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What is a Blue Tick Hound?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The bluetick or blue tick hound is a breed of hound which originated in the Southern United States. These working hounds have been bred to track an assortment of animals, especially raccoons. As hunting dogs, blue tick hounds are persistent, loyal, and extremely intelligent. They are also remarkably beautiful, with distinctively patterned coats and unique “voices” which emerge when they are on the hunt.

The breed appears to have originated in Louisiana, and it is probably derived from English hunting dogs which were brought to the United States by early settlers. By 1946, an association of breeders had formed to create a breed standard for the blue tick hound, and the American Kennel Club had recognized the dogs as a distinct breed. The blue tick hound is uniquely adapted for the varying terrain of the American South, with a sturdy, muscular build and a great deal of stamina. Southern hunters developed the dogs specifically for hunting and treeing raccoons, which is why they are sometimes called bluetick coon hounds or coon hounds, although they will hunt an assortment of other animals as well.

The “blue” color of a bluetick hound comes from the distinct ticking on the dog's coat. The hounds have an under layer of white fur which is overlaid with dark black specks. Many blue tick hounds also have dark splotches of fur on their coats. The breed also has the characteristic sad eyes and floppy ears of the hound breed, with muscular hindquarters to power the dogs while they are on the trail.

Some hunters work with a single blue tick hound, while others may have a pack. Competitions for the dogs are sometimes held at night so that the dogs can demonstrate their excellent eyesight and tracking abilities. Foxhunters in the United States may also ride with specially trained blue tick hounds, especially in the South..

Like many working breeds, these dogs do not usually make suitable pets. They are extremely intelligent and they love solving puzzles, which means that they can be frustrated by an environment without enrichment. A blue tick hound will also take off in pursuit of interesting smells, and the dogs will hunt smaller dogs, cats, and other animals because this is what they have been bred to do. Ideally, a blue tick hound should be worked as a hunting dog, and provided with plenty of exercise and a rich environment with lots of stimuli.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon131657 — On Dec 03, 2010

I have a blue tick/pointer mix. She is the most loving and enjoyable dog ever, and so clever.

By anon131625 — On Dec 03, 2010

About two years ago while at the Oregon coast, someone offered me a free Blue Tick. I was unsure, but we took him. We named him Brooks, after Brookings, Oregon, where we got him. He is my all time favorite! I love this dog, he is truly my best friend.

By anon117704 — On Oct 11, 2010

My godson adopted a Blue Tick from the Humane Society and then he had to find it a home because of landlord issues. I took the dog.

I was going through a divorce and my son was lonely and we had a lot of land.

This dog has become my baby and best friend. He has brought me laughter and my son's smile is back.

God brought us Blue!

He does hunt for us! It's awful how many "rodents" are found on my step. He trees, hunts, and howls.

He was easy to housetrain and he loves our other dog, a female weiner. I love my Blue Tick baby!

By anon112835 — On Sep 22, 2010

a stray bluetick found our home one evening last year. we were not going to get another dog after our rotti died but here we are over a year later with casey the wonder dog. she is the most affectionate and smartest dog imaginable. I am 68 and my wife is 65. she adds a lot to our household. she is like having another kid around the house. wonderful girl.

By anon93899 — On Jul 06, 2010

I had a blue tick/mutt growing up, and she was the sweetest dog. She paired with our Husky/Border Collie mix and they were inseparable. When he died, she was devastated, and she didn't even live another year. I would recommend them as a family dog for sure. I was quite young when we first got her and she sure put up with a lot!

By anon81589 — On May 02, 2010

We have a blue tick that we got from the shelter. He is such a wonderful dog. We use him for a house dog, not for hunting. He is such a big part of our lives. How anyone could have left him at the shelter to begin with, we don't know.

By anon32147 — On May 17, 2009

We have a blue tick and she is a wonderful, devoted pet. We also have a Husky and even though we got them when he was 8 and she 3, they are always together. Blue ticks can be great pets as well as hunting.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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