The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a dog that is a descendent of the English Foxhound, a breed that was brought to the United States in the mid 1700s by a man named Thomas Walker. Eventually a dog of unknown origins, that was said to have been stolen, was crossed with the Walker Hound. This created an efficient hunting breed, that was further developed and became known as the Treeing Walker Coonhound in 1946. These dogs were bred to hunt mostly smaller game, such as raccoons and opossums. These dogs are fast and alert, with a high level of endurance. These dogs have a superb sense of smell and also have a unique baying bark that allowed the hunters to find them over long distances. These dogs get their name from their ability to tree their prey before the hunter arrives. The Treeing Walker Coonhound was officially recognized by the AKC in 2012.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound looks very similar to the English Foxhound. They stand at about 20 to 17 inches tall at the withers and they should weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. They have a well proportioned head with a long muzzle that has a moderate stop. Their upper lips hang down well past their lower jaw. The nose is black and the small, almond shaped eyes are usually dark brown in color. The large ears are floppy and hang down alongside the dog’s head. The tail is long and tapering. It is high set and usually carried up in a slight curve. The Treeing Walker Coonhound has a smooth, glassy coat that may come in an either tricolor or bicolor pattern. The tricolor is preferred by most breeders. The coat is predominantly white with black and tan markings. These dogs are easy to groom and only need occasional brushing and the ears should be kept clean and dry. They only need to be bathed when necessary and are average shedders.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is primarily a hunting and working dog but they also make good family companions. They naturally get along well with children and other dogs. These dogs are intelligent and relatively easy to train, but will need an owner that is a strong pack leader and training that is interesting and varied. Being a strong pack leader should involve establishing a set of rules and expectations that are firmly and consistently enforced. These dogs do have a distinct howl that can be problematic for those living in urban areas and they should be taught to stop when commanded. These dogs are eager to please and do not respond well to harsh punishment and yelling. They need to be gently reprimanded and trained using mostly positive reinforcement. Treeing Walker Coonhounds should also be well socialized while they are still puppies to ensure they grow up into well rounded adult dogs. This process should include taking the dog out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. This will help to make sure they don’t feel afraid or threatened by anything new later on in life.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is not a breed that is recommended to live in an apartment or other small homes. They are often fairly active indoors and out and will start to feel agitated living in a small space. These dogs can live outdoors happily as long as they have adequate shelter. They are comfortable in hot and sunny climates. These dogs are highly energetic and need a lot of exercise. These dogs do have a tendency to take off after any small prey they may see. Because of this they should always be on a leash or in a safely enclosed space. These dogs have no road sense and if they wander off, it is highly unlikely they will be able to find their way back. These dogs will need a long walk or run daily and will also enjoy getting to play games. If this breed isn’t getting enough physical and mental exercise they may become high strung. This can lead to some bad behaviors and they may even become destructive.
Although the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a relatively healthy breed, they do have a few health issues. Some of them have been known to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia. This is a common ailment that affects many breeds and can impede their mobility as they get older. Owners who use these dogs as hunting companions should be aware that they can sustain injuries while hunting. Some raccoons have even been known to fight back against dogs. Treeing Walker Coonhounds should also have their ears cleaned and checked regularly to prevent infection. Any moisture allowed to remain in the ears will harbor bacteria. A healthy Treeing Walker Coonhound will live about 12 or 13 years.
Overall the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a dog that is well suited as a hunter or worker, but they can also make loving family companions as well. They are very alert and active and need a family that can provide adequate exercise daily. They are happiest living in a home with a large yard or in rural areas.