Treeing Walker Coonhound

Treeing Walker Coonhound
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Treeing Walker Coonhound breed originated in Virginia, United States in the 19th century and it was designed for (as you can already imagine) treeing and hunting small game. They were developed from the English and American Foxhounds and share a strong physical resemblance to the English Foxhounds, although the Coonhounds prove to be lighter and more agile than their ancestors.

They are a highly energetic breed and need constant mental and physical exercise. They also love their families and share a strong bond with them but are wary and suspicious of strangers until they earn the Coonhound’s trust. The breed makes a great addition to the active family with whom they can go on adventures together and be the centre of attention and affection. They love children and get along with other dogs but still have a strong prey drive and might give chase to cats or other critters. That’s why the breed requires extensive socialization and supervision when interacting with other furry members of the family.

Walker Coonhounds are fun loving, adventure seeking, brave, intelligent and kind with their families.

Breed characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingHighest
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Hound dog 
Height:20-27 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:50-70 lb.
Life Span:12 to 14 years
Main Highlights
  • The breed was first developed in the United States from English and American Foxhounds.
  • They have the distinct howl, bay and odour of the hounds.
  • Although highly popular among hunters, they weren’t recognized by the AKC until 2012.
  • The Walker Coonhounds were bred to tree small game such as raccoons and possums.
  • They share a strong resemblance to the English Foxhound, but are more agile and light.
  • Their coat is fairly easy to maintain and only requires occasional brushing.
  • The breed is very good with children and other dogs.
  • They have high stamina and require daily exercise and mental stimulation.
  • The Walker Coonhounds thrive on human interaction but are suspicious towards strangers.
  • They need a home with a fenced yard as they have a tendency to wander off after an interesting scent or an unsuspecting squirrel.
  • The breed is easy going and eager to please for the most part, they would make a good first dog for the novice owner.
  • They are a vocal, high-energy breed and are not suitable for life in the city.
Breed History

The breed was developed in the United States in the 19th century from the English and American Foxhounds by John W Walker and George Washington Maupin. Although they share a strong resemblance to the English Foxhound and were even known by the same name until the present name was adopted, they are much swifter and lighter than the aforementioned breed. They were mainly used to hunt and tree small game such as raccoons and possums but were also known not to shy away from bigger game such as deer and bears.

The breed was very popular among hunters for their agility, speed, focus in the field and a keen nose. They got their name for treeing the game faster than any other Coonhound, and Walker for John Walker, one of the first breeders to develop the Treeing Walker Coonhound. Although popular among hunters, they weren’t officially recognized by the AKC until 2012, making them the 174th breed recognized by the AKC. Today, the Treeing Walker Coonhounds rank 122nd most popular breed according to the AKC.


The Treeing Walker Coonhound males measure 22-27 inch tall at the shoulder with the females being slightly smaller and measure 20-25 inch tall at the shoulder. The breed’s weight ranges from 50 to 70 lb on average.

Personality and Character

The first thing to know about the breed is that they are not couch potatoes. They enjoy ample physical activity and mental stimulation and without it, they become bored, destructive and vocal. They enjoy being the centre of their family’s world and will make a great addition to the active family or individual who can commit to involving them in activities such as biking, hiking, swimming, running, hunting and daily walks.

They are a friendly breed who grow much attached to their families but are suspicious towards strangers. The Walker Coonhounds are kind, friendly, affectionate and gentle with their humans and especially with the younger members of the family. They get along with other dogs and cats if properly socialized, although interactions with smaller critters should be supervised as they have a high prey drive.

They are intelligent, courageous and curious about the world around them. The Walker Coonhounds are not suitable for apartment dwelling as they require plenty of room to vent their excess energy and because they are a vocal breed, possessing the distinct hound howl and bay which neighbors are less likely to appreciate.

Health and Potential Problems

The breed is usually healthy and sturdy without any major health issues. Beware of backyard breeders as most of them don’t have the necessary knowledge or understanding of the breed, their inexperience may contribute to hereditary and behavioural issues future generations might be in the risk of developing. The majority or reputable breeders test their dogs prior to breeding for any hereditary or genetic health problems, they also test the litter after birth for any such health concerns.

Most reputable shelters or breeders make sure the puppy or dog has received a clean bill of health from the vet prior to the adoption or purchase. Never purchase a puppy from a puppy mill as these organizations are more concerned with financial gain than the physical and mental health of the animals in their care. Unfortunately, most of the animals in puppy mills are kept in terrible conditions.

With proper diet, sufficient exercise and regular vet visits, your loyal companion will remain by your side for many years to come.

Hip Dysplasia- A common hereditary condition among dogs, occurs when the femur doesn’t fit snugly into the hip socket. It may cause lameness, pain and arthritis in older age. The condition is usually managed with pain medication and can be surgically corrected in severe cases.

Care Features

As with any other breed and especially hunting breeds, socialization is key to a well-rounded and emotionally balanced adult dog. The Walker Coonhounds are suspicious towards strangers therefore the introduction to new people, children, dogs, cats, different environments and scenarios should begin as soon as possible. Enrolling the puppy in puppy kindergarten is also highly recommended as the introduction to the big new world can be done under professional guidance. It is also a great opportunity to deepen the bond between the puppy and the handler.

The Walker Coonhounds are a sensitive breed and they get easily attached to their owner, which makes it more likely for them to develop separation anxiety. Crate training has been found very efficient in that regard. Kennelling the puppy for a few hours at a time while the owner is around have been known to alleviate the anxiety levels and consistently prove that the human will be back for them every single time.

Crate training is also efficient with house training as the puppy perceives the crate as their den and is less likely to soil it, providing they get consistent bathroom breaks at the same spot and at the same time, followed by plenty of praise and tasty rewards. The crate also provides them with a special spot they can retreat to when needing space or tired. Crate training should never be used as a punishment but as a training tool.

The Walker Coonhounds are a high energy breed and require plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation in the form of biking, daily walks, hunting, hiking and jogging. Any activity that gets their paws moving and brain thinking is welcome. A romp in the yard is also beneficial in venting their excess energy. Enrolling them in doggy sports such as agility and obedience, tracking and field trial will sure to help them reach their full potential and grow the bond between the handler and the dog. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing the Walker Coonhound in their element, doing what they know best.

A fenced yard is another must when sharing a life with this energetic breed, they have been known to wander off after an interesting scent or in pursuit of a squirrel, potentially putting themselves and others in danger. When not in a fenced area, they must be leashed at all times and provided with identification means such as a microchip or a collar with a tag with the owner’s contact information. They will do best living in the country or on an acreage where there is plenty of room for them to safely roam and play.

They will find apartment living constricting and the neighbours will find them too loud for comfort, not to mention the neighbourhood cats will be better off for it. Without a daily vent for their energy, they can become loud, destructive, hyperactive and hard to handle.

They are the most sensible of the hounds and are fairly easy to train as they are eager to please. Their attention span is short so keeping training brief and interesting is key for getting the most out of the training sessions. They don’t respond well to harsh treatment, tasty treats and positive reinforcement is a sure bet in getting them to learn anything.

They are highly intelligent and can learn to do absolutely anything, but they need a handler that understands and loves the breed, with a natural air of authority. Someone who is calm, consistent, firm and can set rules and boundaries from puppyhood. They are easy going for the most part and love to learn.

Feeding Schedule

The Treeing Walker Coonhounds are a high energy breed so naturally they would require more food than a couch potato dog. Every dog’s nutritional needs are different and depend on their age, size and activity level. Puppies for example, require more food than an adult dog to accommodate their rapid growth and development.

Choosing a high quality, free of unnecessary additives such as corn or grain and rich in meat protein food will go a long way in providing your companion with healthy skin, coat, physical and mental vitality and longevity. It is highly recommended to divide their daily consumption into 2 or 3 meals rather than leaving it available to them all the time, it helps the dog maintain a healthy weight and not eat out of boredom alone.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The coat is smooth and dense, common colours are white, tan and black, usually in a blanket back or saddleback pattern. The coat is easy to maintain and usually only require basic maintenance and once a week brushing.

They are average shedders and have the distinct hound BO.

Due to the shape of the ears, their ears need regular care and attention to make sure no moisture or debris is trapped in the ear canal, a common issue that might cause reoccurring ear infections.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The breed loves children and gets along with them. They make a good protective, gentle and affectionate babysitter. The Coonhounds have enough energy to keep up with the younger family members and they never refuse play time in the yard or the opportunity to get into mischief. As patient as the Coonhounds are with children, the foundation of mutual love and respect should be laid even before the arrival of the four-legged companion home.

Each year, an alarming number of dogs are being surrendered to shelters, abandoned, or put down simply due to the adult’s failure to educate the younger members of the family on the proper dog handling etiquette. Children should be taught respectful boundaries and be taught to give the dogs their space. Any tail or ear pulling and teasing should be discouraged immediately, and play time between dogs and children should be supervised at all times.

The Walker Coonhounds enjoy the company of other dogs, they can learn to live with cats as well as long as they are well socialized or were raised together. Due to their high prey drive, interactions between the Coonhounds and smaller critters such as rabbits or hamsters should be supervised until and if the Coonhounds accept them as part of the pack. Although, every breed shares similar traits, each dog should be treated as an individual. Their behaviour and character strongly depend on their breeding, socialization, handler, environment and training.

The Treeing Walker Coonhound will make a delightful addition to the family that can keep up with them. They require plenty of activity and then some and enjoy nothing more than going on adventures with their families and then relaxing after a long day full of activity. Biking, hiking, running and hunting are just some of their favourite things to do.

Enrolling them in obedience and agility, tracking and field trials is also recommended. They are friendly and loving with their families and get along with other dogs and cats as long as they have been properly socialized. They have much love and companionship to give.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.