Temperament: Friendly, Outgoing, People-Oriented
- Height: 19-21 inches
- Weight: 45-60 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
- Group: Hound Group
The Harrier is a swift, prey-driven pack hound of medium size first bred in medieval England to chase hare. Outgoing and friendly, the Harrier is much larger than the Beagle but smaller than another close relative, the English Foxhound
Developed in England to hunt hare in packs, Harriers must have all the attributes of a scenting pack hound. They are very sturdily built with large bone for their size. They must be active, well balanced, full of strength and quality, in all ways appearing able to work tirelessly, no matter the terrain, for long periods. Running gear and scenting ability are particularly important features. The Harrier should, in fact, be a smaller version of the English Foxhound.
About the Harrier
Somewhat resembling a Beagle with a gym membership, Harriers are larger, more powerful hounds than their diminutive cousin—but smaller than the English Foxhound, a breed used in their development. Standing between 19 and 21 inches at the shoulder, Harriers have the timeless look of a working pack hound: a short, smart-looking coat; low-set, velvety ears; an irresistibly sweet face; and enough muscle and sinew to endure a long day’s hunt. A well-built Harrier will cover ground with a smooth, efficient gait.
NUTRITION The Harrier should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with overly high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.
GROOMING The Harrier’s short, glossy coat requires minimal maintenance. A weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or a hound glove will help to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best, and an occasional bath(using a gentle shampoo) can help keep him from having a doggy odor. The ears should be regularly inspected and cleaned if needed with soft gauze and an ear-cleaning solution—the dog’s breeder or the veterinarian can recommend a good brand to use. The nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort and problems walking and running.
EXERCISE Harriers were bred specifically to spend hours in the field chasing after prey, so they need ample exercise every day—without sufficient exercise, a Harrier may become bored and destructive. If they get all the activity they need, they can be adaptable to a range of home situations. While they are happiest living indoors with their human family, they make great companions on long walks or hikes. Because they were bred to hunt and chase animals and to follow a scent, they should only be allowed loose in areas that are securely fenced, and any walks must be taken on a leash. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in canine sports such as tracking, rally, coursing ability tests, and other activities that can be enjoyed together by dog and owner.
TRAINING Like many other hounds, Harriers are loving and amiable but also tend to have an independent nature, and they can be stubborn. Training takes consistency, patience, and an understanding of scent hound temperament. They respond well to calm, loving, but firm leadership. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the Harrier grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.
HEALTH While Harriers are generally healthy dogs, there are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed. Responsible breederstest their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and the preservation of the breed’s qualities. A Harrier’s ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation