The Harrier
A Gentlemen's Scenthound

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Weight: 35 — 60 lbs
Height: 19” — 21”
AKC Rank 2008 #153
Lifespan: 12—15yrs
Group Hound
Origin: Great Brittan

Dog Breed Info - The Harrier

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Breed Overview

Origin: Middle Ages. Original function: Trailing hare. Today, Trailing hare, fox. Colors: Any.

The Harriar excels as a scenthound and can track hare and fox all day and enjoy it. Exactly where this dog came from is sketchy. “Herrier” is the Norman word for hound or “dog” and so it is impossible to trace this breed back among the many hounds that existed. This is probably one of the oldest of all scent hounds still in existence. With references dating from 15th century England, it may come from the long extinct Talbot and St. Hubert hounds and maybe the Brachet and later the French Basset hounds. Other documents suggest this is only a bred down version of the English Foxhound as it is smaller than the Foxhound. Either way, if produced a dog that could track hare (and fox) at a pace suitable for hunters to track on foot, making it popular with horseless hunters. This breed has been in America since Colonial times and was recognized by the AKC in 1885, It has never been popular in the States but has had some following in Europe and especially England. Today, it is quite a rare breed.

Sorry for poor quality photo of the Harrier.
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This dog enjoys learning and is fairly easy to train but can be stubborn at times.. Use clicker training and positive reinforcement as they are sensitive and don’t to well with harsh criticism. Use the Cesar Millan method too, as that is another excellent way, especially for obedience training and calming excitable dogs.. This breed has longer legs than the English Foxhound but has simplifier traits to that and the Beagle. This dog has been known in America since Colonial times

Crate Training

Want to crate train your puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Harrier puppy can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. Decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Harrier is an excellent sighthound that loves to sniff and hunt. This dog looks a lot like a small Foxhound but is more playful and outgoing. Like the Foxhound, its’ first love is to trail and hunt. It is a pack animal meaning the breed needs to be with other dogs or people all the time. They are tolerant, pleasant and do well with children. Like the Foxhound, you have to keep him on a leash or in a secure yard at all times or he will pick up a scent and go chasing off after a rabbit or whatever. This dog bays and howls, typical of the hound. A LOT of stimulating exercise is needed and this dog must be kept busy. If left alone too long or he gets bored, he can tear the house apart.

The dog must be heavily socialized at a young age and the owner nerds to be a firm, confident, consistent alpha-leader in the eyes of the dog or he’ll take over and run the household.

It would be helpful to have a second dog to keep him company and to play with as that could solve problems of separation anxiety and boredom..

If you happen to get a Harrier with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Good with other dogs. The Harrier is used to hunting in packs and craves the company of either dogs or humans or both.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Fair. Fine with dogs, but non-canine animals such as ferrets and gerbils could be a problem. Some can get used to house cats if introduced slowly.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Reserved with strangers. Loyal to family, but some are cautious about people they don’t know.


Very playful. Loves games and loves to be part of anything the family is doing., A great little camper but you have to keep your eye on him because he will roam if he catches a scent.


Quite affectionate. Don't look for affection until AFTER the dog has been sufficiently exercised.

Good with children?

Very good with children. The Harrier is tolerant, playful and affectionate and one of the better choices for families with kids, except that the dog is hard to find and rare.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Possibly needs too much exercise for a senior. If the senior is into jogging and can throw a ball and do some training ion the side, it might work out. Otherwise, no.

Living environment

A Very active dog. House with large fenced backyard and doggie door or a farm or ranch are best. The dog needs to roam and sniff. This is NOT a city dog! NO apartments or flats.

Energy level

High energy. Can run and chase animals for hours and this dog can be destructive if he doesn't get his daily dose of exercise and play time.

Exercise needs, daily

A great jogging partner, or try hiking or bike riding with the dog on leash. Or, two good walks daily with some play time are needed, always on leash or in a closed area.

Games of Frisbee or fetch with a ball are good, also, training exercises help too.


Excellent watchdog. Some bay or howl, though.

Guard dog

No, not a serious guardian.


Sheds some, moderate.


Brush occasionally with a stiff bristle brush. Bathe only as necessary.

Harrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Harrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Harrier Breeders with puppies for sale. Note: As I write this, the site is showing only 4 breeders in the USA but that might be enough.

Harrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Harrier Rescue group in your area, here is a link that might help:
Petfinder - Harrier Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is showing only 71 dogs available to adopt in the USA. That might be enough, but in case you want more selection, go online and search for Harrier Rescue or Clubs or kennels. This is a VERY rare breed. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and save for possible future reference.

Dog Health Issues For The Harrier
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Harrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

The Harrier is probably under-reported since it is a rare breed. These are the only two reported illnesses documented that I can find:

  • Hip dysplasia CHD- Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Harrier great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Epilepsy—A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up in dogs at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age.

Other health problems could occur with your Harrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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