For all the coonhound lovers the idea of pure bred hounds is common place. Getting papers with your pure bred hound is normal for most coondog owners, especially coonhound owners that have purchased a pup from a well bred coonhound genetic line. But, recently the coonhound world has seen many changes to the standard recognized pure breeds coonhounds. Cross breeding is becoming more recognized by many of the major kennel clubs throughout the world. The cross bred, mixed breed, or X-bred coonhounds of today are now becoming more readily seen in homes, hunting events, and bench shows. If you are a new owner, breeder, or just curious about mixed breed coonhounds then this blog post is for you. We are going to take a look at what makes the new cross bred mixed breeds of coonhounds so great and why it's important to breed some of the establish, particular coonhound bloodline to one another to create new lineages of coonhounds. So, sit right back for a good read on mix breed, cross breed, and X-breed coonhounds, that will keep you "ticking" along in the world of coondog's...
Why Stick With A Pure Breed Of Hound
Mixed breed coonhounds have always been a big topic of interest for many people in the coonhound community. In the world of recognized pure bred coonhounds, for many years the topics of mixed breed or X-Bred hounds as they have come to be labeled, has always caused some concern amongst different breeders. This worry was always in the eyes of breeders that want to only breed what is considered pure recognized bloodlines in their hounds and breeding programs. This breeding for perfection with recognized pure bred established lines of the same breed, for purpose of hunting or the show ring was considered doing what was best for the breed and the only correct way to breed a hound, or any dog for that matter! Many breeders would discourage anyone from breeding a dog that was considered pure bred to any other variety of dog that was not the same breed as the Dam or Sire in question.
However in recent years there has been a complete change of mind, amongst many of the breeders in the coonhound community on the subject of mixed breed or X-breed Coonhounds. When breeding established and what is considered pure bred coonhounds. In some breeding programs no matter the type of coonhound in question, there where always particular genetic traits in a coonhounds history, that seemed to be shone. Considering some of these traits where wanted while other past traits where unwanted, no matter how much a breeder tried to limit the unwanted characteristics by picking suitable mates to breed together. It seemed that the breeders efforts where unproductive at times or in worse cases, would add to much of the desired characteristics. In turn making the entire cross, offspring, and overall breeding of the hound undesirable.
So, to show and example of a coonhound to explain a little more in depth about this subject of breeding wanted traits in and unwanted trait out in a breeding program, the Black and Tan breed will be a great place to start. With improper breeding the offspring of many bloodlines lines of Black and Tan hounds might have a white marks on the chest or else wear on the body. Which is considered not up to breed standard and can be determined as "Old Traits" being shown in the pups which is unwanted by breeders of pure bred Black and Tans. Also, Black and Tans that are bred incorrectly might possibly have a tail that is crooked. Which is also considered not up to pure bred standard and represents old traits. This means for many professional breeders of Black and Tan hounds these markings or crooked tails where unwanted traits that came from past generations in the breeding of the Dams or Sires family tree, from past times when the Black and Tan breed was being established and critiqued. These same types of old genetic traits and other undesirable traits such as blue eyes or flat footedness where coming out in many of the recognized Black and Tan coonhound bloodlines. But, don't think this is only a problem with the Black and Tan hound these unwanted traits would often times come out no matter the breed of coonhound or how well they where breed! Different old unwanted traits had been showing up in almost all of the purest of pure bred coonhound recognized breeds.
That Is A Good Looking New Coonhound
Throughout the years there as been some really fine pure bred sporting hounds that have been bred for and too perfection. All, of these different prize winning hounds no matter the breed had the abilities to hunt without fail no matter the weather conditions, the terrain, or in areas that had small amounts of wild game. Also, these hounds are really good looking dogs, at any bench show the newer looking hounds are sure to take an overall best in breed win. For anyone that has ever been involved in the coonhound community one thing is for sure, that the hounds in recent years seemed to be better at hunting and looks compared to hounds of yesteryear.
These improvements in different pure bred recognized hound breeds compared to the hounds of the past, came through selective breedings throughout the breeds to create hounds that are quick on track and will have real tree power. With all of these wanted good traits from selective breeding it's now very common to see hounds that when treed can bark 80 barks a minute on the tree. Not to mention the mouths on the newer hounds are quiet easy to hear and recognize in a cast of hunting dogs. All these traits that I've mentioned sound great for a competition hunter and show dog owner and are guaranteed to produce remarkable offspring in litters from these types of hounds for breeders. Lets face it who would not want a hound that is so great and fast overall when it comes to hunting, showing, and breeding that your sure to be in the winners circle at every event.
With the years of selective breeding many of the new established lines of coonhounds never show unwanted traits such as flat footedness, blue eyes, crocked tails, or coat patterns that where not associated or wanted with certain breeds. Body shapes have also been refined with the newer lines of hounds, shorter ears, and square heads are now common place in many lines of sporting coonhounds. Also, when it comes to hunting the newer lines of hounds where faster on the hunt trailing the hottest of game trails but, this is where the problems arises!!!
Meat Hound Or Competition Hound
With the newer styles of coonhounds, in all the coonhound breeds this is where coonhound lovers many times discover loud bawl mouth hounds with lots of tree power, does not necessarily mean a smart hound, accurate on the hunt hound, or healthy hound! Now for the coondog breeders that want to add some old vintage traits into their lines of hounds many breeders, handlers, and owners have starting exploring the idea of crossing different pure recognized breeds of coonhounds to one another. It's not uncommon to see many hounds now that have family lineages that have two, three, or even more different pure breeds in their backgrounds. Now you might be asking the question why would coonhound breeders start crossing the different lines and breeds of hounds, after all the benefits that have been mentioned about the newer styles of coonhounds? To answer this question you have to understand what these breeders are looking for in their hounds and breeding programs. There are two old sayings that can be overheard at any major coonhound event, those saying are...
"He's A Real Meat Hound" or "Yeah, Hs's Just A Competition Hound"
Now understanding the meanings behind those two sayings is very important for any new coonhound owners and especially important for mixed breed, cross bred, or X- breed coonhound, first time owners. For the older coonhound owners, breeders, and handlers that are reading, I'm sure you all know the true meaning behind those two old sayings. So, for folks new to coonhounds I'm going to explain a little more about what those two sayings really mean...
With all of this extensive selective breeding throughout past years many problems have come up in all breeds of recognized coonhounds. The bad issues of selective breeding are things like disorders in genetics, behavioral and sensory disorders, immune system problems, and just overall general lack of intelligence in a hound. Now i'm not saying a "Meat Hound" can't win a coon hunt and show a hunter a raccoon high atop a tree one night. But, many times the "Meat Hound" is actually hunting and pushing the track ( track/scent trail of the raccoon), no matter how "HOT or COLD" (hot or cold track means/ how long ago the raccoon actually passed by) the track is. While the "Competition Hounds" are just going through the motions of the hunt, always seeming to slick tree or tree a den tree! Basically in hunting competition conditions where the trees at night are full of leafs as in the summer months and its impossible to see the entire top of a tree to make certain of the raccoons whereabouts . A "Competition hound" is sure to win out over a "Meat Hound" that is actually working a cold track. Because the "Competition Hound" just knows how to repeat the motions of the hunt as fast a possible ,weather or not he is on a true hot track or a raccoon!!!
So to sum up the difference in the two styes of hounds, a "Competition Hound" is just going through the motions of the hunt as quickly as possible and once the "Competition Hound" has treed it might or might NOT have a live raccoon up the tree. While a "Meat Hound" might take all night to run one track to the finish but, it's almost guaranteed that the "Meat Hound" will produce a live raccoon each time up a tree. So basically it's a matter of time on the hunt. The "Competition Hound" hunts quick and looks great while hunting but, it not accurate while the "Meat Hound" is slow on the hunt but, is more accurate in finding game. This lack of intelligence in the "Competition hounds" is what many breeders decided to correct, by breeding different breeds of coonhounds to one another. In hopes that the new litter of cross bred hounds will have the drive and speed of the "Competition Hounds" but the accuracy and looks of the "Meat Hounds" from years past!!!This correction in intelligence by breeding X- bred hounds has started to be adopted up by many recognized breeders. Breeders that would have never in the past, bred their pure bred coonhound bloodlines to a different breed of coonhound.
So What Do The Breeders Hope To Accomplish By Crossing Different Coonhound Breeds
Producing new generations of hounds that are not only fast on the hunt and intelligent but, also more healthy is what the overall goal for most breeders that have chosen to get into the cross breeding of coonhounds. However with all of this mixing of the pure breeds many older traits have started to show up in the offspring of the new cross bred, mixed breed, or X-breed coonhounds. Physical traits that where not really all that bad but, rather just unwanted by the breeders of the past. Traits such as blue eyes into adulthood, different color eyes, lighter or darker eyes, strange coat patterns, lighter color patterns in the coat, longer ears, different color noses, tails that are once again crooked, and thicker bulkier bodied hounds while shorter in height.
Now I pose this question to all my readers, especially the major coonhound breeders that read this article. Is this crossing of what is considered the 6 pure recognized coonhound breeds really all that bad? Let's face it what is being done differently today, than what the breeders of centuries ago did. The past breeders tried to improve their coonhound bloodlines by crossing a hunting hound to another hunting hound. Many times not being all that concerned about overall looks and speed of the dog. But rather, more concerned with the hounds ability to hunt, the hounds ability to hunt particular targeted game and not run off game, the hounds overall health, the hounds dependability on the hunt (how quickly the hound tires), and the hounds intelligence ( wanting hounds smart enough to be duel purpose)!
Below are a few quick condensed points that have been put together to help anyone new to breeding coonhounds or to any breeders toying with the idea of cross breeding coonhounds to improve their line of hounds. The points "Why Are Mixed Breed Coonhounds Better" goes into a little more depth to show some benefits of mixing traditional coonhound breeds...
Why Are Mixed Breed Coonhounds Better
- When mixing two breeds of coonhounds you have hybrid vigor, meaning that genes that carry bad health problems from past pure breeding, are done away with.
- Mixed breed coonhounds have been proven to live longer than pure breeds.
- Mixed breed coonhounds have been proven to be smarter than compared to pure breed coonhounds.
- Mixed breed coonhounds can be easier to train because of the mixing of the the genetics. Usually mixed breed coonhounds are more calm even when they are puppies. Which makes mixed breeds of coonhounds faster at training because, they can focus on the task longer and retain information faster.
So You Want To Purchase A Mixed Breed Coonhound From A Breeder
Now not everyone wants to get into breeding coonhounds especially mixed bred coonhounds. For many hunters they usually would just like to give the mixed breed hounds a try to see if they measure up to some of the traditional pure breeds on the hunt. Also, for other people they are just looking for a new companion for their family and have decided to purchase a hound but, have found that many times pure bred coonhounds can become very expensive from recognized breeders. If you have decided to locate and check out a litter of mixed breed coonhound puppies to find a new 4-legged friend. I've put together a quick list of steps below to follow named "Points To Look For When Buying A Mixed Breed Coonhound." That should help you pick a healthy happy good looking puppy and know some good questions to ask the breeder of the pups, in order to help you get the right puppy for you or your family...
Points To Look For When Buying A Mixed Breed Coonhound
- Over all looks: Most coonhound breeds mixed breed or not, are considered to be large dogs so look for a hound that looks "houndy" in size. Usually coonhounds will have large ears. Their ears almost if not reach to the tip of their noses, if not reach past the tip of the nose. Also, mixed breed coonhounds have eyes that are dark brown or hazel in color, really don't want a blue eye! Plus, when buying a mixed breed coonhound make sure to look for the coat patterns of the pure breeds the mixed hound comes from, see how the dam and sires coat patterns have be represented in the mixed breed pup.
- Look and ask for health problems with the sire and dam: Ask the breeder with the puppies if health problems such as hip dysplasia or hypothyroidism have been found in the mixed puppies parents.
- Picking the correct puppy when meeting the pups in a litter: Usually when wanting a mixed breed coonhound puppy for a pet or hunting. When you are surrounded by a large litter of mixed breed coonhound puppies, usually a good rule to use, is to pick the puppy that first runs up to you!!!
- Also look for papers if possible on the mixed breed coonhound puppies: With good reliable breeders they will usually be able to offer papers on each pup, mixed breed or pure bred. (Special Note: Many of the major kennel clubs now offer papers on mixed breed coonhounds and their litters.)
- Ask about vaccinations: Ask the breeder what vaccinations he has given to the pups while they where still growing to the age of weaning.
- Lastly ask for the age of the mixed breed coonhound puppies: It is recommend that mixed breed coonhound puppies are not to separated before 8 weeks of age from the dam.
- Look for the weight of the mixed breed coonhound puppy compared to its age: Puppies have been known to pick up intestinal worms, so look for obvious signs extremely overweight puppies or extremely thin puppies. (Special Note: Ask the breeder what type of puppy food he has been feeding the pups since weaning, it help you in ideas you might have on the pups weight.)(If you need to know how different dog food affects full grown dogs or puppies, see my blog post on the subject.)
Thank you all for taking time to read this post. I hope you now have a better understanding of what mixed breed, cross bred, or X- bred coonhounds are and why some of the seasoned professional breeders have decide to add different breeds of coonhounds into their pure bred lines of hounds. If you liked this blog post makes sure to take a second and look around the entire page, we have lots of different things to check out on our website. If you want to stay up on all the new events here at the Crockett Coonhound, make sure to sign up for our news letter. Also, if you are ever scanning the old inner webs, make sure to look for me the Crockett Cooner and the Crockett Coonhound, you can find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Thank you all again for taking time to read this post today. I hope you have a great day and an even better tomorrow.