If you're fond of raccoon or squirrel hunting and also want a great friend, the Treeing Tennessee Brindle hound might be the dog for you. Remember that his nose rules your brindle buddy -- he's oblivious to everything, including danger, when he's on the scent.
Not that long ago, in Appalachia and other areas of the South, a good hunting dog wasn't just used for sport. He often helped provide food for the family with his treeing instincts. Known as cur dogs, these hounds came in various sizes and colors. The founder of the Treeing Tennessee Brindle Breeders, the Rev. Earl Phillips, wrote that the breed's original breeding stock came from "outstanding brindle tree dogs from every part of the country." The Treeing Tennessee Brindle Breeders Association was formed in 1967. As of 2013, the breed has foundation stock status with American Kennel Club. That means that although the breed cannot be registered with the AKC, the organization provides the breed association with a reliable way to maintain records as the breed "continues to develop."
As the name implies, these are brindle hounds, with a pattern of black stripes on a brown or red base coat. They can also be black with brindle on the legs, tail and head. Small white patches on the feet or chest are allowed. At maturity, Treeing Tennessee brindles stand between 16 to 24 inches high at the shoulder, with males larger than females. The dog's weight should be proportionate to his height, generally falling between 30 and 45 pounds. Other than color, Treeing Tennessee brindles look much like other coonhounds, although somewhat smaller.
Smart and laid-back when not out hunting, these dogs can make good family pets and get along with kids and other dogs. However, cats and smaller pets are another story. He's got a strong prey drive and they're just something else to chase down. That nose of his can get him into trouble -- the aromas from the garbage can are just so enticing .... He's quite talkative, although he doesn't bark but howls and bays. On the plus side, these dogs rarely, if ever, bite.
There's a reason these dogs were developed in rural areas. They require plenty of exercise and room to run. He's bred to hunt and roam, so you must keep that in mind if acquiring this hound. At the very least, you need a large, fenced-in yard where he can run around off-leash. Cooping him up in a small apartment or providing insufficient exercise means he'll find some other outlet for all his energy. Odds are it won't be an outlet you'll like, as serious destruction ensues.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.