Harrier

Type: Scenthound

Height: 18 - 22 inches.

Weight: 45 - 60 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 7 - 8 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Low. A Harrier loves every person so much that they view them all as an old friend they have not yet met.


Description: The Harrier looks like a smaller version of the English Foxhound and a larger version of the Beagle. Harriers must have all the attributes of a scenting pack hound, including a keen sense of smell and a good nature. They are friendly, gentle, and responsive, making them charming family companions. Raised in a pack, they get along well with other dogs and even bond with them. Harriers are excellent at scenting, chasing and running down prey. They have a high prey drive. They are very loyal and happy around family and pack, and enjoy their company. They are outgoing, enthusiastic and curious. Harriers are true hounds at heart. They are independent, willful, vocal and somewhat stubborn. They are of a medium build, with the hound colors of a Beagle, as well as the resemblance of one. They are solid, muscular dogs that have a square muzzle and round brown eyes. They have floppy drop ears, with paws that are turned in. They come in black, tan and white colors usually, and are very low maintenance dogs. Harriers are excellent with people and other dogs alike, making them highly desirable for a family needing a friendly hound dog.

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Colors: Usually black, tan and white, but all hound colors are acceptable. The are usually tricolor.

Coat: Short, course and hard.

Temperament: Harriers are active, friendly, and stubborn. They get along well with anyone, although they may chase smaller animals. Harriers love to be in their pack of dogs or in their pack of humans. They can be independent and should be trained early on to let them know who's boss. Harriers never bite or snap. They are gentle and affectionate, and good with children. They have great stamina, love to hunt, and tend to wander.

With Children: Yes, with mature children as long as there is no rough housing.

With Pets: Great with other dogs, supervise with cats.

Care and Training: Minimal coat care is required for the Harrier. A routine rubdown with a harsh cloth and massage will release dead hairs. Keep ears clean and nails trimmed. Harriers need regular exercise or they may become fat and lazy. Harriers enjoy the outdoors, but should not be left alone, as they are inclined to wander if they are free. Obedience training is recommended at an early age, as they will become more stubborn as time goes on.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Low. Problem Solving - High. Trainability - may be stubborn and independent.

Special Needs: Exercise, fenced yard, leash and training.

Living Environment: An owner of a Harrier should be an active person, the elderly or disabled may have trouble with their energy level. Best suited for a rural environment, Harriers will do well in a house with a fenced yard. The best owner for this breed would be a dog-experienced, active owner living in a suburban or rural environment.

Health Issues: Harriers are one of the healthiest breeds. Rare cases of hip dysplasia, epilepsy and temperament problems are known to occur, however.

History: The word Harrier means "hound" or "all-round hunting dog" in Norman-Saxon and it is speculated that the Harrier may have traveled to England with the Normans during their invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066. As early as 1260 a pack of Harriers was recorded to have been owned by Sir Elias de Midhope. During the 17th and 18th century Harriers were considered the poor man's alternative to the upper class practice of hunting with packs of foxhounds. They were used specifically to hunt foxes and other prey on foot, and later with their owners on horseback. There was another pack recorded in 1796 owned by Thomas Deane. This pack was called The Cotley Pack of Somerset and may have been the source of Harriers in America today. Many of this breed in England are still distinguished by their pack name. For instance, the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles in England distinguishes types of Harriers as "English Harrier" as well as "West Country Harriers", recognizing the West country of England having a different type of Harrier. Harriers are the descendants of the Talbots, Bloodhounds and Saint Hubert Hounds. They were bred specifically for the hunting of hares. It is thought that the English Foxhound was crossed with Beagle, creating this breed which is identical to the English Foxhound--save for their smaller size. The Harrier is thought to be of very pure blood, only occasionally in the past mixing with other hounds to achieve better speed, etc. Today they exist in the United States but sparsely. They are still used for hunts in England, but are slowly becoming more of a house pet, as most dogs are.

First Registered by the AKC: 1885

AKC Group: Hound

Class: Hound

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 6), KC (GB), UKC