The harrier, the energetic hunter
The origins of this breed are somewhat vague and there are conflicting reports as to the origin of the Harrier. Sources have widely conflicting stories about the origins of this breed. Different sources have thought that perhaps this breed was crossed with a Bloodhound or Basset Hound, or an English Foxhound was crossed with a Fox Terrier and Greyhound. Whatever the case may be, it is certain that it is an ancient breed from Britain and the first pack of this hunting dog was recorded in 1260. This breed was supposed to hunt rabbits and foxes and is usually used in a pack with other hunting dogs.
Today’s Harrier is somewhere between the Beagle and English Foxhound in size. They are similar in size to the English Foxhound, but just a bit smaller. They are a medium-sized dog who stands anywhere between nineteen and twenty-one inches at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere between forty-five and sixty pounds.
Their color patterns can vary greatly and is any combination of white, black and tan. This breed is muscular for their hunts and possesses a short, hard coat. Because their coat is stiff and short, it only needs to be brushed regularly with a hound glove. This breed’s muscular build consists of large bones for stamina and strength. When the dog is relaxes, he is mellow and very low key. However, when he is excited, he is very alert and “ready to go”.
The Harrier gets fed similar to the Foxhound in that, because he is a hunting dog, he should get an oatmeal mash called pudding and horse flesh. Harriers cannot be fed the day before the hunt.
The Harrier’s disposition is consistently cheerful, sweet-tempered, tolerant, and it is excellent with children. He may need to be under close supervision with small children, who, because of his energy level, but no harm intended, could be pushed or knocked down and potentially injured while playing. This dog is active and because of the inherent hunting ability and tendency he likes to explore, sniff, and go trailing, so it is important for him to be on a leash or in an enclosed or fenced in area.
Once of the major challenges in training is the “Come” command because of his distraction to scent. This command should be taught early on.
The Harrier requires a walk every other day to stay fit and must have vigorous running or some type of activity daily. Any kind of long runs and game of fetch allow the dog to get the necessary exercise as well as have fun, so that they can release their never-ending energy. If the dog does not get the proper exercise, they will become destructive and rambunctious and not know what to do with their pent-up energy. They have been known to eat papers and tear apart things to get attention if their energy is not released through running, playing or walking. If he is left along for too long and has a chance to get bored, he is also known to bark incessantly or begin to dig in the yard.