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BaxterBoo Blog
April 14, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Harrier

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  • Height: 19"- 21”
  • Weight: 40-60 pounds
  • Historical function: Hare hunter, often working in packs
  • Modern function: Hunter, companion
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Harrier, or Harehound, is thought to have been bred down in size from a Foxhound, so they have a strong resemblance to each other. They have short hair, long ears, and a strong, square muzzle. The nose is black and wide. This is a solidly built dog both in bone and muscle for stamina in the field. It is slightly longer than it is tall. The legs are long with compact feet. The tail is medium in length and set high, though it does not curl over the body. The short coat comes in a variety of colors including tricolor, lemon and white, red and white, or tan and white, as well as others.

History of the Breed:

The Harrier was probably bred down from the Foxhound to create a dog easier to follow on foot while trailing hares. The breed also does well with fox. Developed in England, this dog has also been in America since colonial times. It is much more common in England and Ireland, however, where it is still used as a pack dog. 


The Harrier has humorously been described as a Beagle on steroids. It is friendly, active, and as a pack dog, gets along well with other dogs. As a hunting dog, this breed should be monitored around smaller non-canine pets. The Harrier is excellent with children. This active dog loves sniffing, trailing, and exploring and should not be trusted off leash except in a safe area. Thrives on acreage. In suburban life, this dog needs daily exercise to be kept out of mischief. This dog is more outgoing and less reserved than the Foxhound, but not quite as playful and people-oriented as the Beagle. Can have a tendency to bay. This is an independent thinker and requires calm, confident, patient training.

  • Best suited for: Active families, joggers, rural living. Not suitable for apartment living unless given intense daily adequate exercise. This dog needs a very securely fenced yard.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog loves exploring acreage. Needs a pack, whether it be human or canine, or both.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat needs brushing to remove dead hair. Average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk, preferably a jog.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia but is generally healthy.

Breed Club Links: Harrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Any of our rabbit toys, but the Doggles Cast of Characters Brown Rabbit is a favorite!

Have any stories about a Harrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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