Harriers look like swollen Beagles, all muscle and power packed in their bodies. A packhound at heart, this dog has a playful, silly side and will be happiest in a home with other dogs to keep her company.
This breed is somewhat rare and very vocal — you'll always know when something's on your Harrier's mind. And we don't just mean barking, either: expect grumbles, moans, and other noises to convey the broad range of this pup's emotions.
Originally from Great Britain, this medium-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 45-60 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Origin: Great Britain
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Bark Factor: I love to talk!
Energy level A marathoner
Exercise needs An hour or more a day
Playfullness and Games A few times per day would be divine
Attachment to People Give me some love when you get home, maybe we'll snuggle later
Behavior with Other Dogs I like being part of a pack
Behavior with Other Small Pets I may be ok, when socialized early and often
Behavior Toward Strangers I'm a single-family or person dog at heart
Trainability I love to please
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I'm not very protective
Grooming needs Easy maintenance, brushes and baths
Cold tolerance I'll probably need a jacket in the cold
Heat tolerance A warm day can be fun, but not too hot please.
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A HARRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Harriers are social butterflies: they're friendly, outgoing dogs who want to be around people (including supervised kids) and animals as much as possible.
WHAT IS HARRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
These working dogs want to run and sniff and chase as much as you'll let them — preferably at least an hour a day. Harriers are scenthounds, though, so you'll need to run with her on a leash or find a well-fenced area for the two of you to play. Otherwise, this breed will lead you over hill and dale chasing the next best smell. Some are also prone to digging, so again, we mean a seriously well-fenced area.
Harriers are very prone to barking, so you'll always know when someone's at the door. This friendly furball is far more likely to aid and abet than intimidate and arrest though, so don't count on her to fend off intruders. And don't count on your sandwich to still be on the counter if you walk away, either — Harriers are notorious counter surfers.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A HARRIER?
These smarty-paws learn quickly and respond well to training, especially when there are treats involved. But you can't train that nose. An intriguing smell will outweigh a lifetime of training almost every time, which means your Harrier will probably not be a great candidate for off-leash play outside well-fenced or rural areas.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO HARRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Harriers have a dense, short coat that sheds seasonally. This breed is an easy keeper: you can get by with weekly brushing and baths as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO HARRIERS HAVE?
Harriers are a sturdy and hardy breed. Some develop hip dysplasia or eye ailments, but both are rare.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE HARRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Harriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Harrier! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A HARRIER'S BEST DAY?
Running out in the country in a pack with a lot of other dogs, chasing an interesting smell, getting treats and belly rubs for doing a good job, and then lounging with you by the fire would be how the Harrier would prefer to spend her birthday.
SHOULD I ADOPT A HARRIER?
These are all-weather, all-terrain dogs who will do best with a home and family that can give them the time and space to run and play. They want to spend time with their friends, be they human or canine, as much as possible. If you give them half a chance, your Harrier will tell you exactly why they're the perfect dog for you — they definitely speak their minds!
Have you decided that a Harrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.