The Treeing Walker Coonhound is one of the 6 Coonhound breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. The others are the American English Coonhound, the Redbone Coonhound, the Bluetick Coonhound, and the Black and Tan Coonhound, and finally the Plott Hound.
Unlike the other Coonhounds, the Plott Hound is not descended from the English Foxhound, but from German Hannover Hounds. Also, just to confuse the issue, the American English is often called the Redtick Coonhound.
Treeing Walker Coonhound Temperament
This is the most popular of the Coonhound breeds, and is considered by many to be the best coonhound for raccoon hunting competitions. These hunting dogs can make great family pets and companions due to their friendly and laid back nature.
Some people say they have a dual personality. Around the home they are relaxed, amiable and soft. They love human company, and being around their owner. They do very well with children, but should be supervised at all times as they may unintentionally knock over a small child while playing.
But on the hunt, their personality changes. The dog becomes extremely focused on the scent of a prey animal – usually a raccoon – and will take off in pursuit. Almost nothing will deter the dog from following the scent, unless it happens to cross a stronger, more recent scent. When treeing animals, the Treeing Walker has the habit of trying to climb up the tree after the prey.
The hunting background gives rise to 2 issues; First; the ability to follow a prey animal for hours means that the Teeing Walker Coonhound needs LOTS of exercise. A 2 hour walk each day will barely make a dent on energy levels. Ideally you should have a big, well-fenced yard where the dog can run around, chase balls and frisbees, etc.
Second, that extreme sense of smell means that the dog will quickly find any available food that has been left out, even in garbage cans. Anything edible must be well secured! Also, when meeting someone for the first time, this dog will give them a very detailed sniffing examination, which may surprise the human!
This breed was created using both American and English foxhounds, and was originally called the English Coonhound. Later its name was changed to the Treeing Walker Coonhound in honor of Thomas Walker of Virginia, who was a major influence in the breeds development in the mid 1700s.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound was developed from the Walker Foxhound, which in turn descended from the Virginia Hound that evolved from the earliest English Foxhounds that were brought to America. Originally classified as an English Coonhound, the Treeing Walker’s breeders broke away from the English Coonhound in 1945.
Like all coonhounds, the Treeing Walker was bred to pick up the scent of a raccoon, and chase it until it ran up a tree to escape. The dog would then remain at the base of the tree, barking in a particular and distinctive bawl, until the hunter arrived to take a shot at the raccoon.
During the chase, the dog has one type of bark to tell the hunter where the prey is being chased. As soon as the prey runs up a tree, the bark changes in character to let the hunter know that the raccoon is cornered. Unlike the other coonhound breeds, the Treeing Walker would often try to climb the tree to get to the raccoon.
Height: 22″ – 27″ (males), and 20″ to 25″ (females)
Weight: 50 lbs to 70 lbs
Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
Black, White, and Tri-colored.
Ease of Training
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is not a difficult dog to train; they are intelligent and keen to please their owners. However they can have a stubborn streak and resist doing something if they can’t see the reason.
It’s best to start basic training as a puppy, and keep training sessions short – say, 5 to 10 minutes, to prevent the dog from losing concentration. It is very important to reward the correct behavior with lots of praise and occasional doggy treats.
When the puppy is old enough, puppy walking classes are an excellent way of starting to socialize the dog. They will start to get used to new sights, smells, sounds and of course other dogs and humans.
If you are having any problems with training your dog, it may be worth getting some one-on-one training with a professional dog trainer. They will make big strides in the training process, and show you how to continue that training.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a very low maintenance breed. The short smooth coat repels dirt and mud, and they only the occasional bath if they get particularly dirty, or develop a “doggy” smell. Wiping him down with a damp towel or a hound glove will keep his coat shining.
The ears should be checked weekly for any signs of foreign objects such as twigs or debris, for injury, and for signs of infection such as redness, swelling or a bad smell.
The claws should also be checked weekly, and trimmed if they seem to be getting long, to prevent painful cracking and splitting.
The dog’s teeth should be brushed daily with a small soft toothbrush, and a dog-specific toothpaste, NOT a human toothpaste.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is initially wary of strangers, and may bark loudly to alert his owner that someone is approaching. However they are also very friendly and accepting, and will quickly make friends with a newcomer if they are non-threatening.
This means that this breed may be a good watch dog, but not a good guard dog. They are simply too trusting and too soft to actively deter a would-be home invader. If you want extra protection, I suggest you look at another breed.
The Treeing Walker is overall quite a healthy breed, and responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye problems.
Famous Treeting Walker Coonhounds
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