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The Harrier is perhaps one of the canine world's most overlooked entertainers.  Life is always interesting with one around.  It's definitely interesting if they get loose because their nose will lead them into trouble.  It's even interesting if they smell something in the yard (they may dig to get it) or if they hear something fascinating, they may decide to "sing" along.  Beyond that though, the Harrier has a total "Jim Carey" sense of humor being willing to do virtually anything for a laugh include making quite the fool of themselves.  Additionally they are phenomenal family pets being among the most tolerant of dogs.  This doesn't mean its fair or reasonable to allow anyone (child or adult) to mistreat the dog in anyway, just that if accidents happen that the Harrier is among the last of dogs to react.  In addition to its compact size, athleticism and minimal grooming, its a wonder that the Harrier is more widely recognized as a great companion and popular pet.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): HoundsScent Hound Height: 19-21 inches
Weight: 35-45 pounds Longevity: 12-15
Colors: Not considered important so all are acceptable. Coat type: Short, dense, glossy with a brush to the tail.
Recognized Registries: FCI, UKC, AKC, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Similar to the Beagle or Foxhounds but smaller than the Foxhounds and larger than the Beagle. Clearly a well-built athletic dog, square with plenty of spring of rib indicating stamina.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: Gregarious, self-willed, strong work ethic, independent, intelligent,
  with Children: Generally excellent if treated at all reasonably
  with other pets: Questionable with some, they are very close to their working roots and bred to hunt hare after all
  with dogs: Generally exceptional as they are developed to live and hunt in packs
Socialization requirements: Moderate depending on goals. They will bond most strongly with whom they are raised with (be that people or a pack of Harriers) and can tend toward shyness in highly unfamiliar situations so work as a puppy helps build confidence.
Ideal home characteristics: One that recognizes this is not a dog that will likely have a strong recall and may tend toward noisiness but with lots of love, companionship, intelligence and humor to offer.
Temperament Notes: Somewhat independent, loving, focused, intense, intelligent, gentle.
Training requirement: moderate: socialization and basic manners
Trainer notes: As a training partner, the Harrier can be a bit daunting.  With that powerful nose always offering a serious distraction (sort of like mental overload with all those delightful details it asks the brain to sort out) it can be a challenge just to train a Harrier to provide his/her attention much less a desired performance.  Nevertheless, training is a great way to build the fun and relationship you share with your Harrier.  Just keep in mind, they were bred to be hunters that were independent (in that they were not hunting in relation to a person like a Retriever would be) so it can be difficult for them to reconcile the idea of "work" with looking to someone for instruction.  Their instinct tells them what to do!  However, being a challenge to train is not exclusive from being intelligent.  The Harrier is very clever and entertaining, it's probably worth it to attempt to train one just for the show!
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1130
Country of Origin: Britian
Original Function: Hunter of Hare
History: Assumed to be descended from Greek Hounds. Once hunting with horseback appeared, a cross with a small foxhound was done to increase speed. Still, very little has changed in nearly 1000 years with this breed.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: oversized, excessively refined
Health Notes: hip dysplasia
Health Testing: OFA, CERF and Thyroid Panel
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!
  • How long have you had Harriers?
  • Why do you have Harriers (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of an Harrier?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Harrier?
  • How would you describe the ideal Harrier home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Harrier?
  • How do you assist or help Harriers in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: - Harrier Club of America Rescue

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: Several of the Standards for the Harrier from different parts of the world/registries are listed here.  Some of the links are bad so other standards are offered here. - FCI (European) Standard of the Harrier - Standard of the Harrier Club of America

    Breeder Ethics: - Harrier Club of America Code of Ethics

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