The American Leopard Coon Hound

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The variety of colors that an American Leopard hound can display is as colorful as its history.  The American Leopard hound is a descendant of hounds, likely Molossers and Greyhounds, brought to the new world by Spanish conquistadors and mated with native American Indian dogs.  They were bred to hunt bear, primarily, and may have been cross-bred with a number of other breeds of hound and cur during their breed evolution.

Strengths of the American Leopard Coon Hound

The American Leopard hound is an all-purpose tree dog, hardy and able to put up with temperature extremes.  This breed is built fast and tough, with thick heavy skinned paw-pads and a dense but smooth coat and huge stamina. They excel in their ability to track for miles and then hold game at bay for long periods of time without getting injured.

American Leopard hounds are generally silent until they reach their prey, and often track ‘head up’ so they have their eyes and ears alert as well as their legendary cold-nose.  They’ll trail their quarry and then ‘bail it up’, looking the animal in the eye, and do everything from yodel, squall, bawl and bark both to intimidate their cornered animal, and to alert the hunter of their position.

American Leopard hounds are referred to as ‘chop-mouthed’, meaning that they largely bark in a loud choppy voice, rather than baying like most coonhounds do, although as mentioned above they have plenty of other calls they might use.

One of the main differences between this breed and other coonhounds is that while they are also extremely intelligent, they have a desire to please and because of this are easier to train than other coonhounds.   Importantly, it also means that they will respond to voice commands during a hunt, they are not aloof and independent, and can work with the hunter more closely if necessary.

The American Leopard hound is a great addition to the household.  Because he is easier to train and eager to please, training this breed for being indoors is a breeze and they work in well with any family.  This breed is also a great playmate and very friendly.  While they are friendly with people they know, they can be a very dependable guard dog, as their intelligence enables them to discern if someone on the premises is up to no good.  American Leopard hounds have such a loud bark, they will either scare an intruder away, or alert any neighbors.

This breed is also an excellent farm work dog for moving livestock. They use intimidation to scare livestock to move rather than just blocking their way, or barking loudly as other stock dogs will do.  For cattle in particular this can be more effective; however, this method may be too much for sheep, who scare a lot more easily and move erratically with a big growling dog in front of them.

Problems to Watch Out For

As with many large dogs, coonhounds included, the American Leopard hound is prone to hip dysplasia.  They also carry a genetic mutation which can lead to deafness.  This deafness gene is associated with coat color and if the coat is predominantly white the dog has an 80% chance of being bi-laterally deaf, or have unilateral deafness.

The ability to more easily train an American Leopard hound, and also be able to communicate commands makes this coonhound a delight, especially for hunters who like to be in contact with their hunting buddy.  Being eager to please is not a common characteristic of coonhounds so this may be an important consideration with this breed.  Their coats display many different and incredible colors and patterns and no two American Leopard hounds are really alike. Their friendly nature and easy-going intelligence make this coonhound a wonderful family pet and worker.

If the American Leopard isn’t for you, consider one of the other Coon Hound Breeds.