Bluetick Coonhound Harrier

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Bluetick Coonhound Harrier

The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier is a hybrid dog, the love-pup of a Bluetick Coonhound and a Harrier. The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier is a medium to large sized dog, with a hunting heritage and a temperament to match. With a reputation for being friendly and outgoing, these dogs love to be part of a pack – be that composed of humans or dogs. However, they do require an owner with experience to control their wanderlust, plus this dog needs plenty of space and isn’t suited to apartment living.

A delightful dog for an active person who is home a lot, the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier has an easy-to-care, short-haired coat that needs brushing once a week. However, they do drool, so house-proud people that don’t like dog slobber be fore-warned!

About & History

In common with other hybrid dogs, the story of the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier is in its infancy, with their history being that of the two parent breeds.

The Bluetick Coonhound

The Bluetick Coonhound originates from the US and is named for their coat colour (blue ticked) and ability to hunt raccoons. Their bloodlines go back to the time of George Washington, who was gifted some French Staghounds by the Marquis de Lafayette. Bred with other hound breeds, especially the English Foxhound, this led to the development of a gifted scent hound that become known as the Coonhound.

Although somewhat ponderous (which enabled human hunters to keep pace with their dog on foot) the Coonhound is blessed with considerable endurance. Indeed, they are fabled with being able to track for 30 hours without rest. Add to this their awesome strength, and a nose that can follow ‘cold’ trails over a week old, it’s not hard to see the breed was hard to improve upon and remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

The Harrier

The Harrier is another hunting dog, which is physically larger than a Beagle but smaller than a Foxhound. The Harrier breed was established over 800 years ago, sharing some common heritage with the Talbot Hound (now extinct), Basset Hound, and Bloodhound.

Those earlier Harriers hunted hares and were slower than the dog we know today. Over the centuries they were selectively bred for speed and to hunt in packs. Their intimidating prey drive made them popular with hunters, and for a long time were more popular than Beagles. However, initially the distinction between these similar breeds was blurred, since the term ‘Harrier’ was once a descriptive term for a particularly swift Beagle. It was only with the passing time that these two breeds diverged and became distinct.


The physical appearance of a hybrid dog is somewhat of a lottery, since they may be a genuine blend or strongly take after one or other of the parent breeds. However, the parents of the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier already share many characteristics in common, meaning their off-spring have a slightly more predictable appearance than other hybrids.

The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier tends to be a large to medium-sized dog that is taller than long, with an athletic build. They have a deep chest, tucked up waist, long legs, and a whip-like tail. They are sturdy without being heavy giving the overall impression of an endurance athlete rather than a sprinter.

This hybrid has a long muzzle and a strongly boned forehead. Their head is framed by long drop ears, which draw attention to their sweet expression and alert eyes. The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier has a short coat that may have tan and white elements (from the Harrier) alongside the blue mottled coat linked to the Bluetick Coonhound.

Character & Temperament

The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier has many excellent qualities that make them good family dogs, but they do have a challenging side. In their favour they are friendly, curious, outgoing and love human company. On the minus side, they have a strong prey drive and will chase anything that moves (including small children). Think about this characteristic some more and it becomes clear they can be independent minded and also need a good amount of exercise.

As with many of the hounds, a bored Bluetick Coonhound Harrier is liable to howl, and will resort to other antisocial behaviours, such as digging or chewing. Indeed, that’s if you can keep them confined because this hybrid also has a strong instinct to roam and will escape given the chance.

But let’s not lose sight of them being affectionate, friendly, and good natured. Indeed, their pack-nature means they readily accept being part of a human family and love being in their company. But any prospective pet parent of a Bluetick Coonhound Harrier needs to have plenty of living space, since they can be clumsy. And, also be aware that these dogs do drool… a lot.


The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier needs an owner with some experience. Their strong prey drive does make them a single-minded dog prone to losing focus on their owner. A first-time owner may struggle to train their canine companion and keep them in check.

As with all dogs, reward-based draining methods work best. But an important part of training is to give the dog plenty of exercise, so they can burn off pent up energy which will enable them to concentrate better on their lessons.


Both the Harrier and Bluetick Coonhound have a reputation for being healthy dogs. Many of the health issues that afflict them are reflections of their active lifestyle, such as acquiring ticks that transmit disease.

Ear Infections

The heavy ear flap of those gorgeous drop ears tends to reduce the air circulation within the ear canal. If the dog then goes swimming and gets water in the ear, this warm moist environment makes a great breeding ground for bacteria. In addition, running through long grass can predispose them to getting grass awns in the ear canal, which migrate downwards and can cause significant pain and distress.

Tick Borne Diseases

The active nature of the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier often puts them in places, such as woodland or fields, where ticks are plentiful. Indeed, the Coonhound is notorious for suffering from ‘Coonhound Paralysis’, which is a tick-borne disease prevalent around their home region in the US.

In the UK, these diseases are limited to Lyme disease, with a slim chance of acquiring Borreliosis. The regular use of a product that kills ticks is strongly advised.

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat

The deep chest of the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier places them at increased risk of bloat. With this in mind, a Bluetick Coonhound Harrier should be fed a good quality food that is low in fermentable ingredients, such as soy. Always wait at least one hour after eating, before exercising the dog.

Signs of bloat include restlessness and trying to vomit but without bringing anything up. This requires emergency treatment so always contact the vet immediately.

Weight Gain

The Bluetick Coonhound Harrier requires an active lifestyle. If this need is not met, then they will tend to gain weight. This then predisposes the dog to diabetes, arthritis, and heart and lung disease.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Harrier is an extremely active breed, whilst the Bluetick Coonhound requires plenty of exercise. This means their offspring, the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier, needs at least one hour long active exercise session per day, in order to keep them satisfied.

As a breed they also need mental stimulation, so playing games, interacting, and possibly even laying scent trails are a great way to keep a Bluetick Coonhound Harrier happy and content.


The short coat of the Bluetick Coonhound Harrier requires a minimum amount of care, with once weekly brushing recommended. The latter helps to remove shed hair and spread conditioning oils over the coat.

Daily tooth brushing is ideal in order to remove plaque before it hardens into tartar. Also, check inside the ears and the paws after each walk, to look for grass seeds that cause irritation.

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