC, all of them are unique both in their ancestry and their nature and char- acteristics. While all but the Plott have a shared heritage leading all the way back to the foxhound, the English Coon- hound is probably the most diverse of all

first English Coonhound track and tree a raccoon during training season in fall of 1990. Our party went on quite a bit of a walking hike after the hounds trailed out of hearing across the hills and hollows of eastern Kentucky. To witness hounds doing what they were bred to do and doing it out of instinct was so thrilling! Th ere is nothing sweeter than hearing a hound on chase giving voice and then hear that voice change over to a tree bark announc- ing “I’ve got the quarry treed…come to me.” And as this was just training season, we found the coon with our lights, then rewarded the hounds with pats and praise and “ok..leave it…let’s go.” Wow…it was an experience I enjoyed and I from that time forward I found myself hooked on these ticked up hounds! Th at was in 1990 and by 1992 I was dabbling with raising, showing, and hunting them. Hello my name is Penny Jessup and today I have a small hobby kennel in the rolling hills of north central North Carolina along with my husband and 2 children. My husband participates in competition coon hunts and I like to show. We are very active with our hounds, both in the woods and in the shows and we strive to raise quality hounds that can be dual purpose show and hunt as well as loyal companions. While I am not pres- ently an AKC licensed conformation judge, I am however an AKC and UKC licensed Coonhound bench show judge and have been for least 15 years. I have participated in the Coonhound program for over 20 years and during that time,

268 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014

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