The Harrier is a dog breed of the hound class that resembles an English Foxhound, except that they’re medium in size. It’s not entirely determined how the breed came to existence, only that they have a Norman French connection. Based on this information, it is believed that the earliest type of Harriers originated from hunting dogs in France and Belgium. The breed may be a cross of Talbot hounds, Basset hounds and Bloodhounds. They were developed in England as early as 1260, with The Penistone pack, which was established by Sir Elias Midhope, lasting well into the 18th century.
If Greyhounds are known for their speed, Harriers are known for their stamina. Combined with a keen sense of smell, they will take any opportunity to pursue game. Unlike other hunting dogs, Harriers rely on their amazing stamina to hunt game, particularly hare. They chase until their quarry drops from exhaustion, which makes for easy picking. But this wasn’t always the case. Back in the days, a Harrier hunts at a slower, more methodical manner with the hunter following close by. When hunters rode horses, they were also bred to adapt and have more speed. They were used in fox hunting as well.
As hunting dogs, they have a natural inclination to pursue game or follow a scent. This is why they must be trained early on, so they don’t end up chasing any animal that catches their interest. Harriers require patient yet firm training. They need to know who the pack leader is or they’ll be hard to deal with. The lack of training also results in disaster, what with this breed of hunting dogs having a high threshold of pain. The shock of electronic fences is usually not enough to keep them from crossing boundaries and investigating further. They should also have ample social exposure, so they don’t end up either timid or aggressive. When used as pets, Harriers are often difficult to house train because of their stubborn streak. This is where crate training becomes useful. Crates help prevent formation of bad habits, boredom and separation anxiety.
These hunting dogs are medium in size, with a head that’s proportionate to the rest of their body. They have a muzzle that has almost the same length as the skull. Harriers have short, fine and glossy coat that comes in various colors. They usually have a combination of 3 shades, such as red, white and black. What’s great about the Harrier’s coat is that it’s easy to groom and only shreds at an average, rather than in excess. In terms of height, they generally stand up to 1 foot and 9 inches behind the withers, and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds.
Harriers are sweet-tempered, cheerful and tolerant with people. They’re also very vocal, and will howl as often as possible to say what’s on their mind. Because they love to sniff, trail and explore, they must be kept on a leash or within an enclosed area. They are highly energetic and full of stamina.