- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: low
- Trainability: high
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Medium
- Average Lifespan: 12-13 Years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: akc, other
Treeing Walker Coonhound Breed Profile
Treeing Walker Coonhound is a strange name for a classic, American hunter. The three names of this dog breed indicate three distinct descriptions relating back to its origins. Thomas Walker was a Virginia dog breeder in the eighteenth century who was looking to create the perfect hunting companion by breeding the American and English Foxhounds. “Treeing” refers to their common objective of chasing prey up a tree. “Walker” honors the man who played a key role in breeding this dog. Finally, “Coonhound” refers to the types of hunting dogs that were bred specifically for tracking raccoons.
The result is a dog breed superbly designed for hunting small game. Even the Walker’s bark has been selected to sound like a bugle, calling its master to the scene of where the chase has ended, which is most often at the base of some tree. Treeing Walker Coonhounds are uniquely versatile hunters as well, adept at hunting alone or as part of a pack or duo. One would be hard-pressed to find a dog more ecstatic about its designated purpose. The Walker simply loves to track, chase, and capture its targeted prey.
Today, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is rarely employed for their intended purpose and they are not a very popular dog breed according to the AKC. The American Kennel Club did not recognize the Treeing Walker Coonhound until 2012 and ranks them at 127 out of 194 in popularity. Although they are not one of the more popular dog breeds, the characteristics of Walkers still make them delightful companions and members of a loving family.
Walkers are often described as brave, tenacious, and loyal. This dog is not for everyone due to certain, particular demands of the breed. As long as they are properly stimulated, they make a great family pet because they are naturally friendly and easily trained. Walker Coonhounds get along well with other dogs and cats. However, if your home includes other small animals, it’s important to properly train your Walker not to hunt family pets. They are protective and may not appreciate strangers who approach their family members. This dog breed is also great with kids and is able to engage in non-aggressive play while soaking up affection.
Walkers have a unique communication ability. As hunting assistants, they will emit different pitched barks to communicate different events. They will make a howling sound when they are tracking and a choppy bark when they have treed their targeted prey. At home, they will use different sounds to indicate different events that their owners will recognize: “I’ve found something,” “There’s a stranger at the door,” or “Let’s go for a walk!”
Overall, Walkers crave activity that is physically and mentally challenging. If a Treeing Walker Coonhound is bored or poorly exercised, they will develop mischievous and unhealthy habits like chewing, digging, and excessive barking.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is highly adaptive to physically and mentally challenging environments, but that’s about it. Overall, they are a moderately adaptable dog breed. They should not be housed in an apartment or in a backyard for extended periods of time. They are adaptable to travel, but, at some point, you’ll have to stop the car and have a vigorous frisbee throw or chasing game with them.
A Walker’s short coat is surprisingly insulating in cold weather as long as they are in motion and generating their own heat. They love attention and interaction with their humans and are also highly competitive. They respect and feel secure with routines. Thinking about what the Walker has been specifically bred to do will guide an understanding of their special needs.
The Walker is a very sturdy dog breed with no predominate health issues. Their large, hound ears require extra attention, as they are susceptible to infection and parasites. They may suffer from hip dysplasia, which is often attributed to their high level of activity. Other problems related to physical exertion should also be watched out for.
The fact that a Treeing Walker Coonhound can be trained as an expert hunting companion attests to their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners. However, they possess an innate willfulness that is as strong as their hunting drive, which may make training difficult for novice dog owners. Walkers need firm (but not heavy-handed) and consistent training in order to behave properly and respond faithfully to commands. Training and obedience classes can go a long way in making a first-time or less experienced dog owner be more confident.
As with all dog breeds, the Walker is loveable and endearing for its special qualities. Yet, this dog is really only suitable as a companion for the active individual or family. People looking for features in a family pet that include anything but activity that is on the intense side should not own a Treeing Walker Coonhound.
An important caveat for the Walker owner relates to this dog’s bark. Walkers have a series of barks, which announce various messages and these sounds can be piercing and, to some, highly irritating. Those sensitive to potentially excessive barking, or just the high volume of a hound dog’s booming bark, should avoid taking a Walker home.
Walkers are easy to groom. A quick, weekly brushing and an occasional bath are all that is required. They are average shedders and, because of their naturally cropped fur, they never require a haircut. Their ears are the only things that require special attention. Their long ears, which are often close to the ground, should be inspected and cleaned regularly to prevent infection. In addition to these grooming tasks, you will also want to trim your dog’s nails monthly or as needed and brush their teeth regularly. Good dental care for your dog is important to prevent dental disease.
The Walker is a runner, first and foremost. They are impressively fast and agile with a gutsy physical delivery when in “hunting mode”. Perhaps less like other hunting breeds and more like the herding breeds, the Walker needs to be active. In this regard, they are not adaptable to environments that fail to provide some level of intense, physical challenge. A good home for a Walker involves rigorous daily exercise and at least some periodic, physically exerting activity like a good hike or running game.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound can stand between just 20 and 27 inches at the shoulder, with only about a two-inch height difference between males and females. The weight of a Walker can vary pretty widely from 45 and 80 pounds, depending on height and muscle tone.
This dog breed generally lives about 12 to 13 years.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound has a unique ability to hunt at night since they were bred to hunt the nocturnal raccoon.