A Breed Apart
I fell in love with Black & Tan Coonhounds initially, & somewhat superficially, due to their looks! I was fascinated by their grace, poise & movement and then when I heard the deep throaty bay I was hooked! Whilst Black and Tan Coonhounds have been around the States since the 1700's, they're a very new breed to the UK, with the first I'm aware of being here being bought in by Phil, Estella & Antonio AKA ' Scentaway ' in 2014. Jester was bought over from North Carolina in July 2015 as a gangly & comic 5 month old with an inability to run without standing on his amazing ears! There are now 33 Black and Tan Coonhounds here in the UK and we, as a committee, are getting closer to getting this amazing breed recognised by the Kennel Club (a difficult task even though the American & Irish Kennel Club both recognise them!)Over here, Jesters breed recognition has varied from people thinking he's a Doberman with funny ears to a black Bloodhound, with the minority knowing what he is. Locally, he's quite the celebrity & is often asked to 'sing', which he is more than happy to do for the treats & fuss he receives! B&T Coonhounds have been bred for stamina and strength rather than speed and agility and have awesome watch dog qualities and scent and tracking abilities. Jesters natural tracking instincts, incredible nose and strong ability to problem solve gives him a phenomenal work ethic but, given these qualities, I've found it's super important to build up a connection whilst being patient and using positive and consistent training methods to channel them and allow him to achieve great things. As with most hounds, Jester has that occasional, independent and stubborn nature and responds far better to being asked to do something rather than be told! Positive reinforcement techniques are essential as I need to persuade him that be wants to do as he's asked! Whilst having an awesome work ethic, they're brilliant pets too and are amazingly easy to live with because of their adaptability. Jester is happy to have a day snoozing on the sofa with his Labrador companion as well as a day of scentwork training, a day at the beach or at the stables & anything in between. I feel it's important to meet his emotional needs & his desire to sniff, so do quite a lot of scent based games at home as well as when we're out.
In my opinion, as with any dog, if you're willing to put the work in to socialise and train them with consistency, patience and love then you'll reap the rewards of having a well-mannered, loyal and slightly immature, companion!
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Jester, Cooper & Hugo