COONHOUND TREEING WALKER
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
ONE MORE CHASE THROUGH THE WOODS
BY CURT WILLIS
C an anyone tell me what geography, tyranny, the Declaration of Independence, and the most dominant hound ever developed to chase fur-bearing critters through the forest of America have in common? If you guessed “the Bluegrass State of Kentucky” then you are absolutely right. THE FIFTEENTH STATE Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792 after spending a great deal of time as part of a large land grant called Virginia. In 1609, when King James I estab- lished Virginia, this area covered from what is now known as North Carolina in the south to Maine in the North, with the western boundary basically to infinity or the Pacific Ocean. The land was given to the Virginia Company as a private entity and would be managed as a company. This sizable grant would be amended in 1612 and revoked in 1624. Following in King James’ footsteps, his son, King Charles I, would continue to restrict colonial borders as well, but it was not until 1665, under King Charles II, that the North Carolina/ Virginia border would be set at 36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. This line of demarcation would carry west to the Kentucky/Tennessee border in the mid-1700s as well. Using a straight line as a land boundary wasn’t a completely new endeavor. However, it was not an exact science in colonial times and geo- graphical boundaries were far more typical. This 36-30 boundary would cause numerous disputes during this time. Finally, men from each state would form a team to survey the boundary once and for all. In 1728, a team led by William Byrd started at the Atlantic Ocean and made it 241 miles west before rattlesnakes and the summer heat required them to stop. This was approximately two-thirds the way across. Twenty-one years later, in 1749, a second team led by Peter Jefferson and Joshua Fry would pick up and take the line further west to just east of Bristol, Tennessee. Peter Jef- ferson, Joshua Fry, Thomas Walker, and Edmund Pendleton formed the Loyal Land Company and secured an 800,000 acre tract of land along the Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee borders. This tract of land would later become a bit of a headache to Peter Jefferson’s son, Thomas. In 1763, King George III would take back this land grant and place the area west of the Appalachians under the governance of a new province named Que- bec. Quebec was won from the French during the “Seven Years’ War.” This did not sit well with the Colonies, as one might imagine. Along with the increased taxation, the Revolutionary War was upon us. This bothered our forefathers so much, in fact, that Thomas Jefferson saw fit to include the following sentence in the Declaration of Independence: “For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies…”
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It’s not just a dog It’ s a Journey to be enjoyed!
STACKEM UP KENNEL Tricia L. Snedegar Breeder of Champion Treeing Walker Coonhounds in USA and Norway
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TREEING WALKER COONHOUND
THE TREEING WALKER COONHOUND BREEDS FIRST AND MOST INTERNATIONAL TITLED HOUND!
N DK US UCH DKKV19 NV20 STACKEM UP HIT THE HIGHWAY WORLD’S MOST TITLED TREEING WALKER COONHOUND. NORWAY’S MOST WINNING IN 2021 TREEING WALKER COONHOUND 316 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2021
NORWEGIAN KENNEL CLUBS FIRST BREEDER OF CHAMPION TREEING WALKER COONHOUNDS!
WINTERSAVANNAH KENNEL LOCATED IN NORWAY
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TREEING WALKER HISTORY
Joseph B. Thomas, M.F.H. of Middleburg, Virginia, wrote the first comprehensive book on hound hunting in the United States. Published in 1928, his Hounds and Hunting Through the Ages is a treasure trove of information on the development of the Walker hound. We know from our own Treeing Walker history that John W. Walker and George Washington Maupin, known as Wash, owned a great pack of foxhounds in what is now Garrard County, Kentucky. Their pack was known for its great speed and ability to run fox to the ground. Running to ground meant that the pack would put so much pressure on the fox that it would be forced to find a hole, a place of refuge, or die. We also know that along with the influx of settlers to Kentucky, the imported Red Fox would make its way west as well. The Red Fox, which is bigger and faster than the indigenous Gray Fox, would soon put the pack to a test that would see them fail more often than not. An excerpt from Hounds and Hunting Through the Ages would tell of Walker/Mau- pin’s endeavors to speed up their pack: “In the early fifties (1850s), General Maupin and his friends imported many dogs from South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, sparing no expense to improve their stock. In 1857, they imported from England, I think, three dogs, Fox, Rifle, and Marth. About this time, General Maupin got from east Tennessee the dog, Tennessee Lead, which he, Maupin, thought the best he ever owned.” These men went to the ends of the Earth to produce a dog that could run a fox to ground, and as you can tell, money was no object. The story of Tennessee Lead is known to ALL Treeing Walker enthusiasts as it is not only the foundation stone for which our breed was built, but also a metaphor for the people who today enjoy the fruits of Lead’s progeny. For those who don’t know the story of Tennessee Lead, I will briefly discuss his “acquisition.” Tom Harris was a drover. He would drive livestock from Ten- nessee to Kentucky and back, as well as haul merchandise. On a return trip from Tennessee, Tom heard a pack of hounds chasing a deer. He was in the mountains, just south of the Obey River basin, when one hound could be heard well ahead of the rest. Harris, a consummate salesman who knew his clientele well, would catch this dog and deliver him to Madison County, Kentucky, where George Washington Maupin bought him, bred to him, and forever marked the evolution of the American running hound. The dog, known as Tennessee Lead, did not look like the foxhounds of the day. He was a small, black and tan-colored dog with a rat tail. What he lacked in looks he made up for with speed, drive, and game sense. His clear, short mouth was easy to hear, but his ability to reproduce was why he was bred to all of Maupin’s and Walker’s top bitches. Turning to Joe Thomas’ book: “The cross of the English dogs, and especially the Lead cross on their previous importations, produced a dog which has justly become famous and has become known as the Maupin dog. This strain has been pre- served and bred with great care by WS Walker and Brothers, of Gar- rard County, Kentucky, and are known today as the Walker dogs.” A DISTINCTIVE HOUND By 1868, the Maupins had a very distinctive hound. This type would be preserved firstly through the efforts of Jason Walker, as 1868 was the year that Wash Maupin would die. From 1870 on, we are completely indebted to the Walker brothers. WS, Arch, and Wade Walker’s records would show that the dogs were sold to people in Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and throughout the South by 1900. With the turning of the century came a new sport to play with hounds; the field trial. It was these field trials, and later, nite hunts, that would take these “Walker Hounds” from the Fox- hound packs of the well-off into the hard-working hands of the common man.
As you can see, surveying of land parcels was a very important job in colonial days and even after the Revolutionary War, in fact. Thomas Jefferson would enlist the services of family friend, guard- ian, and Loyal Land Company owner Thomas Walker to pick up where Peter Jefferson had left off and continue the surveying expe- dition of what is now the Kentucky/Tennessee border. THE LEGACY OF THOMAS WALKER Thomas Walker was a physician and an explorer. He had explored what is now the Allegheny mountains, named the Cumberland River, and explored present day Kentucky nineteen years BEFORE Daniel Boone. As head of the Loyal Land Com- pany, Walker had secured a land grant of 800,000 acres in what is now Southeastern Kentucky. He led an expedition to survey this land in 1750. Following the Revolutionary War, in fact, even after Thomas Jefferson became President, the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee was still in dispute. At the age of 64, Thomas Walker was again commissioned to survey the boundary in question and establish what became fittingly known as “The Walker Line.” Louisa. That is the name that Dr. Thomas Walker gave to the land the Native Americans called Ken-tuck-E. He would name the Cumberland River and the Cumberland Gap, which would later be the porthole into the expansion west of America, known as the “Wilderness Road.” An excerpt from his personal journal would show that along with the supplies for his exploration, Dr. Walker, an avid hunter, would also take along a pack of dogs to help feed the party. “Two of their horses were bitten by snakes, which I successfully treated with bear grease. One horse choked on reeds that grew along the streams, and I drenched its throat with much water. One dog was badly injured in a fight with a bear, and was carried on horse- back for seven days—until he was able to travel.” – Excerpt from Dr. Walker’s Diary This love of hounds and hunting would be passed on to his 12 children, grandchildren, and so on. These descendents would settle in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mis- souri, but it is the Kentucky Walkers who are given credit for the development of the Walker hound.
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Another big Leafy Oak winner was “The Ghost” whose dam was a B&T and whose sire was a Walker. The Ghost was registered as an English Coonhound. I mention this just to show you how much impact the Walker hound was having on UKC even 20 years before they would become fully recognized. Leafy Oaks would spawn the Kenton Nationals and numerous other large pursed field trials, and the coonhound fraternity would feel the boom of prosperity. Another great field trial event, the Tree Top Field Trial, was held the second Sunday in August in Niagara Falls, New York. The first Tree Top event was held in August of 1930 with a guar- anteed purse of $300, which in 1930 was quite a sum of money. It would grow to become a coonhound carnival with a $600 purse in 1934, its fourth and final year. Regulars at this event would include the Smith brothers who were originally from Kentucky but would move to Ohio and bring their Walker-bred hounds along with them. These brothers would win one of the first Leafy Oaks with a hound called “Red Fox” (as well as win First Line at the 1933 Tree Top with Red Fox), and his kennel mate, “Leapin Spider,” would win First Tree money at the same event. From 1931-1933, the Smith brothers and these two Walker-bred hounds would win the small fortune of $2,500.00. With that kind of money at stake, coonhounds would grow in value from $25.00-$35.00 to well over a $100.00—and sometimes even $300.00. Thus, the business of breeding champions to champions began, and anything with a magical shot of “Walker power” was in high demand. Mountain Music Magazine started on December 21, 1931 and touted itself as the National Fox, Wolf, and Coonhound Journal. A.B. Hartman was the editor and publisher as well as the owner of the Mountain Music registry. To register your hound, you needed only to send in the dog’s pedigree with a brief description of the dog and $.50. This was later raised to $1.00. Triggs, Walkers, Red- bones, B&Ts, etc., were all registered with the Mountain Music registry and were often advertised in the magazine complete with the MM#. One such Walker was “Big Stride.” Owned by Kentucky breeder Samuel L. Wooldridge, Big Stride was considered to be the best hound of his day. On Big Stride’s grave marker, the follow- ing was inscribed: “Opinions Die; Records Live.” Mr. Wooldridge
Speed, Speed, Speed. By and large, humans are competitive. And that competitive spirit is strong within the ranks of coon- hound enthusiasts. At the beginning of the 20th century, this com- petitive spirit would see the sport of field trialing thrive. While no one knows where and when the first coonhound field trial was held, there were a great many held in the 1920s-‘50s, covered by Mountain Music Magazine, Full Cry magazine, Hunter’s Horn mag- azine, and The Chase magazine—so we have a good idea of how popular these events became. Today’s field trials are hundreds of yards in distance, but the early field trials could span as many as seven MILES in distance. In a March 1942 Full Cry article, Harry Andrews gives credit for the first field trial to George Slatzer of Marion, Ohio. This event may very well be the first advertised field trial, but earlier writings show that many clubs held “challenges” well before the summer of 1924. Regardless of who gets the credit, the field trials would soon bring coonhunting to the forefront of America’s dog-related pastimes. The winner of “Dad” Slatzer’s field trial was “Bones,” a UKC-registered English Coonhound owned by Col. Leon Robinson. Bones was considered a Bluetick in his day, but all foxhound-related breeds were registered under the Eng- lish Fox & Coonhound banner during this time. A quick look at Bones, and any present-day English Coonhound breeder would be proud to own him. With his victory, the $50.00 purse, and the subsequent coverage of his feat, the sport of field trialing would take hold and dominate the sport of coonhunting for over 30 years. Following in Slatzer’s footsteps, Col. Hank Pfeiffer would organize a $1,000.00 event to be held in May of 1927, called Leafy Oaks. Leafy Oaks would also be sanctioned by the United Kennel Club and would draw hundreds of dogs from around the country, with the majority being from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylva- nia. With the success of these events, Chauncie Bennett would see dollar signs, and UKC would flourish as it began registering these hounds. At the time, UKC registered only three breeds of coon- hound; the Black & Tan, the Redbone, and the English. ALL were registered as Fox & Coonhounds at the time. One of the first Leafy Oak winners was “The Sheik,” the product of a Redbone bitch bred to a Walker dog. The Sheik was registered with UKC as a Redbone.
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Lester Nance, Charlie Lord, and Russell Baker. At the conclusion of this meeting, and at the next subsequent meeting, Dr. Fuhrman decided that he would register these dogs as English Coonhound (Walker treeing). Floyd Reeder was the man responsible for the first Treeing Walker breed standard. This wasn’t exactly what these men had envisioned (and the first Treeing Walker Days wouldn’t be held until September of 1951), but it was the start of what would become the most dominate coonhound breed ever. Raymond Motley had been breeding Treeing Walkers since the 1920s. His strain of coonhounds was derived from Walker foxhounds solely. Mr. Motley’s first “straight” coonhound was a Walker named “Mike.” He purchased Mike in the early 1920s for $35.00. His second coonhound would be a female Walker that he found while coonhunting one night, and she was caught in a fence. From this point on, all of Motley’s hounds would be of the Walker variety. In Lester Nance’s Treeing Walker History and Memories , Lester is quoted as saying: “Beyond a doubt, the Motley-bred bloodline of Treeing Walkers deserves a lot of credit for the foundation blood of the outstanding Treeing Walkers of the present era.” Motley’s “Major” can be found in many of today’s Treeing Walkers. Both Raymond Motley and Lester Nance were two of the most influential Treeing Walker breeders in the early years and were the first “big-time” promoters of the breed. NITE HUNTS & DOG SHOWS Ingraham, Illinois, would become ground zero for UKC’s ven- ture into licensed Nite Hunts. It was here, in 1954, that they would sponsor their first event. This event would be won by Plotts by the names of Overbeck’s Lucky and Branderburg’s Big Lucky, while third place would go to Lester Nance with the new Treeing Walk- ers. As I stated earlier, many local clubs were holding “Wild Coon Hunts” prior to 1954, but with the backing of UKC, ACHA, and other respected registries, the Nite Hunts would soon take off in popularity. These Nite Hunts were true tests of a coonhound’s abil- ity, the handler’s knowledge of the sport, and the breeder’s ability to make successful matings. The popularity of the sport would see the kennel names of Finley River, House, Lone Pine, Yadkin River, and Spring Creek rise to the top of the Treeing Walker kingdom. And with the rise in popularity, so too came a rise in sponsorship. Today’s Treeing Walkers can hunt for purses in the $25,000.00 range as well as for new trucks in the $50,000.00 range. The great sires of the Treeing Walker breed have sired from 1,800 pups to 5,000 pups, and the influential dams have whelped litters with a 60 percent success rates in achieving hunting titles. Now, with the Treeing Walker’s inclusion into the AKC Hound Group, the Treeing Walker will come in from its “nite” time activities and be shared with the millions of Americans who tune in to watch dog shows on TV. And as the lights dim and the crowd shuffles out of Madison Square Garden, following the conclusion of another Westminster Kennel Club dog show on a cold February night, somewhere in America a Treeing Walker is being cut loose to give Mr. Ringtail one more chase through the woods. “These Nite Hunts were true tests of a coonhound’s ability, the handler’s knowledge of the sport, and the breeder’s ability to make successful matings.”
would hunt Big Stride in several of the Ohio field trials during the 1920s with great success. Daughters of Big Stride would win the 1925 and 1926 National Foxhound Trials. His ability to reproduce was unmatched during his time, but the reason he is important to Treeing Walker enthusiasts is because of a dog called “Brays Speed.” In 1927, Brays Speed was purchased by Herman Bray for $75.00 from Glenn Walsh. Mr. Walsh had acquired Speed from some foxhunters he knew after witnessing Speed fall out of a night- time foxhunt and tree a raccoon. Brays Speed was of Big Stride breeding and was the prototypical Walker dog. He would be bred to “Foland’s Queen,” another Walker hound, in January of 1932. Foland’s Queen was sired by a Walker hound by the name of “Ring” that ran loose in a small southern town in Ohio. Duke Shell, a trav- eling salesman for a tobacco company, would pick Ring up and ship him to his brother Perry in Perkinsville, Indiana. No one in the town would claim old Ring, so I guess you really couldn’t call him stolen. (However, no one was ever paid for him either.) He was whisked away to Indiana, and the Shell brothers would enjoy many nights hunting raccoon with Ring. He would also be bred to sev- eral local females, producing some outstanding coonhounds. The Speed x Queen cross of 1932 would produce a litter of 12 puppies. Lester Nance of Arcadia, Indiana, would purchase two of the pups. One pup, a female, would be run over and killed. Mr. Bray kept two pups as well, one of which he named “King.” At eight months of age, Lester Nance would purchase King from Mr. Bray… and the story of White River King would begin. TWO ‘BIG-TIME’ PROMOTERS Lester Nance was born in 1912 and always had a fondness for hunting dogs; bird dogs, foxhounds, coonhounds, and rabbit dogs. If it pursued game, Mr. Nance was a fan. Lester Nance went on his first coonhunt in 1926 with Charlie, Glenn, and Floyd Newby and their Bluetick hound, “Queen.” Along with Queen were sev- eral other hounds, including Charlie Newby’s Lead dog. (Must have been a great night, as Lester Nance would continue to coon- hunt for the next 50 years.) During King’s lifetime, Lester would use him on raccoon as well as fox, but King was known best as a coonhound. Over the next 10-12 years, King would be bred to the best bitches available in an effort to lock in this “treeing” instinct. It was Lester Nance, and a small group of men, who would go to UKC and AKC in the early 1940s in an effort to have these Walker hounds registered as their own breed. Neither UKC nor AKC were interested at first, as these hounds really weren’t breeding all that true to type and because the Walker type dogs were already being registered under the blanket English Fox and Coonhound breed. In many instances, the dogs didn’t even have three generations of pure breeding. With those doors being closed, Mr. Nance and Raymond Motley would use their influence with Full Cry magazine to get them to register Treeing Walkers for the first time. The Full Cry registry had been registering Walkers and other foxhound breeds for a number of years and had started to register coonhound breeds in late 1940. Bill Harshman would serve as the head of the Full Cry Kennel Club. Around this time, the Mountain Music registry would begin hosting coonhound events as well. These would become a series of events called the Mountain Music Hunts, and were spread across the US from Oklahoma/Texas to Ohio/Pennsylvania. In 1945, Dr. Fuhrman, Chauncie Bennett’s son-in-law, would take over UKC. Dr. Fuhrman could see the advantage of adding what was becoming a very popular type of hound to his registry, and he set a meeting with the newly formed Treeing Walker Asso- ciation and the Bluetick Coonhound Association. The meeting was held at the home of Floyd Reeder in Logansport, Indiana. Treeing Walker enthusiasts in attendance were Floyd Reeder, Les King,
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JUDGING THE TREEING WALKER COONHOUND
By Amanda Alexander
H er name was Tim’s Creek Faith. She was a five-month-old frisky pup out of a nice Hardwood Echo female and sired by Tim’s Creek Bob. She wasn’t my first Tree- ing Walker coonhound but she was my first coonhound pup that was purchased with the express purpose of campaigning in licensed Nite Hunts. She was starting to put the whole raccoons climb trees and are fun to chase scenario together when I acquired her from Don Abernethy of Hickory, NC. I had known Don Aber- nethy, his father Harold owned a small convenience store, my whole life. I had went to school with his two daughters and his son and had in fact been ask to leave class and report to principal Stone by his wife who often substitute taught at my school. Don was an avid Beagler, turned coonhunter, and the consummate hounds- men. To say that he had a way with dogs is a gross understatement. Whether it be experience or just an inherent way with dogs, Don always seemed to know the right thing to do at the right time with his coonhounds. Faith’s sire Bob was one of the best if not the best coonhound I have ever had the pleasure to hunt with and I was honored to get a pup by Bob. It would not be my last. Faith had beautiful rich colors, and was a friendly tail-wagging dog that lived for a pat on the head and to hear the words, “Good job.” To kill time at the events, I trained and practiced with Faith to compete in the Bench Shows. She would be eligible at the age of six months while her Nite Hunt career was still a few months away. My show career one could say started as a way to “do something” with my dog during the daylight hours.
“MY FIRST WIN AT A COMPETITIVE DOG SHOW
would come not at a small event but at a larger Regional Qualifying Event in Seagrove, NC.”
I would learn a tremendous amount while showing Faith. For the first five shows I attended the lesson would involve losing with grace. My step-brother Terry would attend these events with me and most often it was he that would be fuming at the conclusion of judging. I was being “out handled” as they say and had to step up my game. My first win at a competi- tive dog show would come not at a small event but at a larger Regional Qualifying Event in Seagrove, NC. Th ese events are
scheduled to qualify dogs for the World Coonhound Championship. I would show Faith there against some top breeders and handlers and I would win Best Female of Show honors. As I waited patiently for the o ffi cials to fill out my win slip, I would learn another valuable lesson. Max Sum- merlin was filling out slips along with David Gardin. Both have been my friend from this moment forward. Max handed me the win slip and said, “ Th is is your win slip and this paper states that you are
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qualified for the World Show. It does not say that you should go to the World Show.” David, who had judged the show, would chuckle to himself. I must have had a quiz- zical look on my face because Max would go on and explain to me that while my dog was pretty and had won that day, she was not mature enough, nor the caliber of dog that could win at the World Show. Many would have been angry at these comments, and I would bet that had Facebook been around, these comments would have been shared with the world as well as the all too common statement, “ Th at judge is on my DNS list.” Max would also ask me if I had ever been to the World Show and suggest- ed that I do so as a means of learning more about the show side of the sport as well as the dogs. Th is advice has always stayed with me and makes more sense to me with every weekend trip. I would follow that advice and began attending the shows at all the major Treeing Walker events. It was eye-opening in many ways and it would allow me to me new people and to lay a foundation of knowledge for my future breeding plans. Th e Treeing Walker is first and foremost of performance breed. From its foundation in the Kentucky foxhounds forward it has been bred for speed and endurance. As a raccoon treeing hound, it is challenged by no other breed in excellence. When judging I observe these hounds from the moment they enter the show ring until my mind is made up. As they enter the ring I look for an athlete. We use the term athlete all too often when describing hounds but in the case of the Treeing Walker it is most appropriate. Th e Treeing Walker is a tight made hound, just o ff square, well muscled with the look of speed. Not the racy look of the Whippet but with a look that says I cover large amounts of ground quickly. We have a saying when describing the Treeing Walker, it is a go yonder, get deep and get treed type of coonhound. When evaluat- ing the breed picture this in your mind. It is dark. You are standing in the edge of a freshly harvested cornfield and the tree line is 200 yds away. You point your Tree- ing Walker towards the woods and unleash it. It leaves in a dead sprint. In a few sec- onds it is to the tree line. It opens soon on
“The Treeing Walker IS FIRST AND FOREMOST OF PERFORMANCE BREED.”
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track, trails for while longer and suddenly locates and trees straight away in the woods where you cast. A quick look at your watch shows that a total of 30 seconds has elapsed and a glance at your Garmin tracker will show that the dog is 800 yds away. Th at is the type of animal you are judging. Th is is a dog that was released, found a track and trailed that track to completion a ½ mile away in about 30 seconds. Th at is the athlete I am trying to describe. As the handlers stack the Treeing Walker you should see a dog with its head level, ears relaxed and slender moderate neck falling to well laid back shoulders. Front legs should be balanced substantially with the overall size of the dog and should drop straight down from the shoulder, landing on thick, well-padded, well-arched cat-feet. A palm full of forechest is not as heavily boned as the English Foxhound nor is it as racy as the American Foxhound. From the withers the strong topline should gradually drop to the hips. Th e tail is set just below the hips. High or low tail set is undesirable. Th e Treeing Walker does not have a swayed or roached back. It is a moderate breed with no one part defining it. Th e rear end of the Treeing Walker should have moderate angulation, good turn of stifle, straight, short hocks and again cat-feet. Th e rump should be muscular as it is what propels this dog through the woods at night. When I see the Treeing Walk- er stacked, it reminds me of a dragster waiting on the tree to turn green. Like a great sports car, the Treeing Walker should look fast while standing still.
“THE FINER POINTS OF THE TREEING WALKER HEAD PIECE ARE WHAT SET IT APART FROM ITS FOXHOUND FOREFATHERS. When compared to the American Foxhound, the Treeing Walker head should have a houndier, heavier appearance. More depth of muzzle, slightly more flew and a heavier brow bone.”
Th e finer points of the Treeing Walker head piece are what set it apart from its foxhound forefathers. When compared to the Ameri- can Foxhound, the Treeing Walker head should have a houndier, heavier appearance. More depth of muzzle, slightly more flew and a heavier brow bone. It has a soft, almost “beaglish” expression that mask the competitive nature of this breed. It should never have a hard look for expression. Dark brown eyes and soft textured ears that roll to the front complete this beautiful face. All pigmentation on the Treeing Walker is black. No excessive dewlap, this is not a sloppy looking hound and the underline should start with a deep chest and gradually rise to the loin. Th e Treeing Walker lacks the regal look of the Black & Tan or the Bluetick and instead has a working man look to it. Th e standard calls for tri-colored to be preferred over the two colored variety. Th is harkens back to the days when Walkers were
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“…the Treeing Walker is a well balanced, athletic dog that is POWERFUL AND GRACEFUL AT THE SAME TIME.”
registered as English Fox and Coonhounds in the early 1900s. As the breed split, the color would separate these breeds. Th e American English Coonhound is primar- ily a two color breed the rare tri-color. Th e Treeing Walker is primarily a three colored breed with the rare two colored dogs. Black, White & Tan or White, Black & Tan are the preferred patterns with the predominate amounts of each in order. Th e two colored variety will have white and black. I look for a deep rich red, lustrous black and clean, tick free vibrant white. Ticking is also a hallmark of the American English breed and is undesirable in the Treeing Walker. I send the dogs around the ring and again I am looking for the athletic dog that is light on his feet showing good reach and drive, but not excessive lift in the front nor
kick in the rear. No wasted e ff ort as this is an e ffi cient moving breed. Sickle hocks are a fault and a weakness. Th e outline of dog never changes during this movement. It maintains its topline, head carriage and tail carriage. Th e tail is carried up like a saber. Th ere is a hint of power to the move- ment but not of exertion. Footfalls are well placed and the parts are all in balance with each other. Th e dog comes to a halt and the handler stacks him for inspection. As I approach a Treeing Walker I expect to see no shyness or timidity. I understand that the breed is shown on benches in many venues and I realize that a judging stand- ing over them may be new but I expect them to cope with this with minimal fuss. Th is is a tail-wagging friendly breed and should not be fearful of people. I go over the dog and it is a strong animal with no
weaknesses. I send it on its down and back. As it leaves me, it is not cow hocked or sickle hocked at all as these are both faults. From an engineering standpoint, the hocks are where the most torque is applied and any weakness there will be the first to break. Its rear legs do converge somewhat although it may or may not single track. On the return I want to see the front legs do the same and again, they may or may not single track. Th ey do fall in line and are not flipping to the side. Again the tail is carried up. I send the hound around again and greet the handler with a ribbon at the table. Another Treeing Walker breed winner. In summary, the Treeing Walker is a well balanced, athletic dog that is power- ful and graceful at the same time. It has a look of great speed and power without the raciness of the Greyhound or the sub- stance of the Bloodhound. It has the soft expression of the Beagle and loves to please its owner. It is a competitive breed and the dogs should have that competitive look to them while showing. It has e ff ortless movement that has the look of power, but not of exertion. Th e overall breed type is between that of the American Foxhound and the English Foxhound. Th ink of it as a bigger, houndier Harrier. I have attended many breed seminars over the years and I have found that the majority of spokes- people promote picking breed type over conformation. I have heard Harry Miller on occasion saying the following: Make your picks on breed type and then reward on conformation. I tend to agree with that thought process and I explain it in this way: I can bring a Dalmation into the ring and it can have a perfect front, a perfect rear and it moves around the in perfection. It is still not a Treeing Walker though. I also realize that part of a performance breeds type has to be correct structure so I truly feel a balance in my selection process has to be achieved if I am to select the cor- rect Treeing Walker time and again. Good luck in your future judging assignments.
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Coonhound FORM EQUALS FUNCTION STRUCTURE
BY NANCY WINTON, DRY RIVER KENNELS
N ow that coonhounds are in AKC conformation shows, it is becoming increasingly important that we focus on the correct structure that our hounds need to do the job they were bred for. With the coonhound, one needs to especially concentrate on structure and balance. As you know, the back is divided into four sections; the withers, back, loin, and croup. Behind the withers is the back, then the loin, then the croup, and the vertebrae go back all the way to the end of the tail. In certain coonhounds today, more in some breeds than in others, we’re seeing a short rib cage and a long loin on a regular average-backed dog. The dog might be the right length in the back, but if the rib cage doesn’t go back far enough into the loin, it’s not going to have enough cavity that it needs for the heart, the lungs, and all the organs. A short back, combined with a long loin, makes a coonhound weak and unable to run long distances. In coonhounds especially, strength over the loin and lung space are needed. Many of the top-winning Treeing Walkers are sadly lacking in shoulder angulation and would never make it in the field. What’s really important about the shoulder blades is not just the layback; not just the way the blades are angled. The shoulder blades are angled at 45 degrees , as is the upper arm, forming a perfect 90-degree “L.” A good shoulder is oblique, the way a bone curves back into the curvature of the body. The shoulder bone cannot stick straight up, out of the dog’s back, and be efficient. They’ve got to come back together a little bit, lay back, and curve back into the body. Another important point regarding the shoulder assembly is the point of the elbow. The point of elbow is directly under the withers, right under the top of the shoulder blade, in a perfectly straight line. You could run a plumb line and drop it right where the shoulder blades meet and it will come straight down through the elbow to the floor, right behind the foot. I’ll guarantee that you won’t see many dogs made like this. What you’ll see is a shorter upper arm, or an upper arm pitched at an angle that forces the elbow in front of the shoulder. That combination leads to bad action on the front. So, look at the front assembly very carefully. Visualize a big circle, with a straight line dropping through it, cutting it in half, meeting the elbow, meeting the ground. It will be the focal point on a well-made dog. There’s a good reason for this. The heart, lungs, and all of the organs that make them run are right there. They better have that depth, that balance. Look at how this dog’s chest (far left) comes down and meets his elbow. There must be enough depth of brisket for lung capacity. There are many dogs whose elbows are too far below their brisket line.
Great Head Planes and Ear Set
left: Excellent Front and Shoulder Layback center: Excellent Front and Muscling, right : Too Straight
Sources from 2001 Winter Classic Judges Seminar
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The same is true about the hindquarters. The dog in this photo (below right) shows the relationship between the length of the two bones and the angle formed by them. We can’t see through to the bone, but look at the width of the thigh. I’ve never seen a coon- hound that had too much width of second thigh. In coonhounds, we’re also losing some angle from the stifle joint to the point of the hock. We’re getting too many dogs that look unbalanced, especially if they’re straight in the shoulder and straight in the hindquarter assembly. Look for second thigh, width of thigh. You have to observe this with your eyes and your hands to make sure they are correct. And remember that the tail is an extension of the spine. A tail that goes straight up may affect the pitch of the pelvis. Up front, you can really see and feel the shoulder blades. Again, balance is the key . If you see this in action, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ll say, “Now I get it. That is side gait.” That’s something we don’t look for enough when we judge. A dog can look pretty standing there with a handler posing them, but when you gait them on the ground there is nothing that can be done to make them look good. You can’t do it with the lead. What you see is what you get. And don’t let markings fool you—easy to do with a Treeing Walker’s markings especially. As a result, his shoulders might look different, but when you get your hands on him you will see where his shoulder blades are. Don’t be afraid to get your hands on those blades, to feel them. If you run your hands down the blades, and down the upper arms to the elbows, you can visualize what the angles are. The feet and pasterns are very closely tied together and they should be in balance with each other. You’ll hardly ever see great pasterns with bad feet, or the other way around. It’s usually a pack- age. We get to the point in coonhound shows that we’re looking for such tight feet that we might be getting a little carried away some- times. A great cat foot with a straight pastern is pretty to look at, but it doesn’t offer any shock absorbers to the force coming down through the shoulders. You’ve got to have a little spring, a little flex- ibility, to the slightly sloping pastern. Coonhounds are a scenthound and the tail carriage will be up. You want to see a dog that can extend its front, that can push behind, show balance, propulsion and locomotion movement with ease, and cover ground. Withers-back-loin-croup is all you need to remember. Four basic parts that better work together. If the withers are too steep, the shoulders aren’t laidback enough; there’s going to be a basic, functional problem. If the back’s too long or too short, there’s going to be a basic, functional problem. If the ribs don’t go back into the loin far enough, or deep enough, there’s going to be a basic, functional problem. Other problems to be aware of include a weak loin and a roach back. The croup’s got to have some pitch and some length. If a croup is too short and steep, it will affect the tail set. I hope that this will help in the judging of our coonhounds. They are a movement dog with good reach and drive. Coonhounds give meaning to Form=Function. “You want to see a dog that can extend its front, that can push behind, show balance, propulsion and locomotion movement with ease, and cover ground.”
left: Puppy—Good muscling, right: Older dog—Good muscling
left: Adult male—Good Inner and Outer Thigh, Great Muscling, center: Too Straight, right: Excellent Rear Angles
Figure 2. Dog 1. Correct Hind Angulation: Note the 30-degree slope of the pelvis. This provides the most power. Just as important is the perfect 130-degree angle of the back joint, providing the leverage to push the dog forward. Dog 2. Incorrect Hind Angulation. The pelvic slope of 10 degrees promotes the overly-straight stifle joint shown here. The back joint is also overly- straight at 148 degrees.
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We’re called the Treeing Walker Coonhound
Written by: Beth O. (Nance) Snedegar, Alan Snedegar, and Tricia L. Snedegar
In 1922 on a central Indiana farm, a ten-year-old boy was given a small Fox Terrier named Bootsie. The two became almost inseparable, and even slept together. As Bootsie and the boy grew, they spent many happy hours in the woods hunting squirrels. Bottsie was often found sitting up and barking at the base of a tree with a squirrel on the first limb barking back. This young man provided many of squirrels for the family table with a Winchester .22 his father had given him for graduating from the eighth grade. In the mid-20’s, raccoon were scarce in this part of the nation. Therefore fox hunting was very popular with many of the houndsmen. This same young man could often be found listening to the houndsmen talk and brag as they stood by a fire and listened to the music. The boy could go fox hunting with Uncle Charley and his beloved Foxhound Ben, as long as he gathered wood for the fire and kept it going.
Newby was surpassed by no one in the state for their ability to catch a coon. After a brief conversation, the boy was delighted to hear that Queen would be com- ing to his house that very night to hunt the 200-acre timber that lay across the road. Several hours later this young man’s stomach was tired in a knot as the hunters gathered in his father’s yard. It was after dark before Queen arrived, and no time was wasted in turning her loose. She had hardly gotten through the rail fence when her deep bawl broke the silence of the crisp air. The Bluetick female was soon “treed”, but to the boy’s dismay, on a big den. Some of the hunters found fresh coon tracks in the mud coming to the big tree, but nothing was found on the outside and it was too big to climb. When taken off the tree however, Queen instantly headed back into the cornfield from which she had come. Five minutes later, she was opening going the opposite direction and soon crossed the road. Again the hunters found a fresh coon track near the edge of the road, and true to form,
They tried hunting raccoon on a few occasions, but always ended the night by treeing a couple of opossums and running but never catching some mink. About one night out of four they would actually hit a coon track; but by this boy’s 14 th birth- day they had not made a success- ful hunt. One night the dogs treed on a large oak, the hunters set their kerosene lanterns on the top of their head and hanged the bails, but no coon eyes seen. They built a large fire and
Queen had known there were two all along. Opening only three or four times, she was soon into the timber 80 rods to the East. None of the other hounds they had been hunting on those previous nights for the past couple of years had said a word, or shown any indication they knew what the blue female was up to. She bawled again and turned to the north. Soon she had entered another timber and sent word through the cool air that she was “treed”. Upon arrival at the scene, they found Queen on a Beech with the top broken out. One of the men took off his coat and was up the tree before the excited boy knew what had happened.
looked for two hours, but a coon was not to be found. Things began to change, however, when one day in 1926 the boy came riding home from town with his father. Coming the opposite direction down a country road was a horse-drawn wagon with a Bluetick hound named Queen sit- ting on the spring seat. The reputation of Queen and her owner Glen
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He pronounced that the coon was laying about three feet down in the snag portion, and soon punched him out with the air of a two-cell flashlight. The coon looked as big as a shepherd dog to the 14-year-old who’s heart was pounding faster than ever before. At this very instant, the coon hunting bug had bit- ten young Lester Nance, and at the same moment he realized that not all hounds were created equal. This night in the timber near the small settlement called Walnut Grove in central Indiana, the seed was plant- ed that would take 20 years to germinate, but the fruits of which are still harvested 80 plus years later, with no sign of reduction in yield. The experience of the night gave Lester the desire to hunt with Queen as often as her owner, Glen Newby, would allow. After a couple more hunts, Lester knew there was a great difference between the abilities of dogs and set a goal to someday own a hound that could be determined Queen’s equal. During the 20’s, other things were happening with- in a 30 mile radius of this same timber that later affected Lester’s now heart set goal. A traveling sales- man by the name of Shell, had a regular stop in a small town in southern Ohio. Having made friends with a couple of local hunters, he was very impressed by the performance of a Walker Foxhound they called Ring. It was commonly accepted that if you
could find a Walker that would tree, you could catch some coon. Mr. Shell asked about buying the dog, and learned that he had no real owner. All the hunters in town used him and saw that he was cared for. Since no one would accept his offer after two to three years of trying, Shell took the dog to the next town and had him shipped to his brother in Indiana. Ring was a large, black, saddle-back, with a white ring around his neck. He earned the title “straight cooner”, because he was never known to open on anything but a coon track. After his first year in Hoosierland, he was bred to another fine Walker female and from this litter came a well-known female called Spottie. Spottie was bred to a black and tan-colored male called Frank. Frank was purchased for 100 bushel of corn, at a time when few farmers had cash to spare. In 1929, Frank treed 11 coon on the outside, at six years of age. This was an unheard of number, as most hunters pent the whole season getting four or five. These 11 coon were sold for $11 each, which much more than made up for the 100 bushel of corn in those pre-depression days. From the litter of Frank and Spottie, came a female known as Foland’s Queen. Foland’s Queen was of the true Walker style in that she was a hunting and strike dog deluxe, and soon became a natural tree dog. Queen was a trim-built dog that was primarily black
Lester C. Nance reads Full Cry, surrounded by his Treeing Walker hounds Rowdy , King , Boone and Sparkie .
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We’re called the Treeing Walker Coonhound
and tan in color, and fell into a ringing chop when announcing to all that a coon was treed. In November of 1927, Herman Bray of Elwood, Indiana, purchased a Walker Foxhound named Speed. Speed was pure Walker Foxhound breed- ing, but had been outcast by the fox hunters
that he needed to own King in order to reach his dream! Finally, in late October of 1932, Herman priced the pup to Lester for $25. Lester had only $13 cash to his name and the depression was in full swing. Lester told Bray he would give the cash and two 100- pound bags of “Peet’s” pig mineral for the then unproven seven-month- old pup, King. Since Bray fed that brand of feed, he knew they cost $7 each to buy and agreed to the deal. Lester had secured
because he would stop a fox chase to tree a coon when he got a chance. Speed was an open trail- er, had a loud tree voice, and was a true tri-color. Bray paid the unheard of price of $75 cash for him at four years of age, when a good dog could be bought for $35. The first season that Foland’s Queen and Speed were hunted together, a diary was kept of all their hunts. They struck 29 coon tracks and treed 27y. This was quite a good season for the times and the num- ber of coon to be found in that area. In January of 1932, Foland’s Queen and Speed were mated. Lester was well aware of this cross and made a trip to see the litter of 12 when they were about a week old. He made arrangements with Bray to get two females from the litter. Bray kept all five of the males, since he wanted to hunt them some before making a decision which he wanted to keep. At five months of age, Lester and Bray took these seven pups hunting with Speed. That night, no coon tracks were struck, but one of the pups went hunting with Speed while the rest stayed near the lantern. This blanket-backed male which had been named King, finally began to bark lost when Speed left him behind, but found his way back. A few days later, they took the same seven pups down on the White River to see how they would take to water. King and Lester’s female were the only two that took right to the river like ducks. A short time later, Lester lost both his females, one to a car and one to distemper. Bray agreed to let him hunt Speed, Queen and the five males, so they would get some experience. After several shake-out races, and going in to trees with the two old dogs and only one of the pups, King, up on the wood; Lester knew
Lester with White River Boone ~ circa 1949.
for $27 the hound that would be the first-ever adver- tised as “Treeing Walker” and the foundation of the breed which would not get recognition by the United Kennel Club, Inc. (UKC) for another 13 years. White River King became Lester’s constant com- panion. He went with Lester as he graded roads for the county. King rode in the truck seat, and if a squir- rel or groundhog crossed the road, the door would open and the chase would be on. Three nights before the season officially opened, Lester slipped in to the same woods where he had seen his first coon in a tree. At eight months old, White River King opened on a track in the corn and was soon in the timber. For the next 14 years, a familiar voice would tell Lester in the night air that the coon was up the tree. Lester found King on a big cottonwood, and backed up a little to shine the tree with his lantern. The eyes of that coon shown in the night like Times Square on New Year’s Eve to the excited 20-year-old man. He knew the pup had treed a raccoon, and now the coonhound world was headed into a different direc- tion than ever before. Fourteen years later, Lester returned to this same tree with King wrapped in his hunting coat. On that day in December 1946 Lester had the sad chore of laying in his final resting place, not only his personal friend, but the foundation of a new breed, and the beginning of a new era. This hound had always given his best, was always dependable. He was a coon hunter’s coon dog! Twenty-three years after his death,
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