A scenthound with a noble history, the Bluetick Coonhound is loyal and loving, and does well as a family pet, especially around older children. They can be reserved and wary of strangers, and are very vocal, but with the proper training and socialization they are excellent companions.
Bluetick Coonhounds are an American scenthound lineage, although Bluetick bloodlines in general are believed to extend back to French staghounds that were given to George Washington as a gift from Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. These original large dogs were eventually mixed with English Foxhounds and some other hound breeds to create a dog with stamina and endurance, as well as the ability to track with a “cold nose,” meaning they could follow scents that were days old.
From the start, the Bluetick tracked everything from raccoon to wild boar to bear, tirelessly hunting down prey and alerting hunters to their finds with their bawling bark. Today Blueticks are a fixture in Southern culture—they’ve even been the University of Tennessee’s mascot since 1953.
Blueticks are compact scenthounds named after their “ticked” black-and-blue coat pattern. These muscular dogs have droopy ears and clear, alert eyes.
The Bluetick Coonhound gets its name from their distinct dark blue—or “ticked”—coat pattern, and their fur is normally short and glossy.
The glossy coat of a Bluetick Coonhound is typically dark blue-gray and spotted—or mottled—by various shaped black spots on their back, ears and sides (otherwise referred to as “ticking”). You’ll usually find more blue than black on a Bluetick, with mottling throughout the entire body.
These scenthounds are bred to hunt, but when they aren’t in pursuit of quarry, they make loving, loyal, and affectionate dogs—although they can often also be wary of strangers. They are active and smart, but since they have a strong hunting instinct, they should be monitored around cats and other small pets. Proper and consistent training can help mitigate some of their less-desirable traits.
The Bluetick is an active dog that requires plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom, which can sometimes lead to destructive behavior. Because of their strong hunting instinct, they don’t always socialize well with other non-dog pets, and they should be monitored around cats and other small animals. They also tend to be very vocal. Most undesirable traits of the Bluetick can be subdued with the proper training and socialization, especially when started at a young age.
With the proper training, the Bluetick makes an excellent family dog, especially for families with older children. They are intelligent and loyal, although they can be wary around strangers. It’s also important to keep Blueticks leashed in all unconfined areas, since their instinct to hunt is strong and they are known to run off after a scent at every opportunity.
Bluetick Coonhounds require a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate—whether it’s commercially manufactured or homemade (with a veterinarian’s supervision and approval). It’s important to monitor the amount of food you give your Bluetick Coonhound. Reduce the portions or restrict calories if your pup gains weight.
Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.
The Bluetick Coonhound’s coat sheds moderately, but a once-weekly grooming session with a grooming mitt should help keep it glossy while removing any stray hairs. This active dog might also require the occasional bath, especially after one of its outdoor adventures tearing through the underbrush. .
All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and the Bluetick Coonhound is no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for overall long-term health.
Although the Bluetick Coonhound has been known to enjoy a nap near its people, that’s generally only after spending a good amount of time running and playing. This is an active dog that was bred to hunt, and it requires plenty of daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Luckily, the breed’s interests are varied. A Bluetick Coonhound will enjoy social play with its owner (which is best done in a secure yard, since these dogs can take off at a moment’s notice when they get a whiff of something worth hunting) or long, leashed walks.
The Bluetick Coonhound also does well with dog activities like hunting and field trials, agility and tracking.
The Bluetick Coonhound does have a stubborn, independent streak, but they are also loyal and loving. When the proper training and socialization is introduced at an early age, some of the less desirable traits of this breed can be reduced.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Laura Inman, DVM