Friday, January 8, 2010
By Ruthie Bently
The American Kennel Club recently added three new dog breeds to its roster of recognized dog breeds, which brings the number of recognized breeds to 164. They are the Boykin Spaniel, the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound. The Bluetick and the Redbone Coonhounds will join the Hound Group and the Boykin Spaniel will join the Sporting Group. All three breeds will be able to compete at conformation shows in their respective groups and are eligible for full registration in the AKC.
The Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina where it is the official state dog. Mr. L. Whitaker Boykin is responsible for developing the breed in the early 1900s for hunting wild turkeys after he found that the dog had a natural talent for it. Boykin was introduced to the original dog that was the forerunner of the breed by his hunting partner Alexander White. White found the dog wandering near his church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, took him home and named him Dumpy. After spending considerable time with Dumpy and feeling that he would make a good hunting dog, White introduced him to Boykin who undertook his formal hunting training. Nowadays this breed is primarily used for hunting ducks and other waterfowl. The Boykin Spaniel has an energetic, cheerful personality and is a medium-sized breed. Because they have the stamina to do a full day’s worth of work, they do well with a family that is active. They love human companionship and do well with other dogs and children. Their coat is a chocolate brown color.
The Bluetick Coonhound, like most coonhounds, is so named because of its coat color, which is dark blue in color and has a mottled or ticking pattern. It is thought that the Bluetick is descended from the English Foxhound and French Staghound as well as the English Coonhound, a fast working dog that excels at following fresh game trails. In 1945, the Bluetick breeders broke away to create a dog that was a slower worker and able to follow older scent trails. They were very proud of this larger, slower, determined hound and maintained the hunting style that the breed is famous for today. Active sporting families prize the Bluetick for their determination, steadiness for staying on a very intricate track, endurance and working ability. They have the typical coonhound “bawling” bark and are skilled in trailing and treeing raccoons and other small animals. The mascot for the University of Tennessee is a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey.
The last dog of this new group to be recognized by the AKC is the Redbone Coonhound. This breed is descended from red foxhounds brought from Scotland by immigrants in the late 1700s and also imported from Ireland before the start of the Civil War. Redbones are known for their bright red coat, which is how they got their name. Like the Bluetick they are known for their instinctive ability to tree game and are versatile enough to have been used to hunt game from the size of raccoons to cougars. They are good at swimming and hunting over varied terrains and are able to maintain their agility and speed while doing so. The Redbone lives for pleasing their owner and is trainable in a household situation as well as being an even-tempered dog. The author Wilson Rawls featured a Redbone Coonhound in his book Where the Red Fern Grows.
Read more articles by Ruthie Bently