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Coon Dog Day: A Tribute to the Mighty Coonhounds!

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Best known for their hunting skills, Coonhounds are also known for capturing the heart of everyone they meet.  In fact, the breeds are so beloved that they are even celebrated with their own pet holiday– Coon Dog Day!

What, Where and When is Coon Dog Day?

Those who are doggedly devoted to the Coon Dog gather in downtown Saluda, North Carolina each year on the Saturday following the Fourth of July for a day filled with small town fun. 

The event includes live music, dancing, a 5K race/fun run, a parade in which Coonhounds and their pet parents take pride of place, and an American Kennel Club-licensed dog show. Using an artificial raccoon, Coonhounds also get the chance to show off their baying talent in a treeing competition.  

Saluda is located about 35 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina.

Fun Facts About Coonhounds

In celebration of Coon Dog Day, we’ve fetched a few fun facts about Coonhounds:

There are six dog breeds that are officially recognized as coonhounds:

  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Bluetick Coonhound
  • English Coonhound
  • Plott Hound
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Treeing Walker Coonhound

A phrase first used by author James Kirke Paulding in his 1832 novel Westward Ho!, “barking up the wrong tree” refers to a hunting dog who has been fooled by a sly raccoon into thinking his target is up a tree, when in fact he has escaped.  

Fans of film and Fidos may remember the dog grave yard scene in the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama. Recreated for the big screen, the world’s only Coonhound cemetery does exist. Since 1937 faithful purebred Coonhounds have been laid to rest at the Key Underwood Coondog Memorial Graveyard in Colbert County, Alabama.  

Known as the King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin recorded “Pete, The Best Coon Dog in The State of Tennessee.”

Long live the Coonhound!  The average lifespan for the six breeds is:

  • Black and Tan Coonhound: 10 – 12 years
  • Redbone Coonhound: 11 – 12 years
  • Bluetick Coonhound: 11 – 12 years
  • American English Coonhound: 11 – 12 years
  • Treeing Walker Coonhound: 12 – 13 years
  • Plott Hound: 12 – 14 years

Black and Tan Coonhound Trivia

George Washington, the father of our country, was a pet parent to Black and Tan Coonhounds named Drunkard, Taster, Tipler and Tipsy.

Have you heard? Measuring  13.38 inches, the ears of a Black and Tan Coonhound named Lou earned an entry into the 2022 Guinness Book of World Records for the longest ears on a dog (living)! 

Outside of the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri a statue of a black and tan coonhound stands. The sculpture is a tribute to Old Drum, a beloved dog who was killed in 1869 for a crime he did not commit. Shot by a neighbor whose sheep had died from a dog attack, Old Drum’s pet parent went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court to clear the name of his late four-legged friend. 

Bluetick Coonhound Trivia

Did you know that the official dog of the state of Tennessee is the Bluetick Coonhound?

Since 1953 The University of Tennessee’s mascot has been a Bluetick Coonhound, with each dog taking on the role and the name of his predecessors, Smokey. In 2019 the university honored the first 10 Smokeys with statues of their likeness, each one standing watch in a different area on campus,  Fans of Fidos can find each statue with help from an online map. (Smokey XI, a son of Smokey X, took on the mantle of mascot in 2022.)

A Bluetick Coonhound named Princess played a vital supporting role in the music video for Blake Shelton’s rendition of Ol’ Red, a song about outfoxing a Bloodhound who tracks down escaped prisoners.  

In the Emmylou Harris song “Red Dirt Girl,” a Bluetick Coonhound named Gideon was the pup of the tune’s protagonist, Lillian. Fans of country music and canines can also listen for mentions of the breed in Carrie Underwood’s song “Church Bells”  and “I Love My Country” by Florida Georgia Line.

In the Disney adaptation of Savage Sam, author Fred Gipson’s sequel to Old Yeller, the titular tailwagger was portrayed by a Bluetick Coonhound.

Although the breed has roots in France, the Bluetick is an American dog, deriving from Louisiana.

Fun Facts About the American English Coonhound

This breed was once known as the English Fox and Coonhound, the Redtick Coonhound and the  English Coonhound.

Although the breed’s history has been interwoven with that of the United States since Colonial times, the American English Coonhound was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2011.

Those in the know feel that the American English Coonhound is the fastest of all six coonhound breeds. 

Redbone Coonhound Trivia

DogTipper’s own Irie was part Redbone Coonhound, a mix of pure joy and love whose impact is still felt on our lives every day.

The novel Where The Red Fern Grows has been an introduction to the Redbone Coonhound for generations of animal-loving little ones. The 1961 children’s book by Wilson Rawls tells the tale of a boy named Billy and his faithful raccoon-hunting companions, Old Dan and Little Ann. Fans of the novel can visit a life-size bronze statue of the trio, standing outside of the Public Library in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The 1974 film adaptation of Where The Red Fern Grows was set in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, which celebrates the Redbone Coonhound each year during the Red Fern Festival.

The “Redbone” in Redbone Coonhound is a nod to Peter Redbone, a Tennessee breeder who is among those who helped to develop the breed.

Plott Hound Trivia

The Plott Hound was proclaimed the official state dog of North Carolina in 1989! In honor of the breed’s prominent position, in 2017 a statue of a Plott Hound– created by sculptor Todd Frahm– was unveiled in a mini-park in the town of Hazelwood.

The breed is so beloved by those in Canton, North Carolina that the town throws a four-day fete called PlottToberfest!  Hosted by a direct descendent of Henry Plott, the autumn celebration of both the breed and the German heritage of many of the area’s residents includes various Plott Hound competitive events which have been sanctioned by the UKC Worldwide   

The Plott Hound is the only coonhound that is not related to the foxhound.

Treeing Walker Coonhound

This breed is fondly referred to as “The People’s Choice” due to the Treeing Walker Coonhound’s propensity for winning hunting competitions.

The “Walker” in Treeing Walker Coonhound is a nod to Thomas Walker from Virginia, who played a vital role in the development of the breed.

The hunt for the origin of the breed in America leads dog lovers back to the 1800s and a stolen hound named Tennessee Lead. The four-legged father of the Treeing Walker Coonhound in the US is remembered with a historical marker on Livingston Highway in Monroe, Tennessee. Placed by the Tennessee Historical Commission, the plaque reads: “Near here in November 1852, a black and tan hound was stolen out of a deer chase by a horse trader, taken to Madison County, Kentucky, sold to George Washington Maupin. There, as Tennessee Lead, he became the foundation sire of all Walker, Trigg, and Goodman fox hounds.”

American Leopard Hound Trivia

This breed was not officially recognized by the United Kennel Club until 2008.

The American Leopard Hound has also been known as the Leopard Cur.

The American Leopard Hound has yet to be recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Adopting a Coonhound

If you are pondering the prospect of becoming a pet parent to a Coonhound, you might find your new canine companion at a breed specific rescue.

Visit AKC Coonhounds’ rescue page for a list of some of the breed specific rescues throughout the United States and the Coonhound Rescue Network on Facebook for Coonhounds in shelters who are in urgent need of a forever home.

Other sources for rescue Coonhounds include:

More Pet Holidays You Might Like!

National Hug Your Hound Day

Old Yeller Day

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