Treeing Walker Coonhound: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Alert Treeing Walker Coon Hounds

Kerri Wile / Getty Images

 

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a loyal, active and intelligent American working breed that was originally developed for their racoon hunting skills. They also make affectionate, sofa-loving companions too. 

Breed Overview

Group: Hound
Height: 22 to 27 inches (males); 20 to 25 inches (females)
Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
Coat: Smooth, short, fine coat

Coat Color: White, black and tan tri-coloring is preferred
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Characteristics of the Treeing Walker Coonhound

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  Medium
Exercise Needs  High
Playfulness  Medium
Energy Level  High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence  High
Tendency to Bark  High
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Treeing Walker Coonhound

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is native to the United States. They were specifically bred to help their hunter owners track down their quarry, typically racoons. Their excellent scenting abilities allow them to track the animal and, if they manage to scurry up a tree, the dog will use its loud baying bark to alert the hunter to its location.

Their ancestry can be traced back to the English Foxhound. The breed was brought over to Virginia in America, in the mid-1700s, by a gentleman named Thomas Walker. These dogs were developed into what was then known as the Virginia Hound and then eventually the Walker Hound appeared.

The Treeing Walker Coonhound was thought to have occurred as a result of a pairing between a black and tan dog, with exceptional working skills, called Tennessee Lead, with a Walker Hound in the 1800s. This led to the development of the breed as it is known today.

Originally included in the breed group name English Coonhound, the Treeing variety was recognized as a breed in its own right by the United Kennel Club in 1945. They were initially referred to as Walkers (Treeing) before it was changed to the name as it is now - Treeing Walker Coonhounds.

In 2012 they were recognized by the AKC, and they are, today, one of the most popular of the Coonhound varieties, often referred to as 'The People's Choice'.

Treeing Walker Coonhound Care

The Treeing Walker Coonhound (TWC) is, first and foremost a working breed. This means that they have lots of energy and drive. They need plenty of daily exercise to keep them stimulated and ensure that problem behaviors do not surface as a result of boredom.

Providing they get this exercise, though, they are known for being mellow dogs around the home that enjoy nothing better than curling up on the sofa with their owner or snuggling up beside the fire.

They are known for being loyal, laid-back, affectionate, playful, people-orientated dogs. This means that they often fit well in a household that has respectful children. Their personality also means that they usually enjoy being part of a multi-dog family.

Care is needed if you are introducing them into a house with cats or small furry pets. Their natural hunting instincts should not be under-estimated.

Because they have been developed to alert bark when they find their quarry, they can be a naturally vocal breed. You may need to put in some extra training to prevent this from getting out of control.

Their ability to chase their prey into trees means that they can also be experts at scaling. If they are to be let loose in a garden, it would be advisable to have a fence that is at least six feet high, and don't be surprised if some athletic and determined TWC's manage to scale this too.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are an intelligent and highly driven breed. They can be known for having an independent, stubborn streak too, and this means that you may need more patience when training them than, say, with a Golden Retriever.

They do respond well to positive reinforcement training methods though, and their drive means that they can excel in competitive sports, especially those that involve their scenting abilities.

Some people suggest that the breed is a bit like a bigger, darker version of a Beagle. Their short coat is certainly similar and they are are low maintenance when it comes to their grooming regime. They will just perhaps need a weekly brush to lift out dead hair, but they are not excessive shedders.

A young Treeing Walker Coonhound in water
Exciting Travels Go Now / Getty Images

 
Adult Young Treeing Walker Coonhound headshot
Lindsay Helms / Getty Images
treeing walker coonhound up close
 

Common Health Problems

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are known for generally being robust and healthy. Responsible breeders will perform health screens on prospective parents.

Some of the conditions they are known for being prone to include:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common health problem for many dog breeds. It involves the abnormal development of one or both hip joints. It can be a painful, degenerative condition that can require surgery in severe cases.

Ear Issues: Because they have long, droopy ears, and they are a breed that will enjoy snuffling around in the undergrowth, they can be more susceptible to ear problems. You should regularly check their ears for a build-up of dirt or grime and clean them out if necessary. This will help minimize the chance of nasty ear infections from developing.

Diet and Nutrition

As with any dog, you should feed your Treeing Walker Coonhound a high-quality and properly portion-controlled diet. The breed can be prone to having a sensitive digestive system, so it is always a good idea to stick with a simple diet and, if you are introducing new foods, always do this gradually to minimize the chance of them having a stomach upset.

Pros
  • Ideal for active families who enjoy long hikes

  • Calm in the house if given enough exercise

  • Low maintenance grooming regime

Cons
  • Can be vocal

  • Can have a high prey drive

  • A secure garden with a high fence is recommended

Where to Adopt or Buy a Treeing Walker Coonhound

Whatever puppy you are planning to bring home, you should do your research and find a good breeder.

You should be able to see the puppies together with their mother in a nurturing home environment. They shouldn't be allowed to come home with you until they are at least eight weeks old.

The breed is still relatively uncommon so you may have to travel further or go onto a waiting list if you would like to secure a puppy from a good breeder. A good place to start your research would be with the Treeing Walker Breeders & Fanciers Association.

Don't rule out adoption either. While you may not find so many TWCs in rescue, there are lots of other wonderful hounds looking for their forever homes in shelters across the country. There is even a Coonhound-specific rescue that you could reach out to.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you are interested in dogs similar to the Treeing Walker Coonhound you could also consider the following breeds:

There are lots of wonderful dog breeds out there. By doing your research, you will find one that will be best suited to having a forever home with you.