A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.
From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable, it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Fundamentally a working dog, capable of working in all seasons and across all terrains. In his native North America used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon, the breed hunts entirely by scent.
Length of body equal to, or slightly greater than height of the dog at the withers, measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock and from withers to ground. Neither leggy nor too close to the ground.
The characteristics and courage of the Coonhound also make him proficient in the hunt for larger game. The general impression is one of power, agility and alertness. Impressive ability to cover the ground with powerful rhythmic strides.
Even temperament, outgoing and friendly. A working scent hound, able to work in close contact with other hounds and people.
Head and skull
Cleanly moulded. Skull tending to oval in outline with medium stop. Viewed in profile, skull almost parallel to muzzle. Head in proportion to body, dogs masculine and bitches feminine in appearance. Deep flews, strong underjaw. Nostrils well open and always black. Skin devoid of folds. Excessive wrinkles highly undesirable.
Almost round, not deeply set, with close fitting eye rims. Expression alert, friendly and eager. Hazel to dark brown. Yellow or light eyes highly undesirable.
Set low, at or below eye level, and well back on skull. Hanging in graceful folds, extending well beyond the tip of the nose.
Jaws strong, teeth large with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Muscular, medium in length, slightly crested, without excess dewlap.
Shoulders well laid back. Good length and return of upper arm. Forelegs straight, with elbows turning neither in nor out. Pasterns strong and upright.
Well-sprung, rounded ribcage. Chest reaches to elbow. Back level, powerful and strong. Loin broad and well muscled. Flanks deep. Croup slightly sloping to tail set.
Muscular and well boned. From hip to hock long and sinewy. Hock to pad short and strong. Stifles well bent, inclining neither in nor out. Rear pasterns vertical.
Compact, well knuckled, with well-arched toes and thick, strong pads.
Strong, set slightly below level of back. In action carried high, in a scimitar fashion.
Easy and graceful with good reach and drive. Viewed from the front, the forelegs move straight and true in an effortless manner. Viewed from the rear, the movement is straight and true with the hocks neither too wide nor too close. At higher speeds the dog will reach out further with shoulder and upper arm but will maintain a level topline, rhythm and increased length of stride. When in action, the head and tail carriage is proud and alert.
Short, dense and weatherproof. Honourable scars permissible.
Coal black with rich tan markings above eyes, on side of muzzle, chest, legs and breeching, with black pencil markings on toes. Tan markings should not predominate. White markings highly undesirable.
Ideal height: males 64-69 cms (25-27 ins), females 58-64 cms (23-25 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
*Note for prospective puppy buyers
Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.