Foxhounds and coonhounds hold a place of heritage in the USA. Both breeds have been around long enough to build a solid reputation as hunting dogs and are ingrained in the hunting scenes of some states.
However, not many people know the difference between the breeds, which breed is better for what, and what are the difference in the characters.
What is the Difference Between Foxhounds and Coonhounds?
There are three different types of foxhounds, the American, the English, and the Welsh Foxhound. They are all called just Foxhound in their respective countries and bear similarities to each other.
All six breeds of Coonhounds, and American Leopard Hound, have been developed in America from foxhounds and hounds mixed with other breeds specifically to hunt American game that climbed trees confusing Foxhounds brought to the new land from the old continent.
Even though Foxhounds had their share in creating Coonhounds, there are some differences between the breeds.
Both breeds are similar in build to each other, but most breeds are distinguishable even for the untrained eye.
Foxhounds have a proportional body, with a low set, long ears. Their tails are usually thicker than those of Coonhounds and are held high. The most distinguishable traits between most Foxhounds and Coonhounds are the skin folds on the neck and lower jaws. Foxhounds should have a lean neck with no skin folds.
Most Coonhounds have thin ears set low on the head. The ears are usually longer than those of Foxhounds. Coonhounds have long and narrow tails set just below the line of the back. The legs are usually long in proportion to the rest of their body. Coonhounds chests are wider than Foxhounds.
Size and Weight
Foxhounds and Coonhounds are usually very similar in body weight and height.
Foxhounds are medium to large dogs. All three Foxhound breeds have similar heights varying between 20 and 29 inches, with females usually smaller, between 20 and 26 inches, and males between 23 and 29 inches. Male Foxhounds typically weigh between 55 – 71 lbs and females between 45 – 65 lbs.
Even though they differ from each other in body shape and colors, Coonhounds usually stay the same size. They are medium-sized dogs, with an average height of male dogs of 22 – 27 inches and females 20 – 26 inches. The weight of male Coonhounds varies between 50 – 70 lbs and females 40 – 55 lbs.
Coat and color
Although all Coonhounds and most Foxhounds have a single short coat, except for Welsh Foxhound, whose coat is hard and wiry, there is an easy distinction between them.
The two exceptions would be Treeing Walker Coonhound, which resembles English Foxhound, and Black and Tan Coonhound that closely resembles its ancestor Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound (which is not recognized by AKC or UKC and belongs to the American Foxhound breed).
The Foxhounds come in many combinations of black, white, red, and tan. The most common varieties are red, black and tan, white and red, and tricolor.
With Coonhounds, the color is a more complicated matter. Depending on the breed, the color may vary from dog to dog, or it may be available in only one combination. For example, Redbone Coonhound comes only in one color, and Black and Tan Coonhound only in one pattern.
Both Coonhounds and Foxhounds have very similar characters. Both types of dogs are fiercely loyal, gentle, and companionable. They are perfect for active households, where they can spend a lot of time outdoors.
Coonhounds are rather independent, and though trainable, they can be bold and sometimes try to outsmart the owner. They need a lot of positive energy and, unless well-trained for hunting, should stay leashed during a walk.
Foxhounds are very intelligent, stubborn, and independent, which sometimes makes it difficult to train them for a novice owner. Even experienced dog owners would have a challenge while training Foxhounds and need patience and persistence.
Coonhounds are easygoing and affectionate with their family and usually friendly with strangers. They would probably not make good household guard dogs. But because of their hunting nature, they can sometimes get aggressive with other animals, especially other dogs, trespassing their personal space.
Foxhounds love their families. They are pack animals, and they adore every single one of the family members. They are usually friendly and kind to strangers. Foxhounds, like Coonhounds, would probably not make excellent guard dogs. They are also super friendly with other dogs.
Both types of dogs are considered scent hounds and are still used for hunting worldwide. Foxhounds have been around far longer than Coonhounds. In fact, most Coonhounds were developed in America from Foxhounds brought with settlers from England and Ireland.
Because the game in America was different than the game in Europe, Foxhounds started to have trouble following the scent of raccoon or cougar up the tree. From there, hunters had to develop dogs that would easily track treed animals and alert the hunter of the animal’s presence.
While Foxhounds are still phenomenal hunters with a very keen sense of smell, lots of stamina, and fast pace, sometimes they are no match for the Coonhound’s abilities as a coon hunter.
There are many similarities and many differences between Foxhounds and Coonhounds, from their body size and coat to their characters. But the major and probably most important for the hunter difference between Foxhounds and Coonhounds are their hunting styles.
Foxhounds, like their name suggests, are perfect for fox hunting. They are also good at tracking other animals on the ground, like hogs, deer, and rabbits, including a wounded game.
Coonhounds are also capable trackers, but their specialty is to track the game that climbs the trees, like coons, cougars, squirrels, and even bears. They can even recognize the game and, by different baying, let the hunter know what they are after.