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THE MODERN DAY BLUE TICK COONHOUND
By Susan Lloyd
he modern day Blue Tick Coonhound can trace its origins to an importation of Grand Bleu de Gascognes from the Marquis de Lafay-
ette to George Washington in 1785. Th ese French Hounds where crossed on Wash- ington’s hounds which descended from hounds brought to America in 1650, by Robert Brooke. One Grand Blue owned by George Washington was recorded as giv- ing birth to 15 puppies, and Washington likened their musical voices to the “bells of Moscow”. Th e Grand Bleu was too slow on the trail to please the American hunter but, when bred to American hounds, it increased their cold-trailing ability and their endurance. In the beginning of the 20th century all hounds of Bluetick, Redtick and Walker type where all lumped into a group known as English Coonhounds. It is thought this was because they still resembled their heavy boned English ancestors, and where recognized by UKC as one breed as Eng- lish Fox and Coon Hounds. Th e Bluetick breeders of the day proud of their larger, cold-nosed and resolute, if slower hounds wanted to keep their old style of hunt- ing. Fearing this faster is better trend; the Bluetick Breeders of the ‘40’s pulled away from English Coonhound. Th ese breeders
The head is broad between the ears with a slightly domed skull, prominent stop with a long broad deep muzzle, square in profile with flews well covering the lower jaw.
o ffi cially broke away in 1945 and estab- lished the Bluetick Coonhound Breed. Th ere is a common misconception that the coonhound breeds have been sepa- rated by color alone. Th is is farthest from the truth. Th e currently recognized coon- hound breeds have been bred to make the most of the individual hunting style. Now that the Bluetick has been rec- ognized by AKC, there is a trend toward
rewarding smaller hounds. It seems that there is some confusion in the choice of wording of the general appearance descrip- tion in the standard. General Appearance “ Th e Bluetick should have the appear- ance of a speedy and well-muscled hound. He never appears clumsy or overly chunky in build. He has a neat, compact body, a
“HE NEVER APPEARS CLUMSY OR OVERLY CHUNKY IN BUILD. He has a neat, compact body, a glossy coat and clear, keen eyes.”
280 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014
“The body shows DEPTH OF CHESTALLOWING FOR PLENTY OF LUNG SPACE.”
glossy coat and clear, keen eyes. In motion he carriers his head and tail well up”. Please remember that speedy is rela- tive and racy has a di ff erent meaning all together. Th e bluetick may be considered more “speedy” than a Blood hound, but rarely more “speedy” than a Treeing Walk- er or English coonhound. Racy would bet- ter describe the whippet-like hound. Th e bone and substance of the Bluetick must be considered relative to hunting style. Th e farther a hound is from the game the colder the trail, therefore a cold-nosed hound has the ability to find and work an older tract. But working an older trail takes time and a dog that is determined and strong willed. Cold-nosed hounds typi- cally have heavier heads with a prominent stop and longer ears with no erectile tissue, as well as deeper flews which help them hold scent. Th ey also tend to be heavier bone and carry more substance. To put it in to perspective, some examples of cold- nose hounds that we all know are Blood- hounds and Black and Tan Coon hounds. Th e body shows depth of chest allow- ing for plenty of lung space. Th e body is either square or slightly longer than tall. Th e strong well muscled back with the top line gently sloping down from the withers to the hips gives the hound a strong base to move through the woods methodical- ly trailing the game and treeing it at the end of the track. Th e tail attached slight- ly below the level of the back with a half
moon curve is used as a rudder for balance when trailing or swimming To allow these hounds to work hard cold trails the legs must be correctly angled with well developed muscle at the shoulder and hip to stifle for strong reach and drive. Th e shoulders should be clean and gently sloping, the hips are not quite as wide as the ribcage. Th e fore leg length is approxi- mately one half the height at the withers. Tight rounded feet with thick tough pads under slightly sloping pasterns finish the “running gear” So the entire package together makes the Bluetick coonhound we breeders and hunters strive for. Th ose of us who follow these grand hounds in the woods love the entire hound from the toes to the nose and the huge beautiful voice in between. Pleasure hunters who prefer Blueticks tend to be in less of a hurry than others, enjoy- ing time listening to the song the Bluetick sings. Very laid back and happy to be around people, they take their time and consistently get the game they are trailing. Many will start a fire, turn the dogs loose and just listen until the coon is treed. I have been involved with the Bluetick coon- hound for close to 20 years. Th ey are by far my favorite of the 6 coonhound breeds. I did spend 2005 traveling on the circuit hunting in the Purina Outstanding Coon- hound of the Year race with my Plott, but my heart will always follow the King of the Coonhounds, the Bluetick Coonhound.
,n the mature hunting hound, the chest will Ee slightly broader than the hips due to the treeing position up on the side oI the tree.
BIO Dr. Susan Lloyd, DVM, holds a BS in zoology, and is a DVM from North Caro- lina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lloyd, did her Internship at NCSU CVM in 1994, and is the past Pres CVM Alumni Society 2011 and current presi- dent of the American Bluetick Coonhound Association. Dr. Lloyd owns Live Oak Veterinary Hospital, located in Beaufort, NC, and in her free time hunts the swamps in and around Beaufort with her beloved Blueticks and Plotts. Dr Lloyd has raised, trained and finished multiple duel cham- pion coonhounds and is the only woman place in the top 5 of the Purina Race hunt- ing her own dog.
“Very laid back and happy to be around people, THEY TAKE THEIR TIME AND CONSISTENTLY GET THE GAME THEY ARE TRAILING.”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014 • 281
History of the Bluetick Coonhound By Cynthia Grooms B lu etick Coon h ou n d
For those new to the Bluetick Coonhound, I am hoping this will give you a better insight to how and why the Bluetick came to be. Historical information for the Bluetick Coonhound is difficult to find prior to the 1920’s back to the time of George Washington. It is believed that General LaFayette brought 5 French hounds and gave them as a gift to General Washington. These hounds are believed to be the French Stag hounds that were pop- ular at the time. There were 2 types of stag hounds known during this time, a white hound: Grand Gascon Saintogeois and a blue hound: Grand Bleu de Gasconge. Gen. Washington probably used them for small game hunting and in packs. During this time and into the years that followed, several crosses were made with English Foxhounds in the Virginia area probably trying to get a faster, hotter-nosed hound. Big game hunters were more interested in a hound that could run a cold track (a track that is several days or weeks old) and come up with the game at the end. They wanted a more resolute (maybe slower) and colder nosed dog than was being bred at the time. This desire helped to begin the movement to separate the Bluetick from the English Coonhound. The Bluetick Coonhound was original- ly classified as an English Coonhound.
considered a separate breed from the Bluetick Coonhound. There are several theories of how the modern Blueticks came to be. Some of these theories are discussed below. The first theory is that the Grand Gascon Saintogeois and the Grand Bleu de Gasconge were bred together and then selectively bred for the blue color and other traits that were prized by hunters. These include: drive, fast-tracking, cold- nosed & hard hunting ability. These are some traits that are still bred for in the Bluetick today. There were some French hounds brought into the US via Florida and Louisiana as well. These were the French Tri-Colors, Porcelains, and Gasconges. Again, selective breeding to get the desired hunting traits and the blue color remained a top priority.
Bluetick and Redtick puppies were born in the same litter. The blue ones were classi- fied as Bluetick and the red ones were clas- sified as English. A group of breeders got together and in 1946 created the first breed standard and petitioned UKC to offi- cially recognize the Bluetick Coonhound as a separate breed. A select group of men are considered the foundation of the Bluetick Coonhound that we know today. Some of these breeders include: Bill Green, the Lee brothers, O.O. Grant, Henry O. Smith, and Elbert Vaughn among others. Bluetick breeders wanted larger, cold- nosed and more resolute dogs. They con- tinued to breed for the type they were looking for while maintaining the blue color. Blueticks were mainly used to put food on the table or hunt for hides. Because of the origins of the Bluetick Coonhound is not very clear until the 1920’s and later, the popular belief is that the modern day Bluetick is descended from the Grand Bleu de Gasconge. The Gasconge hound is still bred today and is Won the Paris dog show 1863, 1st prize.
A hound hunting today.
Another theory on the early breeding is that another cross was made with the Grand Gascon Saintogeois (the white hound) rather than the Grand Bleu de Gasconge (blue hound) during a period from 1934-1948. Thus began another series of selectively breeding for the blue color and the desired hunting traits. As years passed and more emphasis was put on hunting for raccoon, the size and shape of the Bluetick became more refined and sleeker than those that are considered the foundation stock. There are some breeders that want to try to get back some of the larger hounds of yesteryear. In order to do this, they are breeding high quality Bluetick stock with the Grand Gascon Saintogeois in an attempt to recreate the original line of Blueticks. ■
A modern day pack of Grand Gasgon Saintogeois.
Some of Bill Green’s dogs, foundation.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE • J UNE 2011 • 187
Judging the Bluetick Coonhound By Cynthia Grooms B lu etick Coon h ou n d
One of the most important things to remember when judging the Bluetick Coonhound is that it is not a “head”, “leg”, or “foot” breed. Rather it is a combination of all the parts as a whole to obtain the ideal specimen of the breed. A specimen that, on any given night, can be turned out and perform the function for which it’s named: to hunt coon (or raccoon). Given that the Bluetick (as well as the other coonhound breeds) is still a working breed and continues to hunt (whether it’s coon, bear, boar, big cat, or deer) is of the utmost importance to the breeders and fanciers of this and other coonhound breeds. It is the job of the judge to make sure the dog(s) that is chosen best repre- sents the breed and its ability to do its job in the woods once it’s in the conformation ring. I’ve always heard that first impressions are the most important and that you should strive to be and show your best when you meet someone. Well, it’s no dif- ferent when showing dogs. Handlers dress up a little more, give the dogs a bath, do some spit and polish work and shine them up, all to give the best first impression. A judge’s first impression is literally several seconds with a total of 2-3 minutes per dog. So it’s very important to make sure what is on the other end of the lead will impress them in some way. When a Bluetick walks into the ring, he should give the appearance of a speedy, well-muscled hound. He should have a neat, compact body. He should NOT appear clumsy or chunky in build. His coat is glossy and has clear, keen eyes. When he moves he carries his head and tail up, how- ever as speed increases, the head and tail will lower. Everything about the hound should work together. The proportion of the Bluetick is to be square or slightly longer than tall. This is measured from point of shoulder to base of tail and from withers to ground. This is a natural stance measurement. Height of males is 22” – 27” with weights of 55-80 pounds. Females are slightly smaller with
heights of 21” – 25” with weights of 45-65 pounds. The head, being the first thing the judge sees is broad between the ears with a slightly domed skull. Total length of head from occiput to end of nose is 9”-10” for males and 8”-9” for females with a promi- nent stop. The muzzle is long, broad, deep, and square in profile with flews that well cover the line of the lower jaw. Depth of foreface should be 3”-4 1/2”.
depth (extending well down towards the elbow), rather than excessive width, to allow for plenty of lung space. Forechest is moderate, fairly even with the point of the shoulder. Girth of chest is 26”-34” for males and 23”-30” for females. Ribs are long and well-sprung, tapering gradually towards a moderate tuck-up. Back is mus- cular and topline slopes downward slightly from withers to hips. Loin is broad, well- muscled and slightly arched. The legs are straight from the elbows. They are well-boned and muscular with strong, straight, slightly sloping pasterns. Legs should appear straight from either side or front view. Length of leg from elbow to ground is approximately 1/2 the height at the withers. Shoulders are clean and sloping, muscular but not too broad or rough, giving the appearance of freedom of movement and strength. Hips are strong and well muscled, not quite as wide as the ribcage. Thighs have great muscular development for an abun- dance of propelling power, breeching full and clean down to hock. Hocks are strong and moderately bent. Dewclaws are removed. Rear legs are parallel from hip to foot when viewed from behind (no cowhocks). Feet are round (cat-like) with well arched toes and thick, tough pads. Tail is set slightly below the line of the back, strongly rooted and tapering to a moderate length, in balance to the overall length of the hound. It is carried high with a forward half-moon curve and is well coat- ed but without flag. The coat should be medium coarse and lying close to the body, appearing smooth and glossy. It is not rough or too short. The preferred color is a dark blue, thickly mottled body, spotted by various shaped black spots on back, ears and sides. Preference is to more blue than black on body. Head and ears are predominately black. Dog may be with or without tan markings (over eyes, on cheeks, chest and below tail) and red ticking on feet and
The eyes are rather large and round, set wide apart in the skull, and dark brown in color. They should never be lighter than light brown. Eye rims are tight and close fitting with no excess third eyelid appar- ent. Their expression is a typical pleading hound expression, never wild or cowering. The ears are set low and devoid of erec- tile power. Although most will be able to lift them slightly when their interest is peaked! They should be thin with a slight roll, taper well towards a point and reach well towards the end of the nose when pulled forward. They should be well attached to the head to prevent hanging or backward tilt. The nose, the workhorse of the dog, is large with well-opened nostrils, fully pig- mented and black in color. A scissor bite is preferred but an even bite is acceptable for the teeth. Undershot or overshot are disqualifying faults. The neck is muscular and moderate length, tapering slightly from shoulders to head. It is carried well up but not vertical (goose necked). The throat is clean with only a slight trace of dewlap. The body should show considerable
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