The flashy red coat of the Redbone Coonhound is a real eye-catcher, as is its generally athletic and proud look. The round eyes range from dark brown to hazel (the darker the better) and should have a pleading look; the long droopy ears should be fairly low set. The muzzle is square; the nostrils should be large, open, and black, and the teeth should meet in a scissors bite.
The Redbone's neck is strong and held erect, and its withers are slightly higher than its hipbones. The chest should be broad and the ribs are generally well-sprung, contributing to an air of stamina and athleticism. The tail is medium long and has a slight brush. The Redbone's gait is determined and proud.
Descendants of Foxhounds, the Redbone Coonhound was first bred in the mid-eighteenth century to have a hotter nose (so it could find raccoons faster) and be a faster worker (so it could get the raccoon up the tree faster) than its forebears. Most people in the Redbone community believe that George F.L. Birdsong of Georgia created the first real Redbone when he crossed Coonhounds with Bloodhounds; this is said to account for the occasional white patches on the chest and feet of modern-day Coonhounds. Whatever the exact breeding, the Redbone Coonhound today is a powerfully built athlete that can traverse all types of terrain in all types of weather and can very tenaciously tree a coon, bobcat, bear, or cougar. The UKC recognized the Redbone in 1902; the AKC admitted it into the Hound Group in 2009.
A consummate and widely admired hunter, the Redbone Coonhound is also an excellent family dog as long as it has been raised indoors with children. In fact, if you're looking for a family dog, be sure to ask breeders if their dogs have been "home raised" (indoors with a family) or raised for hunting, as the temperaments vary greatly.
A well-socialized Redbone is generally easy to pleas and gentle, and has good people sense. However, as a dog with a mission (to find and tree raccoons), the Redbone can get distracted; as one breeder says, "If the nose is down, the ears are closed." That can be a challenge. They also need a lot of exercise to blow off the steam they normally would devote to hunting. Early and thorough socialization, plus rudimentary obedience, will help keep these powerful animals in check, although breeders caution that Redbones who aren't raised with cats may view them as prey, and Redbones who aren't raised with children can be snappy.