Of course, my first question was why any dog would be said to have red bones, since we all know that bones are white -- at least after you gnaw the meat off of them. I was beginning to think that the mystery of the name would not be solved by my research, but finally I dug up the fact that one of the early developers of this breed was Peter Redbone of Tennessee. Another early breeder was Mr. Redbone's contemporary, Georgia F.L. Birdsong of Georgia. So I guess the dogs could have been called Birdsong Coonhounds, but somehow this does not sound like the name of serious hunting dogs.
So anyway, Redbones were developed from red-colored foxhounds that Scottish immigrants brought with them to Georgia in the late 18th century. These were crossed with Irish-bred foxhounds and with bloodhounds. The idea was to get dogs who could hunt prey that climbed trees, dogs who were unafraid of taking on animals such as raccoons, bears, and cougars, and who liked to swim if necessary. Redbones are popular with hunters because of their speed and agility over all types of terrain, and because of their instinctual treeing of prey.
|Wikipedia; Photo by Rcaa|
As you might expect of a hound, Redbones are quite vocal. In addition to their "normal" baying, they give out a special, emotional bay when they have an animal treed or cornered. Hunters recognize this sound and can use it to locate the dogs and their prey.
Redbone Coonhounds have been bred to have solid red coats that are short and smooth against the body, but coarse enough to provide protection in dense underbrush. The breed standard allows for a dark muzzle and a small amount of white on the chest and feet. The body is typical of the coonhounds subgroup, with long, straight legs and a wide barrel chest. The ears are long and drooping; the eyes are dark brown or hazel; and the dogs' expression is often said to be pleading. The nose of a Redbone should always be black.
Males stand between 22 and 27 inches at the shoulder, with females from 21 to 26 inches. The hounds' build should be lean, muscular, and well-proportioned. Weights generally range from 46 to 70 pounds. The AKC standard says, "The Redbone mingles handsome looks and an even temperament with a confident air and fine hunting talents." The breed has been registered with the United Kennel Club since 1904 and the American Kennel Club since 2010.
I'm not even going to ask Mom if we can have a Redbone Coonhound because we have enough cat-chasing dogs here already -- namely, my crazy brothers Tristan and Marius. Also, I am afraid that a Redbone might mistake one of us chihuahuas for prey and try to make us climb a tree, which is something I would definitely not be good at!