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An Impressive Story of Dogs That Once Made Raccoons Tremble With Fear


Written by Alen Galovic (Totegnac kennel), the text published in the Croatian Kennel Club magazine "Moj pas", photos from the archives of the Cosner family were exclusively provided by Mrs. Barbara Cosner Little


Congratulations! I wish my dad knew... He'd be dancing a jig! Bless you! He wanted so much to see these dogs go across the ocean...
Mrs. Barbara Cosner Little from the USA sent us this message on Facebook, seeing the post about nine Black and Tan Coonhound puppies that were born in 2017 in our house in Croatia. While every breeder enjoys congratulations and good wishes when puppies are born, Barbara Cosner Little’s words were much more to us than a courteous message on social media. In fact, these were sentences that filled us with special emotions and. pride
Her father was William Cosner, a man who is called Master Breeder in American cynology, most deserving of the preservation and then recognition of 'long-eared' hounds in the American Kennel Club! Back in 1921, he first bred his litter of Black and Tan Coonhounds, strong cold-nosed dogs (a term used in America for dogs that easily follow the trail created hours, even days earlier), extremely long ears, intended for coon hunting. Along with two other breeders and his friends, Don Stringer (Ten Oaks) and Orville Dunham (Grand Mere), William Cosner is most credited for AKC recognizing this breed, whose standard (written by the aforementioned three) was adopted by the American Kennel Club in 1945. , thus recognizing this breed as the first of several breeds of coonhounds known and later recognized in the United States today (none of them, except Black and Tan Coonhounds, are recognized by the FCI).
The yellowed photographs that his daughter provided exclusively for the writing and publication of this article clearly testify to how this man experienced breeding and how close this experience is to the most modern cynological thoughts.

Allmost every pictures are from their farm in Greencastle, Indiana, where the Mapple Hill kennel started, from which all modern Black and Tan Coonhounds originate. And Cosner's breeding principles are even clearer when you read what this hard-working farmer said about the breed's recognition for The American Hound Association News, a professional K9 magazine, in 1945:
“Never use a stud dog or female that materially lacks the fine points of type, inferior bloodlines, or one that does not show extraordinary ability as a wide, tireless hunter, good strike, fast, cold trailer, and solid tree barker“”.
In short, Cosner (then only 34 years old) was very firm in the view that any mediocrity is extremely undesirable in breeding and that the imperative must be to use only the best dogs, by no means average, both in exterior and in character.

BREED CREATION
For years, even centuries, Americans have been trying to create a dog to help them hunt raccoons. These intelligent animals were extremely important at the time of the colonization of the North American continent, when they were an easily accessible source of fur for the first settlers, as well as meat and fat. In raccoon hunting they first used English Foxhounds, dogs that were often bred on large and rich southern estates. But these dogs have been shown to chase game well through large, clear plantations and tame hilly landscapes, but easily lose track when they stumble upon the more difficult rocky or forested areas of the Appalachians and Ozark Mountains. That is why the first attempts to cross-breed Foxhounds with Bloodhounds gave much better results. The dogs from these combinations chased loudly, singing one song on the trail, and then, rhythmically different but more penetrating, and with an even clearer message when they climbed the front legs to the tree, looking toward the treetop in which the unfortunate raccoon tried to hide!

Today, Americans hunt with several related breeds that, for the most part, differ markedly in color. There are Treeing Walker Coonhound (named after a breeder from Kentucky), Bluetick Coonhound, Plott Hound (named after the German Plott family who inhabited the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina), Redbone Coonhound... All are significantly smaller in height and weight than Black and Tan Coonhound and none has such pronounced long ears. What they have in common is the way of hunting, the so-called treeing. When a dog chases an animal to a tree, it does not stop baying sharply at a certain rhythm. Dogs, of course, must not attack the animal, but only bark at the tree on which it has hidden. Such a method is also used in the USA for hunting cougars and black bears, but today such hunting is considered unethical by many, so it is banned in some American federal states. It is therefore not surprising that most AKC registered Black and Tan Coonhounds today are far from hunting sports, much close to the dog show rings from Westminster to Philadelphia. Moreover, the prevailing put it - although it is completely wrong - that Black and Tan Coonhounds, from AKC register, have already lost some of their hunting instinct. The biggest supporters of this theory are breeders of the same breed from the UKC registry, which has brought together breeders of hunting breeds and has no AKCs reputation. Although Black and Tan Coonhounds were recognised as a breed at the UKC much earlier, at the beginning of the 20th century, today Black and Tan Coonhounds out of UKC looks more like Polish or Montenegrin hounds, for example, as we know them in Europe, and often have large white markings on the chest, which is by standard - a disqualifying error. Therefore, when Americans today talk about ‘real’ Coonhounds, they are often referred to as “Old-fashioned long-haired AKC registered Black and Tan Coonhounds”.

COONHOUNDS IN CROATIA & EUROPE

The first such Black and Tan Coonhound female arrived in Croatia from Finland, from the Necku kennel. This female is the mother of the first Black and Tan Coonhounds born in Croatia, and she is the first Black and Tan Coonhound to win the Best In Show at an dog show in Europe, under the respectable judge Milivoje Urošević from Serbia. The father of the puppies lives in the Czech Republic, in the reputable Blossoming Meadow kennel, owned by Martina Kustkova, and was imported from Alabama, from Rockytop kennel. There were six males and three females in first Coonhounds litter in Croatia. Today they live in Portugal, Germany, Slovenia, Hvar and Zadar, some of them are successful show dogs, and one male in the north of Germany is actively used in hunting. Female and male out of first Coonhound litter, in addition to being extremely successful in shows, have also competed at some new disciplines, such as canicross and nosework.

The Finns, along with the Germans and the Czechs, bred the most litters of these hounds on the Old Continent and are most responsible for their spread in Europe. At 2019., for the first time, Black and Tan Coonhouds were at Crufts, in the Any Variety (AV) Imported Breeds Register class, in the competition of a dozen other related breeds. We are proud that our young male Mr Alarming Voice Cooner Totegnac, also known as Ljubo, a male bred in Croatia, was the first in the history of his breed to step on the green carpet of Crufts. He won second place in the Juniors and then Reserve in the Post Graduate competition. The first litter of Coonhounds was recently born in Slovenia, our male was the first Black and Coonhound imported to Serbia, and the female was the first in Portugal.
It is interesting to mention the fact that one of the most successful  Black and Tan Coonhound in Europe is owned by a German citizen born in Slavonski Brod, Croatia, Sanela Havić. This -bred male - Aragon from Charming Shadow, was a doubleWorld Winner (Amsterdam 2018 and Leipzig 2017), was also the third-ranked German dog of the year 2018 (German Dog Of The Year, Dortmund VDH), and previously the Europasieger in Dortmund 2017. At our invitation, the owners of Aragon exhibited in Zadar, where he was placed first in the 6th FCI group by judge Tino Pehar.

BREED STANDARD
The Black and Tan Coonhound standard was introduced under number 300 in the FCI classification. Clearly, they are VI. Group of breeds in FCI nomenclature, in the first section, where the great hounds are. The standard specifically highlights that Black and Tan Coonhound is is first and fundamentally a working dog, a trail and tree hound, capable of withstanding the rigors of winter, the heat of summer, and the difficult terrain over which he is called upon to work. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness. He immediately impresses one with his ability to cover the ground with powerful rhythmic strides. Size measured at the shoulder-Males 63,5 to 68,5 centimeters, females 58,5 to 63,5 cm. Oversized dogs should not be penalized when general soundness and proportion are in favor. Penalize undersize. Measured from the point of shoulder to the buttocks and from withers to ground the length of body is equal to or slightly greater than the height of the dog at the withers. Height is in proportion to general conformation so that dog appears neither leggy nor close to the ground
Ears are low set and well back. They hang in graceful folds, giving the dog a majestic appearance. In length they extend naturally well beyond the tip of the nose and are set at eye level or lower. Viewed from profile the line of the skull is on a practically parallel plane to the foreface or muzzle. Medium stop occuring midway between occiput bone and nose.    The back is level, powerful and strong, The dog possesses full, round, well sprung ribs, avoiding flatsidedness. Penalize lack of rich Page 2 of 2 tan markings, excessive areas of tan markings, excessive black coloration. Faults-White on chest or other parts of body is highly undesirable, and a solid patch of white which extends more than 2,5 centimeters in any direction is a disqualification.. Even temperament, outgoing and friendly. As a working scent hound, must be able to work in close contact with other hounds. Some may be reserved but never shy or vicious. Aggression toward people or other dogs is most undesirable

RACOONS IN EUROPE?!
Although many people think that Coonhounds cannot find raccoons in Europe - because there are no such animals on our continent (except in zoos) - this is not entirely true. Two breeding pairs of raccoons were released in April 1934 on the shores of German Lake Eder, not far from Kassel, in the state of Hessen. Since then, the raccoon population there has been slowly and surely expanding and is now entering urban areas, and a case of a wild raccoon that arbitrarily "moved" to its relatives in a shelter at the Heidelberg Zoo has recently been reported. It has long been thought that the release of raccoons into the wild was ordered by Hitler's Air Force chief Hermann Goering (then in charge of hunting), because of his fascination with American animals, but this is not true. It was the arbitrariness of two game warde, who thought it would contribute to biodiversity. Until recently, their views were shared by many activists and even scientist, but in 2015 the Euroepan Union passed directives according to which raccoons are considered an invasive animal species that threatens European flora and fauna. Interestingly, several similar attempts to inhabit raccoons, especially in Russia, failed and the species never spread.

THE ONLY BREED THAT HAS ITS OWN CEMETERY

In the city of Tuscumbia (the birthplace of the deaf-blind activist and writer Helen Keller), Alabama, there is unique pet cemetery dedicated to just Coonhounds.
 "Only cemetery of its kind in the world. Only Coonhounds are allowed to be buried. Troop - the first dog laid to rest here, September 4, 1937. Please be careful with fire."
It says so on a small table, at the entrance to the cemetery, nailed to a tree. There are tombstones on the ground dedicated to many hounds, some of whom were famous champions. Now it is a cemetery, a resting place for more than 150 dogs, and 7000 people visit it annually - as a tourist attraction.
The cemetery is dominated by a monument showing hounds that have climbed the tree with their front legs, in a position so characteristic of this unique breed. A special feature of the cemetery are the inscriptions on the tombstones. For the Black Ranger, who was born in 1962, and left the world in 1976, his owner Fulton Matthews wrote, "He was good as the best, and better than the rest."
In order for a dog to be buried there, not only a pedigree is enough, but it is necessary to confirm to one of the several American associations that bring together the owners of these breeds. that the dog would be an authentic Coonhound, so he participated in raccoon hunting, but only raccoons! Every May 1, breed lovers gather at the grave, but the atmosphere is not too sad or quiet. After all, Coonhounds were not like that, so a live concert by a country band is held in the cemetery, and they organize and compete in dance. Monuments can be made of wood, granite and natural stone…

THE SECRET OF IMPRESSIVE BAYING
„There was a specialty in Memphis, Tennessee on Friday, November 24, 1978 which had Cocker Spaniels, Black and Tan Coonhounds, Collies and Dobermans. The Doberman Pinscher Club of Memphis was offering obedience so I entered my dobie in obedience and drove to Memphis to see my first coonhounds. All I remember about the building was that it was a large metal building that echoed greatly. There were 306 dogs entered, with 124 of them being cockers and 61 being collies. The cockers and collies barked pretty much incessantly. Being more used to obedience trials than conformation shows at that time, I was aware of the noise. As I was walking around looking at the dogs, I noticed two Coonhound males that were eyeing each other from inside their crates. They decided they did not like each other and both of them sat on their haunches, threw back their heads as best they could and let out a long drawn out bay. ...AND THE WALLS SHOOK. All the collies and all the cockers fell silent as if they knew they had been outclassed. I said to myself, "I HAVE to have one of these dogs!" Thus began my love affair with these wonderful dogs“.

With these words, Edith S. Atchley from the Rockytop kennel in the state of Alabama, where the father of the first puppies of this breed in Croatia comes from, described her first encounter with Black and Tan Coonhounds, and their song, which sometimes resembles a combination of a lion and an elephant roar. Fascinated by the fact that other breeds - obviously aware of the superior sound frequencies of Black and Tan Coonhounds- could only give submissive glances, she points out the motto of the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club: Beauty, Strength, Courage. This motto largely describes their character as well. These dogs do have some anatomical features reminiscent of horses, animals that have inspired artists in all civilizations for millennia. Apart from these elegant body lines, they are extremely strong and agile, but also brave. Black and Tan Coonhounds are excellent guards, with their loud barking and appearance they will easily intimidate and chase away an unwanted guest. They are also stable dogs, so they will never show the slightest sign of aggression towards children or other dogs. Their instincts are, of course, strong. It is not easy with this dog in nature, in a free walk. The trail scent evokes an impulse that is very difficult to control as with most other hounds, but the reaction of Black and Tan Coonhounds is much more impulsive and strong. The Black and Tan Coonhounds on the trail gives the impression of an unmistakably programmed machine with only one mission. Quite paradoxically, this same animal is an extremely gentle creature in a family environment, eager for hugs, cuddles and games, empathetic and very attentive, clean, almost subtle.

The loud barking and baying (sounds like a continuously loud mix between barking and very deep howling: BOWOWOW, BOOOWOOWOOOW) that these dogs are prone to, does not make them too suitable for living in cities or with neighbors who want their peace and quiet. Or, as one American breeder would say: Lots of people love the music of the hounds, but those people might not include you neighbours.
It takes patience to work with them, they are dogs that have their own character and are often unwilling to compromise. Like other breeds of hounds created in large packs, they do not tolerate loneliness. Although they are ready for great efforts, so they will love running in nature, they also love comfort. They will make it very clear to you that your favorite couch should belong only to them. But they are aware of the environment in which they live and do absolutely no harm in the house, garden, or around the house.

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