Pop quiz! What color is a Black and Tan Coonhound?
Admittedly, our question is a little like asking: “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?”
When it comes to color and purebred dogs, details matter, and yes, the aforementioned breed of Coonhound is Black and Tan, and it says as much in the AKC breed standard: “Color: As the name implies, the color is coal black with rich tan markings above eyes, on sides of muzzle, chest, legs and breeching, with black pencil markings on toes.”
As they say, however, the devil is in the details. The same standard penalizes a lack of rich tan markings, as well as excessive areas of tan markings. But wait, there’s more! It also penalizes excessive black coloration, while faulting white on the chest or other parts of body (it’s “highly undesirable. Any solid patch of white that extends more than one inch in any direction is a disqualification.
The good news is that when looking for a photo to illustrate the previously faults or disqualifications, we couldn’t find any, and had to resort to creating an incorrect Black and Tan Coonhound with an AI (DALL·E ). That’s the image you see at the top.
In real life, a Black and Tan Coonhound can exhibit a range of tan shades, from the darkest “Hawaiian Tropic” mahogany tan to a much lighter tan, and still be correct. A coal black Coonhound with rich tan markings is ideal, but color and markings are given wide latitude, and it is the hound completely lacking in markings where there should be markings that is faulted, as are Coonhounds with too much tan that run up the legs, cover the feet, or splash across the nose or chest. Some opine that a hound that is missing correct markings typically is missing “pumpkin seeds” over the eyes as well, but we defer to Black and Tan Coonhound breeders on that.
Not subject to opinion is the fact that the first Coonhound breed registered by the AKC was the Black and Tan, and that happened in 1945.
We ask with a sly grin on our face: What took them? According to the AKC, George Washington was instrumental in the breed’s breeding and development, and actually owned Black and Tan Coonhounds. American made!
If you love this breed (and who doesn’t?), you’ll enjoy reading about Copper who, as of 2017, was a certified therapy dog, courtroom dog, and the only police Coonhound in the country.