Treeing Walker Coonhound

Table of Contents

treeing walker coonhound portrait
Get ready to meet the rockstar of the hound world - the Treeing Walker Coonhound! With their striking good looks, boundless energy, and a nose that won't quit, these dogs have captured the hearts of many. Often mistaken for a tall Beagle, this breed's true claim to fame is their unparalleled ability to track and tree critters with remarkable speed and agility.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an excellent choice for active families, outdoor enthusiasts, and experienced hunters. These intelligent and social dogs thrive with owners who can provide consistent training, ample exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMETreeing Walker Coonhound
OTHER NAMESTWC, Walker
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZELarge
HEIGHT20-27 inches
WEIGHT50-70 lbs
LIFESPAN12-13 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSLow
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYHigh
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYModerate
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK159th
treeing walker coonhound outdoor
Photo: Bill_Anastasiou/Getty Images

Appearance

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a strikingly handsome breed that showcases a perfect blend of athleticism and elegance in its appearance. These dogs possess a well-balanced, sturdy build that enables them to effortlessly navigate diverse terrains while hunting. Their lean, muscular bodies are designed for speed and agility, making them true athletes in the canine world.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds typically stand between 20 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder, with males being slightly larger than females. Their weight ranges from 50 to 70 pounds, with females weighing slightly less than their male counterparts.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Treeing Walker Coonhound is their head, which is long and refined, with a slightly domed skull. Their intelligent, expressive eyes are large and round, usually dark brown in color, giving them a warm, captivating gaze.

The ears are another notable characteristic – they’re set moderately low, long, and wide, hanging gracefully below the jawline. When alert, the ears frame the face, enhancing the breed’s overall charm.

The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s powerful neck flows seamlessly into well-laid-back shoulders, leading to a straight, strong back. Their deep chest extends down to the elbow, providing ample space for lung capacity, vital for an endurance hunter. The breed’s tail is moderately long and set high, tapering to a point. In action, the tail is carried upright with a slight curve, displaying confidence and enthusiasm.

The legs of a Treeing Walker Coonhound are long and straight, with strong, well-arched feet that allow them to cover ground quickly and efficiently. Their thighs are muscular and well-developed, providing impressive propulsion when needed.

The breed’s coat is short, dense, and glossy, offering protection against harsh weather conditions and rough terrains. Treeing Walker Coonhounds are predominantly tricolor – black, white, and tan – with the tan markings appearing above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle, and around the legs. Some dogs may also be bicolor, featuring only black and white or white and tan.

Overall, the Treeing Walker Coonhound’s physical characteristics reflect its purpose as an agile, tireless hunter. Their well-proportioned bodies, expressive faces, and distinctive tricolor coats make them an attractive and easily recognizable breed.

treeing walker coonhound relaxing at home
Photo: Justin Thames/Getty Images

Temperament

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a breed that boasts an engaging and versatile temperament, making them not only excellent hunting companions but also wonderful family pets. Known for their friendly demeanor and unwavering loyalty, these dogs are social creatures who enjoy the company of both humans and other animals.

One of the most endearing qualities of the Treeing Walker Coonhound is their affectionate nature. They form strong bonds with their families and are happiest when they can share their love and devotion.

These dogs have a natural affinity for children and can be gentle, patient, and protective playmates. Their easygoing personality allows them to get along well with other dogs, especially when properly socialized from a young age.

Despite their amicable disposition, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are not pushovers. They possess a strong sense of independence and confidence, which is evident in their hunting abilities. When pursuing quarry, they are tenacious, fearless, and determined. This steadfastness translates into their everyday life, making them a reliable companion in various situations.

Intelligence is another hallmark of the Treeing Walker Coonhound breed. These dogs are quick learners and adept problem solvers, which contributes to their success as hunters. Their mental sharpness can also make them entertaining and sometimes mischievous pets.

They have a keen sense of curiosity and may use their wits to explore their surroundings or get into things they shouldn’t. For this reason, it’s essential to provide them with mental stimulation through puzzle toys, interactive games, or scent work activities.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are known for their remarkable vocal abilities. When on the hunt, they use a unique and melodious voice to communicate with their handlers. While this trait is highly desirable in a hunting dog, it can be problematic in a residential setting. T

hese dogs may become vocal when bored, lonely, or excited, so it’s crucial to address this behavior through proper training and socialization to prevent excessive barking or howling.

The breed’s adaptability is another notable characteristic. While they are naturally energetic and driven when hunting, they can also be quite mellow and relaxed indoors.

They appreciate the comforts of home and enjoy lounging with their families after a day of outdoor activity. However, it’s important not to mistake this laid-back attitude for laziness, as they still require mental and physical engagement to maintain a balanced temperament.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are generally good-natured and eager to please, which can make them a joy to have around. However, their strong-willed nature and occasional stubbornness may pose challenges during training. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to bringing out the best in these dogs and fostering a harmonious relationship between owner and pet.

Ideal Environment

The Treeing Walker Coonhound thrives in an environment that caters to their physical and mental needs while also providing ample opportunities for socialization and bonding with their family. As a versatile breed, they can adapt to various living situations, but certain conditions will allow them to flourish.

Ideal Owner

Ideal pet parents for the Treeing Walker Coonhound are those who lead an active lifestyle and are committed to providing consistent training, socialization, and mental stimulation. These dogs excel when they can participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, running, or playing fetch. They are well-suited for families with children, as their affectionate and playful nature makes them wonderful companions.

Other Pets

While Treeing Walker Coonhounds get along well with other dogs, proper introductions and socialization are crucial to ensure harmony within a multi-pet household. Their strong hunting instincts might pose problems with smaller pets, such as cats or rabbits, so caution should be exercised when introducing these animals.

Physical Environment

In terms of physical environment, a spacious home with a securely fenced yard is optimal for the Treeing Walker Coonhound. They require room to roam and explore, as well as a designated area where they can safely burn off energy. These dogs are skilled escape artists, so investing in a high-quality fence that prevents digging or jumping is essential.

Climate Adaptability

When it comes to climate adaptability, the Treeing Walker Coonhound’s short, dense coat provides protection against various weather conditions. However, they are not suited for extreme temperatures, and precautions should be taken to avoid potential health risks. In cold climates, provide your Coonhound with a warm shelter and consider using a dog coat or sweater during walks.

In hot climates, ensure access to shade, fresh water, and avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day. Be vigilant for signs of heatstroke or hypothermia and consult your veterinarian for additional guidance.

treeing walker coonhound standing by a tree
Photo: Bill_Anastasiou/Getty Images

Grooming

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a relatively low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming, but regular care is still essential to keep them looking and feeling their best. By establishing a consistent grooming routine, you can ensure your Coonhound remains healthy and comfortable.

Coat Care

The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s short, dense coat is designed to protect them from harsh weather conditions and rough terrains. Their grooming needs are minimal compared to longer-haired breeds.

Weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or rubber grooming mitt is sufficient to remove loose hair and distribute natural oils throughout the coat. This will help maintain its glossy appearance and reduce shedding.

During periods of increased shedding, which usually occurs seasonally, you may need to brush your Coonhound more frequently to manage hair loss. A de-shedding tool can be useful during these times to remove dead hair effectively.

Bathing your Treeing Walker Coonhound should be done as needed, typically every 4-6 weeks or when they become dirty from outdoor activities. Use a gentle dog shampoo to clean their coat without stripping away essential oils. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent any soap residue from causing irritation.

Dental Care

Regular dental care is essential for maintaining your Treeing Walker Coonhound’s overall health. Dental issues such as plaque buildup, gum disease, and bad breath can be prevented with consistent oral hygiene. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. However, if daily brushing isn’t feasible, aim for at least two to three times per week.

In addition to brushing, you can incorporate dental chews, enzymatic water additives, and dental toys into your Coonhound’s oral care routine. These products can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while also promoting fresh breath. Regular checkups with your veterinarian will ensure that any dental issues are addressed promptly.

Nail Trimming

Treeing Walker Coonhounds require regular nail trimming to prevent overgrowth, which can cause discomfort and affect their gait. Ideally, nails should be trimmed every 3-4 weeks using a dog nail clipper or grinder. It’s essential to trim the nails carefully to avoid cutting the quick, a vein that runs through the nail, which can lead to pain and bleeding.

If you’re unsure about trimming your Coonhound’s nails yourself, seek guidance from a professional groomer or veterinarian. Regular walks on hard surfaces can also help to naturally file down your dog’s nails.

Ear Care

The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s long, pendulous ears require routine inspection and cleaning to prevent infections. Check their ears weekly for signs of redness, irritation, or unusual odor, which could indicate an issue. Gently clean the outer ear with a soft cloth or cotton ball moistened with a dog-specific ear cleaner. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause damage or push debris further in.

General Grooming Tips

In addition to coat care, dental care, nail trimming, and ear cleaning, pay attention to other aspects of your Treeing Walker Coonhound’s grooming needs. Regularly check their eyes for any signs of discharge or irritation, and gently wipe the area with a soft, damp cloth if necessary.

By implementing a consistent grooming routine for your Treeing Walker Coonhound, you can ensure their well-being and maintain their attractive appearance. Regular grooming also provides an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog while monitoring their health and catching potential issues early.

treeing walker coonhound relaxing on the bed
Photo: Justin Thames/Getty Images

Exercise

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an energetic and athletic breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. As a working dog with strong hunting instincts, they thrive on engaging in activities that challenge their body and mind.

Exercise Amount & Types

In terms of daily exercise, you should expect to spend at least 60-90 minutes engaging your Treeing Walker Coonhound in physical activities. This can be broken down into two or three sessions throughout the day. The type of exercise you choose should cater to their natural skills and instincts while also providing variety to keep them interested and motivated.

Walking and jogging are excellent ways to meet your Coonhound’s exercise needs. They enjoy exploring new environments and following scents, so taking them on different routes or trails can be highly rewarding for them. To add more challenge to their walks, consider incorporating uphill climbs or uneven terrain, which will work their muscles and improve their balance.

Fetch and other retrieval games are great for tapping into their hunting instincts while providing aerobic exercise. Using a Frisbee or ball, you can engage your Coonhound in a game of fetch at a local park or open field. Be mindful of their strong prey drive and ensure they are in a securely enclosed area or on a long lead to avoid potential distractions.

Training exercises that involve scent work or tracking can be mentally stimulating and physically demanding for your Treeing Walker Coonhound. Hide-and-seek games with toys or treats can be a fun way to challenge their keen sense of smell while getting them moving.

Dog Sports

If you’re interested in dog sports, the Treeing Walker Coonhound can excel in various competitions, such as agility, obedience, rally, and nose work. These activities not only provide physical exercise but also improve their focus, confidence, and bond with you.

Exercise Precautions

Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, always monitor your Treeing Walker Coonhound for signs of fatigue or overheating and provide them with fresh water and a cool resting area. Adjust the intensity and duration of their exercise based on their age, health, and fitness level.

Training

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an intelligent and eager-to-please breed, which can make training an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both dog and owner. However, their independent nature and strong hunting instincts present some unique challenges that require patience, consistency, and a tailored approach to training.

In terms of trainability, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are generally receptive to learning new commands, but their high energy levels and curiosity can sometimes lead to distractions. It’s important to start training early, ideally during puppyhood, and establish a strong foundation of basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay, come, and heel.

Positive reinforcement techniques, like praise, treats, and play, are the most effective way to train your Coonhound. They respond well to rewards-based training methods and are more likely to repeat behaviors that result in positive outcomes. Avoid punishment-based techniques, as these can lead to fear or aggression and may damage the bond between you and your dog.

Socialization is a crucial aspect of training for Treeing Walker Coonhounds. Expose your dog to various environments, people, and other animals from a young age to help them develop confidence and adaptability. This will reduce the likelihood of fear or aggression towards unfamiliar situations or individuals.

Due to their strong hunting instincts, teaching your Coonhound reliable recall is essential. This will ensure they respond to your command, even when faced with distractions. Training sessions should be conducted in a secure, enclosed area to avoid potential hazards, such as chasing wildlife or running into traffic.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds have a natural tendency to bark and bay, especially when they catch a scent or spot prey. While this trait is desirable for hunters, it may not be appreciated by neighbors in urban settings. Teaching your dog the “quiet” command and providing them with sufficient mental and physical stimulation can help manage excessive vocalizations.

Consistency is key when training a Treeing Walker Coonhound. Establish a regular training routine and maintain clear expectations to reinforce desired behaviors. Be patient, as these dogs may take longer to grasp certain concepts or become easily distracted.

treeing walker coonhound in front of a pile of straw
Photo: ExcitingTravelsGoNow/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Treeing Walker Coonhound. Since they are an active and energetic breed, their dietary needs will vary depending on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and overall health.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting food for your Coonhound, opt for high-quality dry, wet, or raw food that adheres to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. These guidelines ensure that the food contains the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your dog’s optimal health. Look for products that list real meat as the first ingredient, along with whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats.

The amount of food you feed your Treeing Walker Coonhound will depend on their individual needs. As a general guideline, puppies aged 8-12 weeks should be fed 3-4 times daily, while those aged 3-6 months should be fed 3 times daily. From 6 months onwards, you can gradually transition to feeding your dog twice daily.

Always refer to the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and adjust the portions based on your dog’s age, weight, and activity level. Regularly monitor your Coonhound’s body condition and consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure about the appropriate portion sizes.

Treats

Treats can be a valuable tool for training and rewarding good behavior, but they should be given in moderation to avoid excessive weight gain. Opt for healthy treats such as dehydrated fruits and vegetables, lean meats, or low-calorie dog biscuits. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Water

Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining your Coonhound’s overall health. Provide your dog with constant access to fresh water, especially during hot weather or after exercise. Clean their water bowl regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and encourage them to drink.

Health

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 12-13 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential problems and taking preventive measures can help ensure your Coonhound enjoys a long, happy life.

Here are common health issues associated with Treeing Walker Coonhounds:

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit correctly into the socket, leading to arthritis and pain. Regular screening and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk or severity of this condition.

Ear Infections: Their long, floppy ears create a warm, moist environment that can promote bacterial and yeast infections. Regular ear cleaning and checking for signs of infection (e.g., redness, swelling, or foul odor) can help prevent complications.

Eye Problems: Coonhounds may be prone to eye conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) or cataracts. Regular eye exams and early detection can help manage these issues effectively.

Hypothyroidism: This is an endocrine disorder where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues. A blood test can diagnose hypothyroidism, and medication can help manage the condition.

Bloat (Gastric Torsion): A potentially life-threatening condition where the stomach twists on itself, cutting off blood flow. Feeding smaller meals, avoiding exercise immediately after eating, and recognizing early warning signs (e.g., excessive drooling, pacing, or attempts to vomit) can help prevent and address this issue.

To keep your Treeing Walker Coonhound healthy, provide them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Choose high-quality food that follows AAFCO guidelines and adjust portions based on their age, weight, and activity level.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential for monitoring your dog’s health and catching potential issues early. Establish a vaccination schedule with your vet to protect your Coonhound from common canine diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies.

History

The Treeing Walker Coonhound has a rich history that traces back to the early days of American colonization. The breed’s origins can be traced to the English Foxhound, which was brought to America in the 1700s by European settlers. These dogs were used to hunt a variety of game, including raccoons, hence the name “Coonhound.”

The breed’s development continued over the years, with breeders selectively crossing Foxhounds with other breeds to enhance specific traits, such as speed, endurance, and treeing ability.

The most significant turning point in the breed’s history occurred in the 1800s when a man named George Washington Maupin discovered a remarkable dog named Tennessee Lead.

This black and tan dog was found roaming in the hills of Tennessee and was believed to have been stolen from a plantation in Kentucky. Maupin acquired Tennessee Lead and began breeding him to his own line of Virginia Hounds, which were descended from English Foxhounds.

The offspring of Tennessee Lead displayed exceptional hunting abilities, particularly in terms of treeing raccoons. These dogs were noted for their speed, endurance, and keen instinct to chase and corner their quarry up trees, where hunters could easily locate and dispatch the raccoon.

Over time, selective breeding led to the development of a distinct line of Coonhounds known as Walker Hounds, named after Thomas Walker, another breeder who played a significant role in the breed’s development.

Throughout the 20th century, the Treeing Walker Coonhound gained popularity among hunters and field trial enthusiasts for its exceptional hunting prowess. The breed’s reputation spread beyond the United States, with Treeing Walker Coonhounds being exported to countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Japan.

Despite its long history and widespread popularity among hunters, the Treeing Walker Coonhound was not officially recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 2012.

Prior to this, the breed was considered part of the larger Coonhound group, which included other breeds such as the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound. The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s recognition by the AKC marked a significant milestone for the breed, establishing it as a unique and valued member of the Hound Group.

In popular culture, Treeing Walker Coonhounds have made appearances in various forms of media, including books, movies, and television shows.

One of the most well-known depictions of a Treeing Walker Coonhound is the character of Old Dan in the classic novel “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. In this story, a young boy named Billy saves his earnings to buy a pair of Coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, and trains them to become champion raccoon hunters.

Today, the Treeing Walker Coonhound continues to be celebrated for its exceptional hunting abilities and has also found success in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and rally. While the breed remains a popular choice among hunters, it has also gained recognition as a loyal and affectionate family companion.

Parent Club

The parent club for the Treeing Walker Coonhound breed in the United States is the National Treeing Walker Coonhound Association (NTWCA). The NTWCA works to preserve and promote the breed, providing resources for breeders and owners alike.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities.

Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the Treeing Walker Coonhound’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

Acquiring

When considering acquiring a Treeing Walker Coonhound, it’s important to prepare for the responsibility of dog ownership and understand the breed’s specific needs. Research the breed’s temperament, exercise requirements, and potential health issues to ensure they’re a good fit for your lifestyle.

Instead of buying a puppy from a breeder, consider rescuing a Treeing Walker Coonhound from a shelter or breed-specific rescue organization. Many Coonhounds end up in shelters due to their high energy levels and hunting instincts, but with proper care and training, they can make wonderful companions.

To find a Treeing Walker Coonhound in need of a loving home, search online for local shelters or breed-specific rescue groups. When adopting, be prepared to provide information about your living situation and previous experience with dogs. Ensure you have a suitable living space, necessary supplies (such as a crate, leash, collar, and toys), and a plan for regular exercise and socialization.

Adopting a Treeing Walker Coonhound not only gives a deserving dog a second chance but also helps combat pet overpopulation and unethical breeding practices.

FAQs

What is the purpose of the Treeing Walker Coonhound?

The primary purpose of the Treeing Walker Coonhound is hunting, specifically for raccoons. They are known for their exceptional treeing ability, speed, and endurance. However, they can also make wonderful family pets when given proper training and exercise.

How long do Treeing Walker Coonhounds typically live?

Treeing Walker Coonhounds have a life expectancy of 12-13 years. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, they can enjoy a long and healthy life.

Can Treeing Walker Coonhounds live in an apartment?

While it’s possible for a Treeing Walker Coonhound to adapt to apartment living, they are energetic and require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Apartment dwellers should be prepared to provide ample outdoor activities and mental stimulation to meet their needs.

Are Treeing Walker Coonhounds hypoallergenic?

No, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are not hypoallergenic. They have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately. Regular grooming can help minimize shedding, but they may still cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

How much exercise does a Treeing Walker Coonhound need?

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are high-energy dogs that require 60-90 minutes of daily exercise to stay physically and mentally fit. Activities such as long walks, hikes, or play sessions in a fenced area are ideal for meeting their exercise needs.

Are Treeing Walker Coonhounds good with children and other pets?

Yes, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are generally good with children and can be affectionate, gentle, and playful. However, early socialization and supervision are essential to ensure positive interactions. Their strong hunting instincts may lead to chasing smaller animals, so caution should be taken when introducing them to other pets.

How easy is it to train a Treeing Walker Coonhound?

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, they can also be independent and stubborn at times. Consistent, positive reinforcement training methods work best to keep them engaged and motivated.

Fun Facts

  • The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a truly Southern breed, originating in the United States during the Colonial era. They were bred from English Foxhounds and American Foxhounds to create a dog that was exceptional at tracking and treeing raccoons.
  • Treeing Walker Coonhounds are known for their vocal nature. They have a distinct bark, or “bay,” that they use when they have located prey. This makes them excellent hunting companions as their owners can easily locate them.

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