Hounds are generally healthy breeds. Any dog of any breed, depending on environment, genetics, and history, can contract nearly any illness. Dogs are no different than humans in this regard. Hounds are however not known for many specific illnesses as are other breeds. IE: Retrievers and Cancer or Rottweilers having hip dysplasia. There are specific illnesses that arise in Hounds but not typically with any more frequency than they do in any other breed of dog. The illnesses common in hounds are generally “nuisance” illnesses that can be avoided with adequate care and quality health supervision.
Illness in both Beagles and Coonhounds.
1. Ear maladies.
The heavy drop over ears of both Beagles and Coonhounds means those ears need good maintenance. The hound ear not only traps dirt under the velvety folds but also hold in moisture. This means their ears need to be cleaned regularly. The hound ear should also be well supervised because their ears is one of the places that food intolerances/allergies can display their ill effects on your dogs health. Chronic dirty/infected ears should be looked at by your vet.
2. Intolerance/Sensitivity to grains
We are not anti-grain, raw diet, food nazi’s. This is in no way a scientific evaluation. However, over the past 20 years and thousands of Hounds we have rescued, we have noticed a common thread between a choice of pet foods and certain nuisance maladies in our hounds. Dry skin, itchiness, ear issues, low immune response, goopy and runny eyes and nose, soft stool, are all some nuisance issues we have easily solved with a simple change of diet. How much more common these issues are in hounds than in other breeds I cannot say. However, I would guess 1 in 3 of our hounds show an intolerance to grain content in their foods.
Why would we mention parasites? Any dog is prone to parasites/worms. This is true. Keep in mind that a hound will eat nearly anything and willing chow down things other dogs would turn their nose up at. Regular fecal exams are not required, but definitely suggested.
The soft brown eyes, expert begging skills, and voracious appetite have many Hounds waddling around with an extra dog worth of weight on their bones. Hounds are built to be lean and athletic dogs. Extra weight is dangerous for any breed of dog, but is more so for a sporting breed like the hound. Their physical structure is not designed for being heavy.
When we first began rescuing Beagles they were virtually bulletproof. Chronic illness was rare and hereditary illness was not common. The Beagle is still a healthy breed, healthier than many others; however the resurgence in their popularity as a house pet (and thus being bred unprofessionally) has had some adverse on the breeds health. Some known health issues are:
- Cherry Eye (swollen eye gland)
- Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Intervertebral Disk Disease
The Coonhound is still more popular as a hunting/sport dog than as a house pet. The majority of Coonhounds are bred by hunters/professional for hunting/professional use. As a potential Coonhound family, this is a good thing for you. Their prevalence as professional animals help to protect their health. Some Know health issues are:
- Entropion (turned in eyelids)
- Joint Dysplasia (not necessarily hip dysplasia, not equally distributed in the 6 breeds, more common in Black and Tans)
If I am being 100% honest, the biggest risk to a hounds health is likely the hound itself. Their fun loving and curious nature coupled with an uncommon (and greatly underestimated) intelligence sometimes leads them to acts of foolishness. ??