Harrier dog is medium-sized, friendly, and people-oriented and it was originally bred for hare hunting. Many people mistake this dog for their cousin Beagle, but in fact, they are much bigger than Biggles and a lot smaller than their other cousin – English Foxhound.
FUN FACT: Many people call these dogs „Beagles on steroids“ because of their appearance.
Today Harriers are pretty rare dogs and they are still used for hunting purposes because of their excellent sense of smell and work ethic.
19-21 in (48-53 cm)
45-60 lb (20-27 kg)
These are many theories on how these dogs were developed. The most common one is that Harrier dogs were established in England in the 1200s. These dogs were originally used to hunt hare and the hunter would follow them on foot.
When hunting was developing, and hunters were riding horses, Harrier dogs had to adapt to moving at a faster speed.
Today, in the US Harrier dogs are mostly companions, but you can find them hunting rabbits and other games that are too fast for their cousin – Beagle.
Dog Breed Characteristics
- Group 6 Scent hounds and related breeds. Section 1.2 Medium sized scent hounds. With working trial.
- Height: From 19- 21.5 in (48 - 55 cm)
- Height: 19-21 in (48-53 cm)
- Weight: 45-60 lb (20-27 kg)
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
- Group: Hound Group
Harrier dogs have a glossy and short coat that doesn't require much maintenance. A few brushed during the week will be enough to keep him looking best. Make sure that you use a soft brush so you don't hurt your dog. To remove a doggy odor only occasional bathes will be enough.
The rest of the care for this dog is pretty basic:
- brush their teeth regularly to prevent gum diseases and to secure a fresh breath
- trim their nails- if the dog doesn't wear them out naturally
- weekly check their ears for any signs of infections
Harriers were specifically bred to hunt so they have a lot of energy and stamina. With that said you will have to provide your dog with a fair amount of daily activities if you want him to be happy and satisfied. They are the happiest when they work, but long walks and hikes will also do the trick.
Harriers will be the happiest in a house with a big yard where they can explore and wander around. If you fail to meet their daily activities they can easily become bored and develop destructive behavior.
TIP: These dogs enjoy all fun activities where they can participate with their owner. Canine sports such as rally and tracking are a great way for your dog to spend his energy and to have quality time with his owner.
Harriers are intelligent but independent and in most cases stubborn. When training these dogs you will have to be firm (but never harsh), calm, and have a lot of patience. Harsh training methods with this dog will not work.
Socialization will play a big part in this dog's life. If you start with the socialization process from an early age you can be sure that your dog will develop into a well-behaved dog with whom you will not have any problems later in life.
FUN FACT: These dogs like to howl.
Since Harriers have a strong prey drive you should never let your dog off-leash if he is in the unsecured area, because he will easily find some scent to follow and wander around.
Harriers are an excellent choice for a family with kids. They can play with them for hours because of their high energy. However, no matter how good your dog is you should always teach your kids how to properly play with the dog, so any unwanted behavior wouldn't emerge.
Harriers and other animals
Although these dogs were bred for hunting, they can get along with other dogs and animals. It is advised that you be very careful around smaller animals cause he could start chasing them. If they are brought together in the same household Harriers will learn how to live with a smaller animal.
Harriers are healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. However, they are prone to some health conditions that you should be aware of. That doesn't mean that your dog will develop them, but it is a lot better than you know them. Harriers are mostly prone to hip dysplasia and ear infections.
Because of their floppy ears, these dogs are more prone to develop some ear infections, but if you regularly check your dog, you can discover infection on time.
To be completely sure that you are getting the dog with the best possible health, we advise you to only buy a dog from a responsible and official Harrier breeder, because they regularly test their dog to ensure that their puppies will be healthy.
Harriers are excellent hunting dogs but also family companions. Either way, if you are considering getting this dog you must be prepared that you will have to wait for him. Since these dogs are still rare there is a big chance that you will be put on a waiting list. Harriers can adapt to a variety of situations, and the most important thing is to provide them with enough daily exercise. For sure you will not make a mistake if you decide that is the dog for you and your family.
World Dog Finder team