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The redtick coonhound is a medium-sized breed of hunting dog, primarily bred for the purpose of hunting raccoons. Most of them have red spots on white fur in a pattern that is sometimes known as ticking, and these account for their name. In theory, they can also have many other color patterns, including so-called "blue ticking," for example, but those are rarer. The redtick coonhound is generally considered an effective hunting dog and often makes a good pet as well. They are also commonly called the English coonhound, and that term is used often enough to be considered another official name for the breed.
These animals are known for a great sense of smell, a general ruggedness, and a lot of athleticism. This combination of skills makes the redtick coonhound particularly suited to its hunting duties. The sense of smell helps them find raccoons and foxes, while the athleticism and ruggedness help them corner or tree their prey. They are also known to be fairly intelligent and tend to do a good job of thinking for themselves in an independent-minded way, which can sometimes help them during a hunt.
Another key aspect of the redtick coonhound is its bark. Like many other hound breeds, they have been specifically bred to have a very loud braying bark, which makes it easier for hunters to find them in the woods. So, if the dog were to tree a raccoon, the hunter would hear the barking and navigate to the location by sound.
As pets, the redtick coonhound is known to need a fairly large amount of exercise, and for this reason, some people prefer to keep them outdoors. In theory, if trained properly, they can also make good indoor pets as well, although they do have a reputation for spending a lot of time resting comfortably on their owner's furniture, sometimes without the owner’s consent. Overall, they are known to be very good pets because of their friendly personality. Many hound breeds have a tendency towards friendliness and reasonable obedience because most of them are expected to hunt in groups, and they need to have a good relationship with the hunter for training purposes.
Like many other coonhounds, the redtick was originally bred in the southeastern part of the United States, including areas like Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, which are places where raccoon hunting has been a very popular sport historically. Most experts agree that the breed was created by mixing English foxhounds and various coonhound breeds, although other dogs may have also been used. The breed is still actively used in hunting, and hunting ability is often an important factor for breeders.