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Treeing Walker Coonhound
|The Treeing Walker Coonhound at A Glance|
|Name||Treeing Walker Coonhound|
|Other names||English Coonhound (before the breeds were separated), Walker Hound|
|Average weight||50 to 70 pounds|
|Average height||20 to 27 inches|
|Life span||12 to 13 years|
|Coat type||Glossy, dense, hard, smooth, short|
|Color||Tricolor, white, black, tan|
|Popularity||Not that popular – ranked 137th by the AKC|
|Intelligence||Above average – understands things fairly quickly|
|Tolerance to heat||Good – can handle warm to hot but nothing more|
|Tolerance to cold||Good – can live in cold weather but nothing too cold|
|Shedding||Average – will be some hair around the home|
|Drooling||Low – not prone to slobber or drool|
|Obesity||Average – measure food and make sure it is well exercised|
|Grooming/brushing||Low to moderate – brush regularly|
|Barking||Rare – not prone to a lot of barking unless out on the hunt|
|Exercise needs||Very active – needs active owners|
|Trainability||Easy for experienced owners|
|Friendliness||Very good – quite social|
|Good first dog||Moderate – best with experienced owners|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Good but need socialization and supervision|
|Good with other pets||Moderate to good – socialization needed have a high prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Good but wary with socialization|
|Good apartment dog||Low – need larger home and at least a yard if not land|
|Handles alone time well||Moderate – does not like being left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Quite healthy a few issues might include polyradiculoneuritis, ear infections and hip dysplasia|
|Medical expenses||$485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$245 a year for license, toys, miscellaneous items and basic training|
|Average annual expenses||$1000 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$500|
|Rescue organizations||Several including Gentle Jake’s Coonhound Rescue and Treeing Walker Coonhound Rescue Shelter|
|Biting Statistics||None specific for this one but under coonhounds is Attacks: 3 Child victims: 1 Deaths: 1 Maimings: 1|
The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s Beginnings
The Treeing Walker Coonhound comes from crossing the American Foxhound and the English Foxhound and happened in the U.S in the 1800s. There are two Kentucky breeders credited with its beginnings, George Maupin and John Walker. Walker had imported English Foxhounds to Virginia in 1742. Then in the 1800s a black and tan dog called Tennessee Lead of unknown origins, was used and crossed with to create what were then called Walker Hounds. Walker favored the dog because it was fast, driven, great at finding prey and was powerful.
The Treeing Walker was bred and developed to be fast too, to have endurance and to be especially good at finding its prey such as possum, squirrel and raccoon and chasing it up a tree. Then it would alert the hunter what tree it had its prey trapped in. Some can even almost climb trees to keep their prey where it needs to stay. It had to be very persistent, confident, sensible but was also made to be a good companion when the hunting was over, being gentle and loyal.
New Lease on Life
In 1905 the United Kennel Club recognized the breed as the English Coonhound but its name was eventually changed to the Treeing Walker Coonhound, (the Walker part being a nod to one of its creators). In 1945 it was recognized by the UKC as a separate breed. In 1995 it was allowed in to the AKC’s foundation stock registry. It was given full recognition by them in 2012. It is ranked 137th in popularity by the AKC today.
The Dog You See Today
The Treeing Walker Coonhound or TWC is a large dog weighing 50 to 70 pounds and standing 20 to 27 inches tall. There legs are straight and the forelegs are lean and long with powerful flexible shoulders. It is an athletic and sleek looking dog and to some resembles a large Beagle. Its feet are cat like and small. It has a short coat that is smooth, glossy, fine. Common colors are bicolor, tricolor, tan, white, black but should not be called red so that it is not confused with the Redbone Coonhound. There can be markings to make a saddleback pattern. It has a small head and a thin and long muzzle with upper lips that hang lower than the lower jaw. Its ears are big compared to the size of its head and flop down over the side of its face. Its are large and dark, brown and bright.
The Inner Treeing Walker Coonhound
The TWC is not the best breed for new owners, experience is really needed. It is absolutely a dog that needs to out hunting regularly, and if not used in that capacity it will need active homes and lots of stimulation. It needs lots of attention and it needs it consistently. Without enough attention and action it can be high strung. That said in the right home it is loving, smart and affectionate. It is a vocal dog when hunting and can be too in the home and the yard so training will be needed. Avoid leaving it alone for long periods as it can become anxious from the separation and do not leave it in the yard, this is a dog meant to be a part of the family. It does best too where there is someone usually home, stay at home parent, someone who works from home etc.
The Walker forms very strong bonds with its owner and this can make re-homing difficult so make sure this is the dog for you. It is very sensitive so should not be in a home where there is a lot of tension or raised voices, and it will not respond well to being treated harshly. It is a hard worker and has a lot of focus and determination. It is eager to please but used to having some independence when out hunting and it should be a confident dog. In coonhound field trials it will do especially well because it can locate prey quickly, reach them quickly and is very good at treeing. It is also a good family dog and should be included in all family activity. As long as it has a good full day of exercise, play or hunting it will be happy to relax with you on the couch and get lots of petting. It is a brave dog and intense dog outside, but then indoors it is mellow and kind too.
Living with a Treeing Walker Coonhound
What will training look like?
TWC are moderately easy to train for people with experience as when trained in the right manner this breed is inclined to listen, eager to please and may in fact need less repetition than some other dogs. They are very motivated by praise and with treats, so encourage them and reward them, avoid punishing or scolding. Be consistent and firm but positive too. Make sure it known you are the boss and that you do not bend the rules for any reason. As well as starting training early you should also make sure you start socialization as well. They are cautious around strangers and you do not want that turning to being suspicious and then aggressive. Socialization also helps prevent them being overly shy or anxious. Expose them from a young age to different places, people, animals, situations and sounds and it will grown into a more confident and trustworthy adult.
How active is the Treeing Walker Coonhound?
Walkers are very active dogs and it is a vital part of owning one that it is well exercised, has plenty of mental stimulation, is kept busy during the day with jobs if it is not being used to hunt with. If you are using it to hunt with, that along with some play and runs will be enough. It takes some commitment and a level of fitness from the owners to keep this dog happy and healthy. It is not suited to living in an apartment and will become anxious and high strung if it is not doing things. Due to its high prey drive it likes to run after smaller animals it sees as something to hunt or after scents it catches. It needs to be leashed when walking, yard or land should be well fenced and when off leash it should be somewhere safe. TWCs do not have road sense so will run into them on a hunt. It has a lot of endurance and stamina and needs a good two hours a day of vigorous exercise. It can be taken with you when you go hiking, brisk walking, jogging, cycling and such. It loves to retrieve and fetch and will spend hours playing with the kids if you have them. A good way to channel its energy is to enter it in field trials or other organized activities.
Caring for the Treeing Walker Coonhound
Treeing Walker Coonhound do not need a lot of maintenance or grooming to keep them in good shape. It does shed an average amount though and it sheds all year around so there will be some hair around the home and it should be brushed once or twice a week at least. It does not need regular professional stripping or trimming and brushing its short sleek coat is easy. Only give it a bath when it really needs one, so if it has rolled in the mud. How often that ends up being varies from one dog to another! It is best not to bathe too frequently though as it can dry out the natural oils in its skin.
As well as caring for its coat there are some other basic needs to take care of on a regular basis. Its ears should be checked once a week for infection signs that include sensitivity, redness, irritation or wax build up. If they are fine you can then give them a clean using a dog ear cleanser and cotton balls, or a damp cloth to wipe the areas that are easy to reach. Do not insert anything into the ear, it can not only cause great pain it can actually cause damage. The Walker’s ears are especially prone to infection because of their heaviness that means they do not get enough air. Its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week using a dog toothpaste and brush to keep its teeth and gums healthy. Its nails should be clipped if they get too long. Some dogs wear their nails down naturally with a high level of activity, but sometimes nails need trimming and to do that you need proper dog nail clippers. You also need to be careful if you are doing it yourself, do not cut too far down as it will cause bleeding and pain to your dog.
Feeding the Treeing Walker Coonhound will probably take somewhere between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day. It should be split and fed to it in at least two meals though and of course it needs access to fresh water all day. How much exactly can vary from one TWC to another depending their age, health, build, level of activity and metabolism.
How is the Treeing Walker Coonhound with children and other animals?
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is good with children when socialized well. They are playful and affectionate towards them, and what better way for the both of them to burn off some of that energy than to put them together in a yard or a safe large piece of land and let them get up to all sorts together! Because of their even temperament and gentle nature they have a lot of patience with children too. Always teach children what is acceptable and what is not when touching and playing with dogs though. The Walker is also good with other dogs and is not easily led into aggression by other dogs. However with small strange animals who may wander through the yard it is not as forgiving. It has strong instincts to chase and kill. Some can be socialized well and trained well to live with cats and other small pets but will see view strange ones as game.
What Might Go Wrong?
The life expectancy of a TWC is about 12 to 13 years. It is quite a healthy breed but a few issues can include hip dysplasia, polyradiculoneuritis, ear infections and wounds and injuries from hunting.
When looking at reports of dogs attacking people and causing bodily harm in the Canada and the US over 35 years, there is no specific mention of the Treeing Walker Coonhound. There is however reference to just Coonhound which is said to have been involved in 3 such incidents. 1 was a maiming which means the injuries caused permanent loss of limb, disfigurement or scarring. 1 of the three was a child. Also one of the three attacks resulted in the victim dieing. As mentioned this is a very steady dog, not easily led by other dogs into becoming aggressive and not prone to being aggressive against people. Any dog can have an off day, there is always a small chance something might happen. But this is not a breed to fear. Socialization, training, attention, a lot of exercise and mental stimulation can help minimize the risk.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
The Treeing Walker Coonhound puppy costs about $500. That would get you something from a good breeder with experience and a decent reputation. For something of show quality from a top show dog breeder that would likely cost at least double that if not more. If you do not necessarily need a purebred and are just looking for a companion rescues and shelters are a great option. You get a dog with a lot of love to give and you give it a new forever home. Adoptions can range from $50 to $400 and usually medical needs are taken care of. There are backyard breeders, pet stores and puppy mill type breeders out there but the health of their dogs is questionable, most are at least ignorant, many are even cruel. Not the kinds of places any animal lover would want to give money to.
When you have found the dog or puppy you want you will need to provide it with a few essential in the home like a crate, bowls, collar and leash and such. These will cost about $180. It should be taken to a vet too as soon as you get it home for a proper examination, shots, deworming, neutering or spaying, blood tests and micro chipping. This will cost about $290.
Ongoing costs when you have a pet involve things like food, health care, training and entertainment. For $485 a year this will get your dog basic health care like shots, tick and flea prevention and check ups. It will also cover pet insurance. Feeding it with a good quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost another $270 or so. Then $245 should be enough to have basic training taken care of, buy some miscellaneous items, toys and have it licensed. This gives a yearly starting figure of $1000.
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The Treeing Walker Coonhound is primarily built to be a working dog and it loves it. It is a hard worker, focused, with a lot of endurance and energy. With the right owner it is easy going and good natured but it does need a lot of activity. If you are not already an active person yourself this is not the breed for you. With enough energy burned off it is calm, loves to snore and relax on the couch at the end of a busy day and gets along with everyone. It does need socialization and it can be very vocal though.
Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Treeing Walker Coonhound’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Treeing Walker Coonhound
- Living with a Treeing Walker Coonhound
- Caring for the Treeing Walker Coonhound
- How is the Treeing Walker Coonhound with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag