by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
One of the most popular strains of American Foxhound in the country today is the Walker. Wherever fox hunters gather the inevitable argument about strain supremacy provides the conversational sauce which allows the otherwise reticent sportsman to pop out of his shell and soar into forensic heights, often to his own surprise. Wherever fox hunters gather there are sure to be found a number who champion the Walker Hound to the utmost of their ability. Most likely, the exponents of that strain will be largely in the majority. Full blooded Walker Hounds are now found in every section where the fox is chased for sport.
The history of the Walker Foxhound is an interesting one. The greatest portion of the credit for the development of the strain properly goes to two Kentucky sportsmen. Close friends and neighbors, George Washington Maupin, later more familiarly known as "Uncle Wash" Maupin, and John W. Walker had more than community interest in common. They were bound together by a mutual love of hounds and hunting, and this bond drew them closer as the years went by.
These gentlemen owned hounds of the native Virginia and Kentucky stock of that day, and bred them carefully and judiciously, selecting the best with which to carryon. Although their hounds were of the same breeding, there existed between the two sportsmen that same spirit of friendly rivalry which still characterizes fox hunters the country over. For fifty years they bred from the same stock, taking care to weed out the unworthy and undesirables. Through this the outcross came, the influence of which was so profound as to result in the strain now called the Walker. Too much praise, however, cannot be given to the descendants and relatives of both gentlemen, particularly Mr. Walker, whose close adherence to the breeding principles laid down by their forebears was so basically essential to the development of the strain which now bears the Walker family name. Without a strict program of breeding and the keeping of careful records on the results, this strain would probably have passed into the limbo populated by other good strains which enjoyed, for a time, the limelight of popularity but are not now well remembered.
The Walker Hound was not very prepossessing in appearance. He was a medium-sized black dog with a small tan spot over each eye, a thin coat, and no brush on his tail. He had an exceptional amount of fox-sense, plenty of drive and speed, a clear, short mouth, and over-all, a high-class, game-to-the-core Foxhound.
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