Breed Profile: Treeing Walker Coonhound

Treeing walker coonhounds were developed to keep prey up in trees until the hunter arrived and have been known to even climb up after them.

Treeing walker coonhound. By just chaos
Treeing walker coonhound breed info. By Just chaos

Breed

Treeing walker coonhound

Group

Hound

Physical Description

The treeing walker can appear similar to a tall Beagle with some of its coat combinations. The short and glossy coat comes in a tri-colored or bi-colored coat of white, black and tan that may include spots. This breed is the last of the coonhounds to earn inclusion from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which recognized the American English coonhound the year before.

Males are slightly larger at 22 to 27 inches tall than females ranging from 20 to 25 inches. Weights average between 50 and 75 pounds. The eyes and ears are large with the ears hanging far down the sides of the head. The average life expectancy is 12 years, but some owners report their treeing walkers living 15-plus years.

Origin

Thomas Walker imported English coonhounds into Virginia in 1742 that later became known as the Virginia hounds. Certain qualities of these dogs were desirable to retain but needed an additional edge when it came to hunting game, particularly the desire to hunt and the ability to stay with the prey until the hunter arrived.

Some of these dogs have been known to clamor up a tree after their prey. Even though the prey may switch trees, it can be common for these dogs to stay at the tree first scented. Treeing walkers also hunt on the ground.

This video shows a treeing walker named Melody hunting moles:

These dogs were developed into the “walker” hounds until they were outcrossed with a stolen dog from Tennessee of unknown roots in 1945. The resulting dogs were named treeing walker coonhounds and classified as a new breed. The AKC recognized the breed in 2012, and these dogs were welcomed to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2013.

Purpose

Treeing walkers originally tracked and chased wild raccoons, squirrels and opossums up trees. Many of them still work in the same field, while others are companion pets, competitive show dogs or compete in trials.

Temperament

This is a fast, active dog breed. While they are friendly, confident and great with kids and other dogs, treeing walker coonhounds follow their noses. They are intelligent, competitive and love to work.

They have been known to take off to hunt a scent if left outside alone, and this video shows how important a secure fence is when you have a treeing walker:

Treeing walkers need regular exercise and reinforced training. Without them, these dogs can become stubborn and destructive.

Exercise Needs

Treeing walkers are very active dogs and need regular, daily exercise. They love to work and have a high endurance level. They do well in warm climates and are considered too active for apartment life.

Grooming Requirements

This breed requires minimal maintenance with a weekly brushing on their short coats and baths based upon need. The large ears should be cleaned regularly to keep infections away. Shedding is minimal to average. In addition to the ear cleaning, brush the teeth and clip the nails regularly.

Common Health Problems

This breed is extremely healthy with no notable genetic conditions. The ears may be prone to infection because of their size, and there is a chance of hip dysplasia.

Working dogs of this breed may encounter a higher chance of injury or lacerations associated with their jobs. Because the dogs chase wild raccoons and may come in direct contact with them regularly, owners of working hounds should be diligent with rabies vaccinations. A type of paralysis from raccoon bites is possible as with many coonhound breeds.

Is the Treeing Walker Coonhound the Right Dog for You?

Treeing walkers are high-energy dogs that need room to play, exercise or work. They are not recommended for apartment life and do best in warm climates. They are good with children and other dogs, but they need daily outings and reinforced training to avoid becoming stubborn or destructive. Grooming is a breeze and health problems are minimal, and this coonhound makes a loyal family pet.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

If you do consider getting a treeing walker, please look into rescues and adoption resources. Even purebred animals often wind up in shelters. Try out the Pets Adviser adoptable pet search.

Because the treeing walker coonhound is not as common as other breeds, you may not find one through adoption resources. Check with rescue groups and breeders. If you do choose to go to a breeder, please make sure the breeder is reputable: Know the puppy mill warning signs.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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