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Treeing Walker Coonhound
 
Published Jan 25, 2009
 
illusration of a Treeing Walker Coonhound

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a breed of dog descended from the English Foxhound, first recognized as a separate breed in 1945. The breed began when a stolen dog of unknown origin, known as "Tennessee Lead", was crossed into the Walker Hound in the 1800s. Thomas Walker had imported the English Foxhound to Virginia in 1742.

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are extremely fast, agile, and tireless in the pursuit of game. They are extremely vocal with a distinctive bay that allows their owners to easily identify their dogs from great distances.

While very affectionate, they are best suited to a life of action outdoors, and will suffer from being cooped up. This breed is absolutely not recommended for apartment living.

Appearance

Walker hounds stand between 20 and 28 inches at the withers, weighing between 50 and 70 pounds and their markings are bicolor or tricolor with smooth short haired coats. They are extremely powerful, especially throughout the shoulder region, and have large ears compared to head size. Their legs are straight and lean, not well muscled. Some people have mistaken them as being very large beagles.

Temperament

Treeing Walker Coonhounds are great with children and get along well with other dogs. They love to nest and cuddle. Getting a walker hound out of your bed,off your couch or away from your fireplace will be a feat in itself. They love to sleep after a long day and are the perfect dogs for watching television. Generally easy to train with little trouble, they make excellent pets if well exercised.

Training must be consistent as Walker hounds are extremely intelligent and will take full advantage of loopholes in the training regimen. These hounds have been known to use objects as levers/tools and often manipulate their environment to accomplish a task (e.g., moving furniture to climb over gates, using household objects to manipulate kennel mechanisms, etc.). They love to carry plastic soda bottles.

Because they are eager to please, loving, intelligent and confident, they make a splendid companion dog for an owner willing to give them proper exercise. Because this breed requires intense exercise to match its energy levels, this breed can not settle for mere walks in the neighborhood,

Most Walker hounds are capable of scaling fences in excess of 6 feet so a proper yard system whether fence or electric fence is a must. They bury bones and dig if they are on scent. In general, they are oblivious to commands when trailing a scent, much like a beagle or basset hound so it is imperative for a walker hound to have serious training and a safe running area free of cars or other potential dangers. They have strong tracking instincts, which is why they are popular as hunting dogs. They can be quite adept at catching small varmints such as squirrels, roof rats, opossums, and skunks. They are also known for their ability to tree raccoons, bobcats, cougars and bears when hunting in packs of two or more.

Coon Hunting

Walker dogs are best known for being a coon hound. They chase a raccoon until it is forced up a tree to hide from the dog. The treeing part of the walker coon hound is that it also stops at the tree and barks so the dog handler can find the tree that the game is hiding in. Once the game can be found in the tree the dog is rewarded. This is all done after dark, since coon are naturally nocturnal. A typical hunt starts with getting your dog from the kennel. Since it has been in the pen all day it is ready to run. Hunting is a hunting dogs exercise. The dog is taken to the truck and a telemetry tracking collar is put onto the dog. This transmitter sends out a signal that can be picked up by a receiver (tracking system) so that the dog handler knows where the dog is should it be gone an unusually long amount of time. GPS tracking systems are just coming onto the market. Once the dog has on the collar and is checked over for being healthy it is put into the truck. The handler then goes to the area where they plan to run the dog. This is typically next to or within a woods or forest. When the dog is let out of the box it runs off happy to be free to run and excited to find a raccoon to chase. When it smells a track a coon dog typically begins to bawl a long carried out groaning bark. The colder/older the track the less frequent and more of a crying carrying out bawl. As the track gets warmer the excitement causes the dog to speed up the bawl. The dog then follows this track and it eventually ends up at a tree. The dog then literally follows the track up the tree, stands on its hind legs, rolls over a big whiney bawl as a "locate", and begins a chop bark. Your typical woof woof woof bark if you will. All this time the handler is standing where they turned the dog loose listening to all of these different barks understanding what the dog is doing and where the dog is going. Once the dog is "treed" with a solid chop the handler walks into the dog, looks for the game, and rewards the dog as necessary. This is repeated throughout the night. Once the dog is too far away to hear, the tracking system mentioned above is consulted. If the wind is blowing the dog doesn't have to be very far before you can't hear it any longer. Some dogs track and don't tree. Some dogs tree and don't track. So some handlers have one of each and hunt both at the same time. Other dogs do both and can be hunted by themselves. These types of dogs are hunted with other independent dogs and then handlers compete in competition against one another. First dog to open bawl on track, First dog to tree, most raccoons found, and etc.

(The above information is based on information from varioussources to include Wikipedia.org, UKC and others)

 
  
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