by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
The Redbone Hound is well known among coon hunters in all parts of the United States. In fact, not so many years ago practically every coon hunter who owned a solid red hound of unknown ancestry but proven proficiency in trailing and treeing raccoons called his dog a Redbone.
Some thirty-odd years ago, however, a few serious-minded devotees of the sport started a campaign of selective breeding to produce a hound which possessed the necessary nose, stamina and courage to trail and tree furred game and breed true to type in color and conformation. The first dogs used were commonly called Saddlebacks. The background color was red, and most of them possessed black saddle markings. By selective breeding the black saddle was bred out and the solid red dogs became known as Redbone Hounds.
It is said that the foundation stock came from the hounds of George F. L. Birdsong, of Georgia, noted fox hunter and breeder, who obtained the remnants of the famous pack of Dr. Thomas Y. Henry. A Bloodhound cross is said to have been used on these dogs, and it is also said that blood of the Irish Hounds was also introduced. This latter cross is said to account for the white chest and feet markings which occasionally show up on the Redbone today.
Redbone Hounds are specialists in 'coon hunting, but are also proficient in trailing and treeing bear, cougar, and wildcat. Treeing (barking and remaining at tree) is instinctive with these dogs. The males are approximately twenty-two to twenty-six inches, while the females average height is from 21 to 25 inches.
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