Treeing Walker Coonhound

Hound-type dogs historically accompanied immigrants to the United States from Europe. Many of these dogs were imports from England, Ireland, and Germany. Hunting was a way of life throughout the south, and these dogs were essential in putting food on tables, putting clothes on backs, and bringing in money for furs, as well as ridding farms, homesteads, and properties of animals that would threaten a family’s livelihood They hunted an array of quarry, including squirrels, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, deer, and bears.

The development of the breed took a different direction thanks in part to a dog-thieving horse drover by the name of Tom Harris. Harris stole a hard-hunting hound off of a deer track just outside of Albany, Kentucky, and then sold the dog to George Washington Maupin of Madison County, Kentucky. It was there that two gentlemen, George Washington Maupin and John W. Walker, are credited with the start of the “walker dog” breeds, as well as several other strains and breeds of hound, including the Trigg Hound and Goodman Hounds.

Both Maupin and Walker were avid sportsmen, and both had regularly used English imported foxhounds for hunting and developing their breeding program. These dogs were crossed with some of the local hounds, with the resulting offspring being known as “Virginia Hounds.” The stolen dog that Maupin bought off of Harris was not like the hounds of English origin. He was described as being rat-tailed, tight-coated, and black-and-tan; a description more apt to the progenitors of the Black-and-Tan Coonhounds or curs, but no one knows of his lineage for sure. Maupin called him Tennessee Lead, and he quickly picked up on Lead’s speed, drive, and game sense. He crossed Lead to some of his English dogs and to some of his local hounds. The resulting get were used to start the Running Walker Foxhound strain, which was further developed into the Treeing Walker Coonhound. Lead was heavily used as a stud dog in many other coon and foxhounds breeds, showing up many times in the pedigrees of breeds like Black and Tan Coonhounds.

Until the mid-1900s, these dogs were often considered part of the older more popular Coonhound and Foxhound breeds, but they eventually split into their own breeds at the request of breeders and owners. Today, they are some of the most popular hunting hounds used extensively on multiple game and quarry.

The difference between Treeing Walker Coonhounds and Running Walker Foxhounds is not easily detected through the dog’s phenotype, but through the dog’s hunting behavior. Coonhounds, in general, will instinctually “check” trees for scents while hunting, while the Foxhounds will generally not stop to check trees, but will stay on a ground track. However, there are exceptions to the rule, with both being used interchangeable and even interbred to produce excellent hunting “grade hounds.”

View the Treeing Walker Coonhound's full breed standard.

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