The Breed Standard

General Appearance 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. 

Characteristics 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.


Temperament 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.

Eyes 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. 

Ears Set low, at or below eye level, and well back on skull. Hanging in graceful folds, extending well beyond the tip of the nose. 

Mouth 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.

Neck Muscular, medium in length, slightly crested, without excess dewlap.

Forequarters Shoulders are well laid back. Good length and return of upper arm. Forelegs straight, with elbows turning neither in nor out. Pasterns strong and upright.


Body 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. 

Hindquarters 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. 

Feet Compact, well knuckled, with well arched toes and thick, strong pads. 

Tail Strong, set slightly below level of back. In action carried high, in a scimitar fashion.

Gait/Movement 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.

Coat Short, dense and weatherproof. Honourable scars permissible.

Colour 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. 

Size Ideal height: males 64-69cms (25-27 ins), females 58-64cms (23-25 ins). 

Faults 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. 

Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.