Treeing Walker Coonhound
The Treeing Walker Coonhound, also known as the English Coonhound, descends from the English Foxhound but is slightly lighter and swifter. Today's Treeing Walker Coonhound is still used for its original purpose, which is to hunt and tree raccoons and opossums, especially at night. This breed was not recognized as a distinct breed until 1945, when the United Kennel Club accepted it into its registry. The Treeing Walker Coonhound was accepted into the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service registry in 1995, and was given the Hound Group designation.
Adult males of this breed typically stand 22 to 27 inches at the withers; females average 20 to 25 inches in height. They typically weigh 50 to 70 pounds in good condition. Their short coat is easy to care for. Tricolor is preferred, in black, white and tan.
The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an American breed that descends from the English Foxhounds brought to Virginia by Thomas Walker in 1742. The precise crosses that contributed to the modern breed are not well documented. However, today's Walker Coonhound, while it resembles the English Foxhound in appearance, differs in hunting technique in that it is much more persistent in keeping quarry treed and barking noisily to attract its master.
These are confident, stable, sensible dogs. They can run at great speeds and as a result have competed quite successfully in field trials, including night runs. They have a "hot nose", a bugling voice and superb endurance. Treeing Walker Coonhounds make gentle family pets, as long as they get regular exercise and a chance to hunt. The breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service in 1995.
The average life span of the Treeing Walker Coonhound is 11 to 13 years. Breed health concerns may include polyradiculoneuritis.
Treeing Walker Coonhounds make exceptional family dogs for those with active lifestyles. This breed is valued by hunters for their focus and efficiency in the field and at home they have energy to spare and want to be included in all family activities. Treeing Walker Coonhounds enjoy children tremendously and will never turn down a romp in the yard. They get along well with other dogs, though the family cat could be in peril, as Coonhounds have strong chasing instincts. At the end of a day of hunting or playing, the Walker Coonhound will want to curl up on the couch for some affection and relaxation. They are easy to train, and make a fine family companion for both first time and experienced dog owners.
Treeing Walker Coonhounds are built for endurance as they are hunting dogs who are expected to spend long days in the field. Because of these high energy reserves, Walker Coonhounds require one to two hours of vigorous exercise every day. They enjoy walking, hiking, jogging and biking. In the yard they never tire of fetching balls or sticks and get a kick out of simple games of chase with children. They are not suited for apartment or city life, and are happiest when they live in a home with plenty of room to run.
Walker Coonhounds enjoy organized activities and competitions, and there are several organizations devoted entirely to competitive Coonhound field trials. If possible, enroll your Walker in one of these organizations where he can constructively channel his energy.
Treeing Walker Coonhounds are very easy to train. They possess a strong desire to please and all that is needed to motivate them are praise and treats. They catch on fairly quickly and can move on to advanced obedience or agility training. Never treat your Walker Coonhound with a heavy hand, as he will simply disregard you from then on and avoid whatever activity it was that caused your harsh reaction. These dogs are generally well behaved, however, and rarely test a trainer's patience.
Socialization should begin early with Coonhounds. While they are affectionate and outgoing with their family, outsiders are treated with caution. If they do not learn to be around new people, this can develop into fearfulness and cause the dog unnecessary stress and anxiety.
This breed has a strong desire to chase and kill. Small animals who wander into a Walker Coonhound's yard are in great peril. When Coonhounds catch a scent, they will follow it tenaciously, with no regard for what is going on around them and can easily wander into traffic. For the safety of your dog and the safety of neighborhood cats, you should keep your Coonhound in a fenced yard or on a leash.
Walker Coonhounds were bred to have a strong bond with the hunters they assisted in the field. This means they attach themselves deeply to their families and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Proper exercise can stave off the chewing, barking and howling that comes with anxiety, but they are best suited for farms or families with a stay at home parent.
Characteristics – Called 'the people's choice' among all coonhound breeds, the energetic Treeing Walker is perfectly suited for the task for which it was bred – tracking and treeing wild raccoons in their natural haunts. The Breed's competitive spirit makes it an ideal choice for competitive coonhound events where the breed excels. The Treeing Walker coonhound is alert, intelligent, active, courteous, and courageous with extreme endurance and the desire to perform.
Size, Weight, Proportion, Substance
Height – Slightly more at shoulders than at hips. Shoulders should measure: Males, 22 to 27 inches, Female, 20 to 25 inches. Balance is key with all of the parts coming together in proper balance to form the whole. Weight – Should be in proportion to dog's height. Working dogs are not to be penalized when shown, if slightly under weight.
Skull – Should be medium length with the occipital bone prominent; cranium is to be broad and full. Fault – very flat narrow skull; having excess of bone; not in proportion to the body. Ears – Should be set moderately low and of medium length, reaching or nearly reaching to the tip of the nose; oval or round at the tip, hanging gracefully towards the muzzle. Fault – short ears set high on the head. Eyes – large, set well apart with soft hound-like expression, pleading and gentle; dark in color, brown or black. Fault – yellow or light eyes, protruding or small. Muzzle – Medium length and rather square; medium stop, neither Roman-nosed nor dish faced. Nostrils – large and black. Fault – any other color than black.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck and Throat – clean with no excess of skin, neck of medium length, rising from the shoulders cleanly; strong but not loaded, smooth. Fault – short, thick neck carried in line with the shoulders; throatiness. Shoulder – blade sloping forward and downward at a 45 degree angle to the ground; presenting a laid back appearance, neither loaded nor heavy, providing freedom of movement and strength. Length of shoulder blade and upper arm to be equal. Chest and Ribs – Depth of chest is more important than width; descending to the approximate point of elbow. Ribs well sprung, never flat or slab-sided. Back and Loins – Strong, muscular back of moderate length; top line nearly level or sloping slightly from shoulder to rear. Faults – higher in the rear (hips) than at the withers, roached or sway-back. Tail – set moderately high, coming right off the top-line, carried well up and saber-like. Curved gracefully up, tapered and moderately long without flag or excessive brush. Fault – having an excess of curve in tail; rat tail; excessive brush.
Forelegs – Straight and parallel to each other, from elbow to pastern. Pastern, from the joint to the top of the foot is strong and distinct, slightly slanting but standing almost perpendicular to the ground. Faults – out at the elbow, crooked forelegs, weak pasterns, knuckling over. Feet – thick pads, well arched toes giving a 'cat foot' appearance, tight. No rear dewclaws. Front dewclaws may be removed. Fault – flat, splayed feet.
Hind Legs – Muscular and powerful with great propelling leverage. Well muscled thighs of considerable length. Stifles well bent. Clean hocks. Legs viewed from the rear are parallel. Defined angulation denotes endurance and power.
Smooth hair that is glossy and short, yet dense enough for protection while being a close and hard hound coat. Fault – too short or thin or too soft.
Tri-colored is preferred, white, black and tan. White may be the predominant color with black marking and tan trim; or black may be the predominant color with white marking and tan trim, such as a saddle back or blanket back. White with tan spots or white with black spots may be accepted. Fault – any other color combination will be penalized when shown.
Gait is smooth and effortless, free and balanced, showing good reach in the front with powerful drive in the rear quarters, producing efficient movement, covering ground effortlessly.
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Sources: American Kennel Club