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Previously classified as an English coonhound, The treeing Walker coonhound is a domestic breed of sport dog. This breed is used primarily for hunting small game such as raccoons, though it can be kept as a family pet. The treeing Walker is a descendant of the English foxhound and a breed called the Tennessee lead, of which little is known. It was recognized is its own breed in 1946.
With big eyes; floppy ears; and a glossy tan, black, and white tri-colored coat, the treeing Walker looks superficially like a beagle. These coonhounds, however, have little else in common with the beagle. Their long, straight legs are designed for speed and agility. Their lean bodies measure 20–27 inches (51–69 cm) long, and their 50–70 pounds (22.6–31.7 kg) of body weight are entirely muscle. An upper lip that hangs below their lower jaws makes them unmistakably part of the hound group.
The treeing Walker coonhound was bred for severe physical endurance. Bred to hunt raccoons, this breed also hunts possums and squirrels with success. It is a fast hunter with a good sense of smell, so it finds prey quickly. These dogs "tree" their quarry, chasing their catch up the tree and letting out a trumpet-like bay, or howl, to let their masters know they have their prey cornered.
Since treeing Walkers have such high physical endurance, they are not recommended for apartment life. They must be exercise daily and do best when they have large yards available. They should be kept well confined, however, because they will run away to hunt on their own if given an opportunity.
In addition to physical exercise, these dogs need mental exercise. An intelligent breed, they can become easily bored, so require mental stimulation to stay happy. If the treeing Walker coonhound is kept confined or allowed to remain bored for long periods of time, it will become anxious and possibly destructive.
Good with children and other dogs, treeing Walkers make fine family pets. They are relatively easy to train and are very human oriented with a strong desire to please and a need for affection. They should not be kept in a house with small animals, however, because of their strong hunting instinct.
The treeing Walker coonhound needs minimal care, only brushing and bathing occasionally. Its shedding is average, but it does need to have its ears cleaned and checked regularly because they are prone to infections. These dogs live about 12–13 years.
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