The bluetick coonhound is a long-standing breed, although relatively new to the AKC. The breed became eligible to compete in the Hound Group in 2010; the breed had been competing in the Miscellaneous Group since 2008. A bluetick named Smokey is the official mascot of the University of Tennessee, and the breed is the state dog of Tennessee.
History and Development
The bluetick coonhound has French and English roots, developed from the Grande Bleu de Gascogne and the English foxhound. George Washington, who owned a French hound, compared the breed's bawling to the bells of Moscow. Blueticks and English coonhounds were once considered the same breed. But in 1945 the trend toward breeding a faster, hot-nosed hound caused bluetick breeders to split off into their own group, and the breed became established as the bluetick coonhound.
Character and Temperament
As a cold-nosed coonhound, the bluetick is a motivated and active trailer. Considered a vocal breed when hunting, blueticks give a medium bawl or bugle when they find a trail, a steady bark when running the trail, and a steady, short bark when they've treed a coon or small animal. Blueticks are an athletic breed and fare best when they have a job to perform.
Appearance and Size
The bluetick is a medium-sized hound, standing 21 to 27 inches tall and weighing 45 to 80 pounds. The well-muscled body is square or slightly longer than tall, with a deep and wide chest to allow space for the lungs. The broad head should be eight to 10 inches long, with a prominent stop and a long, broad, deep muzzle. A scissors bite is preferred, where the back of the front teeth just touch the front of the bottom teeth; a level or even bite, where the teeth meet evenly in the front, is also allowed.
Coat and Colors
As the name indicates, the bluetick coloring is characterized by blue ticking on a white body. The more blue, the better, although black spots may be present on the body. The head and ears are mostly black; tan markings may be present on the checks, chest, over the eyes and below the tail, as may red ticking on the feet and legs. The short, smooth coat lies close to the body, requiring a minimal amount of grooming.
The hardy bluetick coonhound suffers from very few genetic conditions. Hip dysplasia may appear in some dogs, as may age-related eye issues. Gastric dilatation-volvulus, more commonly known as bloat, can occur and is a veterinary emergency. As with other floppy-eared breeds, owners must check and clean the ears regularly to avoid irritation and infection.