September 30, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Harrier is a medium-sized dog that closely resembles a Beagle, but larger. They stand at a height of 21 inches, have muscular bodies, and low-set ears. Their short coats tightly fit their bodies and usually come in tri-color or red and white.

Harriers are highly energetic dogs perfect for active families. They are independent-thinkers and would need someone experienced who will be able to control them. They need space to run about and will be perfectly suited for those living in rural areas.

If their needs are met, Harriers are generally sweet and even-tempered indoors. They make loving family companions – gentle with children, good with other dogs, and friendly with strangers.


Harrier Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHound
Breed SizeMedium
Height19-21 inches
Weight45-60 pounds
Lifespan12-15 years

Harrier Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Harrier Dog History

There have been various debates and theories as to the real origin of Harriers. But there are two origins that really stood out, one believes that the dogs came from France while the other believes that the dogs came from England.

A lot of people think that Harriers originated from France mainly due to the fact that “harrier” is a Norman French word that means “hound”. They also think that Harriers came about by crossing different French breeds including Bloodhounds, Talbot Hounds, and Basset Hounds. Some believe that Harriers might have come from England, mainly because the dogs were first seen there in hunting packs around 1260.

But, regardless where the Harriers originated, there’s only one fact that is not debatable. It’s that Harrier dogs were bred to hunt hare. Early hare hunting requires the hunters to hunt by foot. So, Harriers believed to move slowly and gracefully so their owners could catch up.

It was around the 1700s when the Harriers were recorded to arrive in North America. Sadly, however, despite being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, the dogs didn’t gain much popularity.

Today, they rank 189th in popularity in the US and is one of the rare dog breeds registered by the AKC.

Harrier Temperament

Harriers are friendly, outgoing, and people-oriented dogs. They are just cheerful and generally enjoy anything that happens in their life. They get along with almost everyone – they are good with children, good with other dogs, and good with strangers.

They are probably one of the most non-aggressive dogs you’ll meet which makes them terrible guard dogs. They will welcome anyone who comes in your home, and you’ll surely have fun when you walk him outside to show him off.

However, you shouldn’t forget that these dogs are highly energetic and would require tons of exercise. It’s highly important that you’re active yourself. If you are not able to fulfill this need, they might get bored and can be quite destructive.

These are hunters, so make sure to keep them on a leash to prevent him from chasing an interesting scent. It’s also best to have a securely fenced yard where he can run about friendly.

Early socialization is important to make these dogs more well-rounded. They’re friendly, but if you want them to have a more stable temperament, then get them accustomed to new things always.

Training might also become quite challenging as these dogs are independent thinkers. You need to be someone experienced who can keep them in control by showing consistent and firm leadership. Positive reinforcements are very important to encourage your Harrier to obey you.

Harrier Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: All you need is to provide your Harrier high-quality and well-balanced meals daily so they stay fit and healthy. There are no special dietary requirements, but you should ensure that you only give the right number of calories every day, so your dog doesn’t get overweight. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are essential to the growth of any dog breed. It’s essential that you buy high-quality ingredients that contain these nutrients. Add fruits and vegetables, too, to provide your dog fiber and vitamins. If you want to give dog foods and dog treats, you should buy the premium quality ones. Check the label and make sure that the product doesn’t contain fillers, additives, and by-products. These have very low nutritional value and will not be suitable for your dog. You can always ask your vet for advice when it comes to providing the best nutrition to your Harrier. They’ll be able to create a feeding guide specific to what your dog needs based on your dog’s age, metabolism, and activity level.
  • Grooming: Harriers have short, glossy coats that shed occasionally. The coats are effortless to maintain and would only need weekly brushing using a soft brush to remove dirt and loose hair. Brushing would also help keep shedding to a minimum, and it would improve your bond with your dog. Baths can be given occasionally, but make sure that you only use a gentle shampoo. Usually, bathing your dog would depend on how smelly or messy he gets. But you must make sure that the ears are cleaned regularly to prevent ear infection. Nails should be trimmed regularly and maintained short. Long nails will only cause your dog pain and discomfort, and you don’t want that.
  • Exercise: Harriers are highly energetic dogs who love to be in the field, run around, and chase prey. They need lots of activities, so they can expel any excess energy. This is the only way you can get them to behave indoors. If you’re an active person, Harriers will make great companions on your long walks and hikes. Just make sure to keep them on a leash, or else they’ll run away the moment they scent a prey to chase. If you want to let them lose, make sure it’s in a securely fenced yard. The breed will also be great dogs to get for canine sports. This is the best way they can stimulate their minds and bodies.
  • Health: Harriers are generally healthy dogs, and there are really little problems you’d see in them in terms of health. Probably the only major health condition you’d see in this dog is hip dysplasia. Exercise is necessary to keep their muscles and joints healthy. You may also want to get your dog tested for eye diseases and other hereditary conditions too. We also recommend meeting at least one of your dog’s parents to be aware of any genetic diseases your dog might acquire.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Harriers is 12-15 years.

Famous Harriers

  • Naabeehos Harvey: Harrier dog that won Best in Show at Superstition KC in 1969
  • Lady Elizabeth and Pretty Boy Floyd: Harriers that were presented with Best in Show honors
  • Brentcliffe Jill: All-time top-winning Harrier with 17 Best in Shows and 52 Hound Group wins

Fun Facts about Harriers

  • Harriers originated from England in the year 1260.
  • They were originally developed to hunt hares.
  • These dogs were also known as hare hounds.
  • The name Harrier comes from a Norman word “harrier” which means hound.
  • Despite being from England, the breed is not recognized by the England Kennel Club.
  • They are the most popular hounds in Ireland.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

Check Out Other Hound Dog Breeds:
Afghan Hound, American English Coonhounds, American Foxhound, Basenjis, Basset Hound, Beagle, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Borzois, Cirnechi dell’Etna, Dachshund, English Foxhound, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeens, Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Icelandic Sheepdogs, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Pharaoh Hounds, Plotts, Portuguese Podengo, Redbone Coonhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds, Sloughis, Treeing Walker Coonhound, Whippet

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