5 Things to Know About Bluetick Coonhounds

Bluetick Coonhounds may have George Washington to thank for their existence. By: Lindsay Helms

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Hound
  • Height: 21–27 inches
  • Weight: 45–80 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Bluetick Coonhounds are fast, compact dogs who excel at nighttime hunting. They were named after the ticking pattern and color of their coat, and their large, round eyes are typically dark brown. The low-set ears are thin and tapered, and their tail is high and also tapered.

The short, coarse coat appears glossy and comes in colors of blue ticked and blue ticked with tan. Some Bluetick Coonhounds also have black spot markings.

2. Where They Came From

According to the American Bluetick Coonhound Association, the genesis of Bluetick Coonhounds began when General George Washington received 5 French hounds from the Marquis de Lafayette. The dogs were believed to be a mix of white and blue hounds (Grand Gascon Saintongeois and Grand Bleu de Gascogne). They were probably used for hunting and later crossed with English Foxhounds for speed.

Over time, speed became less important to hunters who wanted dogs who could follow scents that were days or even weeks old to find nearby game hideouts. They started breeding for this trait and wanted the new dogs classified as Bluetick Coonhounds (they were previously classed as English Coonhounds). Red and blue puppies appeared together in litters and were classified as English (red) or Bluetick (blue) Coonhounds.

The first breed standard was written in 1946, the same year the United Kennel Club (England) first registered the dog as its own breed. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2009.

Each Bluetick Coonhound has a unique howl (or bay). By: barkbud

3. How Friendly Are They?

Blueticks are smart and devoted. Wary of strangers, these dogs require training and socialization. If properly trained, they can get along well with children and are not aggressive with other dogs.

Because of their high prey drive, Blueticks require supervision when non-canine animals are near. Keep your dog in a secure area or on a leash.

These dogs are tough as nails. Blueticks can hunt at night in any weather or terrain, and their bark is a type of howl (or bay) that is unique to each dog.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

Very High

VERY HIGH: These active and energetic working dogs need rigorous daily exercise to expel energy and prevent negative behaviors. Exercise them in a safe, enclosed area or on a lead. They have little awareness of roads or other general dangers, so be vigilant and keep them safe.

Blueticks are typically inactive indoors, so living in apartments isn’t in their best interests. If you have a yard, make sure it’s fenced — to protect both your Bluetick and other animals. Room to run would be even better.

Grooming Needs


LOW: Upkeep is easy with Blueticks. Brush your dog once a week, and bathe them occasionally or as needed. If your Bluetick goes into the woods or exercises in unfamiliar areas, check the ears and paws for debris and insects. Blueticks may drool, so keep a rag or towel handy.

Because this breed is prone to ear infections, clean the ears at least once a week.

Health Problems


LOW: Blueticks are generally healthy. Here are just a few potential problems:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye problems (cataracts)
  • Krabbe disease (fatal neurological degeneration)

Listen to this Bluetick Coonhound when he discovers an uninvited intruder in his backyard:

5. Where to Adopt One

Many Blueticks are up for adoption throughout the United States right now, although the majority of them are mixed breeds.

If you have your heart set on a purebred Bluetick, contact the breed club to find a breeder. Make sure the breeder provides you with copies of health clearances performed on the puppy’s parents.

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