Treeing Walker coonhounds are members of the hound group in the American Kennel Club (AKC). They’re a favorite type of hound in the U.S. and are appropriately nicknamed “the people’s choice”.
They’re sensible, energetic dogs that are great at hunting raccoons — an activity they were bred for. Many families enjoy their company all over the world.
Characteristics of Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Treeing Walker coonhound size. Males are an average height of 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder. Females can range from 20 to 25 inches.
The healthy weight range for your dog depends on its overall size and shape. In general, healthy coonhounds can weigh anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds. Talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned that your dog is overweight.
These medium-sized dogs need a moderate amount of space, but they’re not too difficult to travel with and can easily fit into your car for a ride.
Body shape. Treeing Walker coonhounds are built for extreme endurance. They have a good balance of muscle and bone. Their chests reach down to about their elbows and have well-sprung ribs.
These dogs have straight forelegs and powerful hind legs. Their legs end in feet with well-arched toes and thick pads. The feet have a cat-like appearance.
These dogs have medium-lengthed skulls with broad, full craniums. Their muzzles are also medium in length. They’re square in shape with large, black nostrils.
Treeing Walker coonhounds have ears that are set moderately low on their skulls. They’re oval or rounded at the tip and should reach to just about the nose when you extend them.
They carry their tails high up in a saber-like way.
Lifespan. The typical treeing Walker coonhound lifespan is normal for their size. These dogs live an average of 12 to 13 years. This means that you should prepare for over a decade with your pet, particularly if you adopt them when they’re still a puppy.
Coat. Treeing Walker coonhounds have smooth, short coats. They can have a glossy, shiny appearance when they’re properly maintained. The coat is close and hard. It should be dense enough to provide protection when they’re out hunting in rough and brambly terrain.
The coat comes in one of three colors:
These dogs can come with a larger variety of markings than colors. There are six standard types of markings that your hound could have. These include:
- Blanket backs
- Black spots
- Black spots with a tan trim
- Tan spots
- White markings with a tan trim
Eyes. Treeing Walker coonhounds have large eyes that are set rather far apart. Their eyes convey the typical, sympathetic hound expression. They tend to be dark in color — either brown or black. They might even be yellow, but this isn’t approved of for the breed standard. Of course, most families will think their dog is lovely no matter what color eyes they have.
Personality. The treeing Walker coonhound personality is that of a brave but courteous hunter. They’re intelligent, sensible dogs that are good at both following orders and taking command of the situation when they need to.
They have very competitive spirits that help increase their extreme endurance in the field.
They’re also highly affectionate and playful dogs. The AKC rates them a five out of five for their affection for their families and a four out of five for their playfulness.
Caring for Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Grooming. The treeing Walker coonhound is one of the easiest breeds to groom since they enjoy getting to spend quality time with their owners.
Their smooth coats repel dirt and mud. You’ll only need to bathe them every so often to keep them looking their best. Give them a bath whenever they’ve gotten into something that’s too dirty or smelly for your taste.
You can also occasionally wipe your dog down with a damp towel or a hound glove to keep their coat shiny.
Trim their nails regularly to keep them from painfully interfering with your dog’s gait. Check their ears regularly for wax build-up, debris, or signs of infection. Brush their teeth on a daily basis to prevent dental disease and complete their grooming routine.
Feeding. Make sure that your pet has access to clean water at all times.
Your treeing Walker coonhound should be fed with high-quality dog food. Try to find a brand that your pet enjoys. Make sure that the nutritional requirements are specific to their stage of life, including puppy and senior-specific foods.
Always consult your veterinarian before choosing to make an at-home blend for your dog. Making your own food is a complicated process. You need to make sure that you’re meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs.
It’s particularly important to monitor how much food your dog is eating when they’re a member of this breed. Hounds that aren’t consistently working have a tendency to become obese.
Also, make sure that you know what human foods are safe for your dog to eat before feeding them anything from your kitchen.
Exercise and mental stimulation. The treeing Walker coonhound needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation. The AKC rates them a five out of five for both needs.
Despite the word “Walker” in the name, the dogs love going on long runs. They’re fantastic running and hiking companions for people that like getting out and about with their pet.
They also enjoy walks, playing fetch, and running around in the backyard with their human companions. Just make sure to engage them on a daily basis to keep them at their healthiest and happiest.
Veterinary visits, medications, and immunizations. You need to talk to your veterinarian to know all of the vaccinations that your pet needs. In general, there’s a core set of vaccinations that all dogs should get.
Core vaccinations include:
- Canine parvovirus
- Parainfluenza virus
These can begin as early as six weeks of age. You should make sure to discuss non-core vaccinations with your veterinarian too.
Dosages for flea and tick medications are based on your dog's weight and used as needed. Oral and skin-based applications are available from your veterinarian or other distributors. Many of these medications can be effective against a variety of pests and parasites, so talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best one for you.
Heartworm medication is recommended year-round in all parts of the U.S.
Health Problems to Watch for With Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Treeing Walker coonhounds are an incredibly healthy breed of dog. Very few health conditions regularly show up within the breed. This doesn’t mean that your pet won’t develop any health problems throughout their life; it’s just less likely than in other breeds.
Some treeing Walker coonhound health issues include:
- Hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball and socket of your dog's hip joint don’t develop properly. The bones grind against each other, eventually wearing down and making it difficult for your dog to move. Your veterinarian can evaluate your dog’s joints using x-rays and see how likely they are to cause problems throughout your dog's life.
- Some eye problems. Although breeders are vigilant about screening for eye problems out of the population, there are some problems that are common to many different dog breeds. One of these is cataracts, which form as your dog ages. These slowly turn the lenses of your dog’s eyes opaque and make it harder and harder for your pet to see. They can be treated with surgery, but most dogs are able to adjust to their vision loss with relative ease.
Special Considerations for Treeing Walker Coonhounds
There are a few things that you should keep in mind before choosing to adopt a treeing Walker coonhound. These dogs can be tricky to train for people who are unfamiliar with the breed.
They’re very eager to please, but they also have a stubborn, independent streak. You should use lots of positive reinforcement, treats, and fun to make the training experience enjoyable and effective for your pet.
The dogs are great with young children and other dogs. The AKC rates them a five out of five for both traits. They can be standoffish with strangers, though. The AKC rates them a three out of five for this trait. You can help them adjust to people with early socialization.
In terms of physical characteristics, treeing Walker coonhounds both shed and drool a moderate amount. The AKC rates them a three out of five for both traits. They do have a tendency to bark excessively with little provocation. The AKC rates them a four out of five for their tendency to bark at any little thing.
History of Treeing Walker Coonhounds
Treeing Walker coonhounds were developed in the mid-1700s in part of the U.S. near Virginia. They come from Walker foxhounds, which are a variety of Virginia hound. Virginia hounds, in turn, come from the earliest English fox hounds that were brought to the U.S.
The word “treeing” refers to their ability to chase prey up trees and keep it cornered until their human hunting companion arrives. The hound can locate its prey very quickly and sings out with a clear, ringing, bugle-like bark. It shifts to a steady chop at certain times in the hunting process. These barks help their humans track them down over vast distances.
The word “Walker” refers to Thomas Walker, a man from Virginia who played a big part in the breed’s early development.
The word “coonhound” refers to the fact that the dogs were specifically bred to hunt raccoons. They can also hunt similarly sized prey, like possums. Some hunters even use them for large prey, like bears.
The dogs were first recognized as a distinct breed in 1945. They were first recorded in the AKC’s stock services in 1995.