With references reaching back to thirteenth-century England, Harriers may be one of the older scent dogs still in existence today. They are thought to have descended from the Talbot and St. Hubert hounds, as well as the Basset and later, the French Basset. According to one source, the breed was created by crossing English Foxhounds with Fox Terriers and Greyhounds.
Another is the Harrier, which is thought to be little more than a bred-down form of the English Foxhound. Despite the fact that England has a large number of working Harriers, they are not well recognized. Harrier is a moniker that reveals the breed’s specialization. In England, the Harrier has a rich history of being a popular working pack dog.
Harriers are between the size of a Beagle and an English Foxhound, and were developed primarily to pursue rabbits, though they have also been used for fox hunting. In Ireland, the Harrier is perhaps the most prevalent hound used during hunts. In Ireland, it is more usually used to hunt both foxes and rabbits, with certain groups focusing solely on foxes. The American Kennel Club first recognized this breed in 1885, and it belongs to the Hound Group. Although the elite retained Harrier packs, lesser hunters lacking horses could also hunt with Harriers, often uniting their few dogs to make an improvised band.
The Harrier is a moderate hound dog breed that is employed for trailing hares in order to hunt them. It looks similar to an English Foxhound but is slightly smaller than a Beagle. The muzzle is robust and square, and the cranium is broad. The eyes are brown or hazel, and the rounded ears are pendent. The nose is dark and broad. The Harrier has a flat topline and is somewhat longer than tall.
The tail is average in length and carried high on the back, but it is not curled. In scissors or even bites, the teeth should meet. The front toes may bend inward, and the feet appear tight and cat-like. Harriers stand 19 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 45 to 65 pounds as adults. They shed, have short hair and drooping ears, and are available in a variety of color patterns. The coat is thin and rough.
The Harrier is a happy, sweet-tempered bird that is patient with people and good with youngsters. This pack dog gets along well with other dogs, but non-canine pets should be handled with caution unless it has been raised with them since puppyhood. It prefers to be part of a pack of people, dogs, or both. Keep this energetic dog on a leash or in a secure contained environment since it enjoys exploring, sniffing, and trailing.
When bored or lonely, the Harrier has a tendency to bay or bark. This scenting pack hound was designed to run with other dogs, scenting prey, and hunting for lengthy periods of time across any terrain. Indoors, they’re moderately energetic and thrive on space. Because of their hunting and tracking instincts, they have a proclivity to roam.
Training and Caring
Daily activity, such as long, vigorous walks or runs, is required of the Harrier. Harriers can become hyperactive, overweight, or destructive if they don’t get enough exercise. While this breed was developed to run and work all day and cannot be content with a purely sedentary lifestyle, they acclimatize well to the average household.
The coat is simple to maintain, requiring only periodic brushing to remove dead hair. Harriers are social pack hounds who do not perform well when left alone for extended periods of time. The majority of dogs prefer to play with another dog.
The average lifespan of this breed is 12–15 years. This breed is known to have hip dysplasia and epilepsy.