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A tri-color Harrier
A tri-color Harrier
Country of origin
United Kingdom
FCI: Group 6 Section 1 #295  
AKC: Hound  
ANKC: Group 4 (Hounds)  
CKC: Group 2 (Hounds)
NZKC: Hounds  
UKC: Scenthound Breeds  

The Harrier is a small dog breed of the hound class, used for hunting rabbits ("hares"). It resembles a foxhound but is smaller.


The Harrier is similar to the English Foxhound, but smaller. It is a muscular hunting hound with a short, hard coat. It has large bones for stamina and strength. The Harrier is slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The tail is medium-length, carried high, but is not curled over the back. The skull is broad with a strong square muzzle. The rounded ears are pendant, and the eyes are either brown or hazel. The wide nose is black. The expression is mellow when the dog is relaxed and alert when he is excited. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The feet are tight and cat-like, and the front toes may turn inward.


The Harrier is more playful and outgoing than the Foxhound, but not as much as the Beagle. Cheerful, sweet-tempered, and tolerant, it is excellent with children. This pack dog is good with other dogs, but should be supervised with noncanine pets unless it is raised with them from puppyhood. It prefers life in a pack with people, dogs, or both. This active dog likes to go exploring, sniffing, and trailing, so be sure to keep it on a leash or in a safe enclosed area. Some Harriers like to bay.


This breed's lifespan is generally 10-12 years.


Sources have widely conflicting stories about the origins of this breed. According to one, the earliest Harrier types were crossed with Bloodhounds, the Talbot Hound, and even the Basset Hound. According to another, the breed was probably developed from crosses of the English Foxhound with Fox Terrier and Greyhound. And yet another, the Harrier is said to be simply a bred-down version of the English Foxhound.

In any case, today's Harrier is between the Beagle and English Foxhound in size and was developed primarily to hunt hare, though the breed has also been used in fox hunting. The name, Harrier, reveals the breed's specialty. Neither hare nor fox can escape its exceptional sense of smell, its cunning, and its unequaled boldness. Prey chased by the inexhaustible Harrier have been known to collapse from sheer exhaustion. The Harrier is still fairly rare in the United States, but has a long history of popularity as a working pack dog in England.


The Harrier is a very energetic breed. It needs plenty of exercise.

External links

Harrier Club of America

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