The Harrier!

The Harrier is a hunting dog that looks like a small English foxhound. The head is in proportion to the over-all dog. It has low-set hanging ears which are broad at the base that come to a rounded point and medium sized eyes that are set well apart. It has a long curved upright tail and a neck that is likewise long and strong with no excess skin. Its short coat is thick, hard and glossy. Movement shows perfect coordination between front and hind legs. Its physique is muscular, built with large bone for stamina and strength. It was developed from several different hounds in England. Its name reveals its specialty-the hare. It was considered the poor man’s alternative to foxhounds which were used by the upper class in their practice of hunting with packs of dogs.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
12-14 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
No apartments. Best for rural life.


Exercise Needs:
At least 30 minutes of outdoor activity.

Breed Group:


19 to 22 inches

48 to 60 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black, tan and white

National breed club:
The Harrier Club of America

Harrier Skills

Harriers were originally developed to hunt hare in packs. They were also extensively used in fox hunting. It is an excellent scent hound, able to work tirelessly regardless of terrain. It has proven its adaptability by being a wonderful pet, a show dog, a competitor for agility trials and an excellent performer in the obedience and tracking competitions. The breed is particularly useful in drag hunts where a dog’s speed is not a major consideration.

Harrier Personality

Being a working pack breed, Harriers are outgoing and friendly and are able to work closely with other hounds. However, supervision is required if put together with non-canine pets unless they were raised together from puppy hood. It likes life in a pack with people or dogs but shows more preference for the latter. They can be quite independent, willful and stubborn at times. They display great determination while tracking and cannot be easily swayed from their purpose.

Exercise Needs

Regular exercise is necessary for a Harrier. It is prone to destructiveness when not provided with adequate exercise. Daily walking will suffice but having a backyard for its outdoor activities will even be better. It appreciates occasional changes in scene, scent and company.

Living Conditions

Apartment life is not recommended for Harriers. They thrive best living on areas with acreage. A rural environment is the most suitable but it will find a house with a fenced yard acceptable. A well-fenced yard is a must due to its strong instinct to track scents and roam, possibly even to great distances. It is able to adapt to almost all types of climates.

Grooming Requirements

Harriers require minimum coat care. A harsh cloth can be used for a routine rubdown. It can be followed by a massage to release dead hairs. Give periodic attention to ear and nail care.

Health Issues

A Harrier belongs to a generally healthy breed but is subject to acquired problems and diseases affecting the other breeds. It has very few genetic concerns but may be prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and some eye diseases.

If you liked this dog…

...but would prefer a bigger dog, then the English Foxhound, the Harrier’s look-alike is a natural choice. Both breeds were originally bred for hunting and both exhibit the admirable ability to get along together in packs, notwithstanding their strength and courage.



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