Nose to the ground and intent on tracking its prey, the coonhound is another dog that makes a hunter's job easier. This breed relies on scent rather than sight to locate prey, hounds generally go after small mammals like raccoons (from which they get their name) or opossums, chasing the animals up trees and barking until their owner arrives. Approximately 2 feet high (0.6 meters)at the shoulder and blessed with plenty of courage, they're also helpful in hunting large game like deer.
Coonhounds likely originated from breeding two excellent trackers (bloodhounds and foxhounds) together, combining a keen sense of smell with increased speed and stamina. The dog's dense coat also allows the coonhound to tolerate a range of weather conditions, equally adaptable to heat and cold. Their courage and loyalty are immortalized in the beloved children's book "Where the Red Fern Grows," and the coonhound's reputation as a warrior of the hunt is so valued that the American Kennel Club's judging regulations advise that "scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered faults" in evaluating the breed for show [source: AKC].