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Best known for its excellent wild raccoon hunting skills, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a fast and active breed. Named for its ability to chase its prey up into trees, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are also smart and social, making it a good candidate for a family pet—as long as it’s well-exercised.
Clues about the breed’s 18th-century origins can be found in its name.
‘Treeing’ comes from chasing its prey until it runs up a tree; ‘Walker’ comes from Thomas Walker of Virginia, instrumental in developing the breed. And ‘Coonhound’ refers to a dog bred to hunt raccoon, though they also chased larger game.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound (or the Treeing Walker, as it’s sometimes known) came from a combination of other Foxhound breeds, creating a breed known then as the English Coonhound.
Treeing Walkers broke away as a unique breed in 1945. It’s best known now for its hunting skills and its loud, ringing voice that alerted hunters to their prey.
This medium-sized breed has a muscular build with floppy ears set moderately low and reaching nearly the tip of their nose. They have large brown eyes with a soft, pleading expression, and a short, glossy coat.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is usually tri-colored in white, black, and tan. They may be mostly white with black markings and tan trim, or black can be the predominant color, along with tan trim and white markings.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a medium-sized dog with a body built for the hunt. Their smooth, glossy fur is short but built for protection and repels dirt and mud. They also have powerful hind legs and well-muscled thighs, ready to propel them on to their next catch.
The first thing on the mind of a Treeing Walker Coonhound is hunting, and they can take off at a moment’s notice to follow their prey. For this reason, they should be kept on a leash or in an enclosed area at all times.
Although the Treeing Walker can have a stubborn, independent streak — which can sometimes make training tricky — they tend to be courteous and friendly with people.
A hunter at heart, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a vocal dog with multiple different barks, including a bugle-like sound used to track, and a short, choppy bark to announce trapped prey. Their excellent hunting capabilities earned them the nickname “the people’s choice.”
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an active breed that does best with high-quality dog food that’s suited to their particular age, as well as any additional health concerns.
As with any dog, it’s important to monitor the amount of food and treats that you give your Treeing Walker Coonhound, especially since coonhounds that aren’t hunting every day may be prone to gaining weight as they age. Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound has a short, smooth coat that’s easy to care for and that repels mud and dirt. Occasional bathing—or even just wiping with a damp towel or glove—is plenty to keep them shiny. Weekly brushing will also help remove any loose hair.
All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and the Treeing Walker Coonhound is no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for their overall long-term health.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an energetic hunting breed that requires plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Treeing Walkers love to partake in a run or hike with their people, but remember that they have a high prey drive, so they should always be on a leash.
Like most hounds, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is smart, but they can also be stubborn and independent. Early training and socialization is important for all dogs, and the Treeing Walker responds well to positive reinforcement.
Reviewed 26 July 2020 by Laura Inman, DVM