The Redbone Coonhound is an American scenthound breed with an even-tempered personality. When hunting, however, they are full of fire and vigor! Although occasionally stubborn, these hound dogs do enjoy pleasing their owners. Fairly active, they require plenty of outdoor activity although they are able to calm down and relax in the house (as long as they are given enough exercise). Prospective owners should remember that these are hunting dogs, first and foremost. As such, they thrive on outdoor hikes, swims and jogs.
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As long as they get enough exercise, Redbones are able to live in apartments but a house in the country is usually a better fit for most members of the breed. Bonus – their short red coats shed very little. Not only does this make grooming a breeze, but it means that it is possible to live in a clean house with this breed. This said, their droopy-ish lips does mean that they are prone to drooling when hot or excited, so an owner may want to have a few drool rags around the house. Some also tend to have a “doggy odor” – and while regular baths will help, a prospective owner should be prepared to deal with.
Redbones, like most scenthounds, are not quiet dogs. They were bred to chase raccoons up trees, and once they’d finished the task, would howl to alert the hunter to their catch. Because vocalizing is in their blood, they will gladly and freely use their voice whenever they see or hear anything that excites them. They may also howl when they play, when they run around, and even when they eat. Although they may bark as well, they most commonly howl or “bay” – which is a very distinctive loud, drawn-out sound. For some people, it is like music. For others, it is simply frustrating.
The Redbone Coonhound, being the stubborn breed that they are, aren’t usually recommended for novice owners. This said, in the right home they are supremely affectionate and loving. Getting along well with kids, other dogs and even strangers, this is a very sociable breed. So much so, in fact, that they make terrible guard dogs! This sociability doesn’t always extend to cats or small pocket pets, however – their prey drive is understandably high.
The Redbone Coonhound must never be allowed to roam off-leash in unfenced areas, as they are prone to wandering and chasing small critters. This prey drive must never be under-estimated – Redbones that catch sight of a running squirrel can instantly change from a mild-mannered beast to a super-intense hunting machine. Novice owners are often surprised at this sudden change in temperament and must be prepared in advance. An off-leash Redbone in hunt-mode is in danger of being hit by a car.
These gentle hounds are very sensitive to the emotions of their owners, and don’t tend to do well in homes that are filled with chaos. Redbones need stability, love, and attention in order to be happy. Being pack animals, they need to be around their owners on a regular basis, or if that is not possible – they require other dogs to keep them sane. If not given people or animals to coexist with, it is common for Redbone Coonhounds to become quite destructive, particularly with chewing.
Redbones are intelligent… but often are more difficult to train than breeds developed to work with people such as herding or sporting breeds. Many have an almost ADHD-type personality, and they enjoy putting their own spin on commands. They also tend to be very mouthy as puppies, and may be extra destructive when young so definitely should be given regular obedience training to get them (and keep them) on the right track. They tend to do better with positive-based methods and may shut down if the training is filled with harsh treatment.
Redbones have been said to be the easiest of the coonhound breeds to take care of, as well as having the most stable temperament of the group. While they retain a strong hunting instinct, they are easier to accommodate into a household pet situation. Although they can be kept outdoors (with canine companionship), they tend to enjoy the comforts of an indoor living environment. The more interaction they are given, the better a pet they will become! Goofy and loving, a well-raised Redbone can be a fantastic companion.