Harrier Guide

Hound Dog Breeds

The harrier is a smaller version of the English foxhound, more suited for hunting hares. It has large bone for its size, and is slightly longer than tall. It is a scenting pack hound and should be capable of running with other dogs, scenting its quarry and hunting tirelessly over any terrain for long periods. It has a gentle expression when relaxed and alert when aroused. The coat is short and hard.

The harrier is somewhat more playful and outgoing than the foxhound, but not as much as the beagle. It is amiable, tolerant and good with children. Its first love is for the hunt, and it loves to sniff and trail. It needs daily exercise in a safe area. Most are reserved with strangers. It tends to bay.


FAMILY scenthound

AREA OF ORIGIN Great Britain


ORIGINAL FUNCTION trailing hares

TODAY'S FUNCTION trailing hare and fox

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 19-21 Weight: 45-60

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 19-21 Weight: 35-45


Energy level High energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The harrier needs daily exercise, but its needs can be met with a long walk or jog and a vigorous game in the yard. It can live outdoors in temperate climates as long as it is given warm shelter and bedding. The coat is easily cared for, needing only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
The word harier was Norman for dog or hound, so it is difficult to unravel the ancient history of hounds in general. nonetheless, the harrier may be one of the older scenthounds still in existence today, with references dating from 13th-century England. They probably stem from the long-extinct Talbot and St. Hubert hounds, and perhaps the Brachet and later, the French basset. This lineage produced a dog that tracked hare by scent at a pace that enabled hunters to follow on foot. Thus, although harrier packs were kept by the gentry, poorer hunters without horses could also hunt with harriers, often combining the few dogs each individual had to form an impromptu pack. Smaller English foxhounds may have been bred with these dogs in the early 1800s to develop a
longer-legged, faster dog also capable of running with mounted hunters. The harrier has been known in America since Colonial times. Despite its classic proportions and handy size, it has never been popular as a show dog or pet.