The term ‘cross-bred’ when referring to coonhounds in particular is a little misleading as the coonhound has been originally cross-bred with various breeds. They are each now a pure breed recognized in their own right, however many years of cross breeding hounds, coonhounds and foxhounds have produced today’s coonhounds recognized by kennel clubs. There are two types of cross bred coonhounds.
Coonhound to coonhound crosses are the result of two different breeds of coonhound breeding, for example a Treeing Walker coonhound with a Black and Tan coonhound. These ‘mixed’ coonhounds can be expected to display usual coonhound characteristics, as many have the same qualities. However, certain traits may be diluted, or expressed more strongly.
A very simplified example of this might be that the very hot-nosed, fast paced Treeing Walker coonhound’s offspring are less hot-nosed, and rather slower, when their other parent is the Black and Tan. Another example here would be that the offspring of the Black and Tan coonhound, who gain weight easily might be more naturally lean, when the other parent is a Treeing Walker.
An English coonhound may father less stubborn offspring, if the other parent is a Plott coonhound, as they are eager to please. Largely, any coonhound/coonhound cross-bred offspring are still going to be great trackers, with brilliant noses, and a wonderful call when they have treed their quarry.
A cross between a coonhound and a different type of dog, such as a different type of hound or a retriever for example, could result in an absolutely delightful dog. There is also a risk that an undesirable genetic combination may be expressed and the animal is more predisposed to illness.
However, most often this is not the case, and in fact the offspring of two different types of dogs may be very hardy and resistant to disease and infection. This is an example of ‘hybrid-vigor’, where the effect of higher genetic diversity between the two breeds is less likely to show weaknesses, whether in the look of the dog or the basic health of the dog.
Some real examples of these cross-bred coonhounds include the Boxer/Black and Tan coonhound cross, the Golden Labrador/Treeing Walker coonhound cross, the Beagle and Bluetick coonhound cross, and Husky/Black and Tan coonhound cross, but there are an immense amount possibilities of combinations.
• The Boxer/Black and Tan coonhound cross looked like a Black and Tan in form, but had the Boxer tan coloring. He was also more eager to please, and so responded well walking on the leash.
• A Labrador/Treeing Walker coonhound cross exhibited enormous amounts of energy and extreme happiness at greeting people, likely a combination of the two working dogs’ high energy levels and the Labrador’s easy affection for everyone.
• The Beagle and Bluetick coonhound cross-breed was the result of two very vocal dogs and she would even call and bay while chasing birds around the garden, and very loudly too. She could also tree a raccoon with the best of them, even though her shorter legs slowed her down a bit.
• The Husky and Black and Tan coonhound cross was apparently so adorable that people asked where they could get one – a mostly black Husky with slightly droopy ears who had an even colder nose – referred to as the ‘frozen’ nose.
Cross-bred coonhounds can be wonderful, but they may have some unexpected and undesirable traits that may not be good for the family who adopts one, or the dog itself. However, remembering how gentle and calm a well-exercised coonhound can be and how well they fit into the family home, may be enough to convince someone to give a cross-bred coonhound a home.
Photo Credit David Castillo Dominici