Resembling a Beagle or a Foxhound, the Harrier is a Friendly and Devoted Hunting Dog

Playful and personable, the Harrier is a hound with a very good nose whose original purpose was to hunt hare in England. Its appearance is very much like a large Beagle or a small English Foxhound. However, the Harrier is not definitively related to either. It's a scent hound that hunts fox and hare.

Friendly and outgoing, the Harrier is not an aggressive dog, as is true of most hounds. However, the Harrier can be stubborn – as sweet and gentle as it most certainly is. Nonetheless, this amazing working dog has an independent streak since this breed was developed with characteristics that would enable it to be able to think for itself and be away from human direction, yet still perform admirably.


No one actually knows the Harrier’s true origin. English dog expert Stonehenge thought that perhaps the Harrier was developed by crossing the Greyhound with the "Old Southern Hound," now extinct; the Old Southern Hound is thought to be ancestor to all Great Britain scent hounds, although its ancestry is also unknown. Of note is that the word "Harrier" or "Harier" is of French origin and was originally used to denote any type of hound dog. Other possible influences on the Harrier breed include the Fox Terrier, the Talbot Hound, and the Basset Hound, all originating from what is now modern Belgium and France.

Originally, this breed was developed to run in packs with hunters following them on foot. The first pack of Harrier-type dogs dates back to the year 1260, with members and descendants of the famous Penistone pack in existence for at least 500 years – well into the 1700s. As fox hunting became fashionable on horseback, the Harrier breed evolved to have more speed.

In England, only hunting organizations can own Harriers today; these are registered with the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles, which was established in 1891. Although many of the foundation dogs were actually thought to be small Foxhounds, some foundation Harriers also appear in top Beagle pedigrees.

Harriers were imported to the United States as early as the 1700s, with several packs becoming established and recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. At least two of these were also listed in England's Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles.

Despite being gentle, intelligent, devoted family dogs, Harriers are not popular. There were only about 950 Harriers registered with the AKC between 1884 and 1994. First registered by the American Kennel Club in 1885 and by the Harrier Club of America in 1992, it ranks 165 among AKC-registered breeds and is a member of the Hound Group.


The Harrier looks like a large, sturdy Beagle or a small English Fox Hound. The body and head are proportional, with an impressive forehead and moderate stop. The nose is black with wide nostrils. The ears are widely set and "droopy," hanging down next to the cheeks, and the tail is long and set high. The short, glossy, fine coat comes in any color, but is often tricolor: red and white, tan and white, or lemon and white. In adulthood, the Harrier stands 19 to 21 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 40 and 60 pounds.


This is where the Harrier shines. In addition to being an independently motivated and talented working dog, this is a dog that can also be extremely devoted to you. Because the Harrier is so self-reliant by instinct and as a result of its breeding, you should enroll your puppy in obedience classes as soon as you can, by no later than two months of age. This is not a dog that will be unquestionably submissive, just sweet. Your pet wants your company, but has absolutely no problem being alone. Because of that, the Harrier can be somewhat stubborn and have a mind of its own.

As with any scent hound, be careful. These dogs are bred to hunt – which means that your independently- minded pet will go off on its own at the slightest opportunity. You must keep your pet in a securely fenced yard with no breaches, as the Harrier is also a very good problem-solver and will find any way to escape if you leave anything open at all.

Harriers also like to dig, so instead of trying to thwart this instinct – unsuccessfully, I might add – give your pet its own place to dig. It will save you many headaches.

Besides that, the Harrier is all hound. Gentle, compliant to some extent – if it pleases the dog – and dedicated to you, the Harrier desires your companionship and is extremely social with other people and animals. Avoid keeping pets around that are natural prey animals – like rabbits – to avoid any easily preventable tragedies.

Another thing to realize is that the Harrier barks and can bay pretty loudly, too, so make sure you keep your neighbors happy by doing the best you can to train your pet not to do it at night. Although the Harrier could be a good guard dog, its tendency is to bark and chase any culprits, so any guarding is best left to a breed that has actually been developed for that purpose.

Finally, although the Harrier is pretty relaxed indoors, apartment living isn't its speed, not least because of its relatively "large" size. Since this dog can get rambunctious, you both would be more comfortable in a larger house which has a place for your dog to run outside; at least an average-sized backyard should be available. Harriers make wonderful jogging or running companions, and you should also take your pet on a couple of daily walks.


Harriers are pretty healthy, but like many dogs can be prone to hip dysplasia; your dog may develop pain or lameness in both rear legs, or you may not notice any signs of pain at all. Older dogs can develop arthritis. To avoid this problem, check to see that your puppy's parents have been screened for hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Improvement Program. If they have it, they should not be bred. Although hip dysplasia is hereditary, the actual onset can be triggered by too rapid growth (feed dogs modestly but adequately), or injuries that happen because the dog jumps or runs on slick floors.

The average life expectancy for this breed is 10 to 12 years.


Grooming is easy with your pet. Simply brush or comb the short, sleek coat occasionally to remove dead hair and bathe only if necessary. The Harrier is an "average" shedder.



Retrieved July 29, 2015.

Harrier (dog).

Retrieved July 29, 2015.

Harrier Dog Breed.

Retrieved July 29, 2015.

Harrier (Harehound).

Retrieved July 29, 2015.

Meet the Harrier.

Retrieved July 29, 2015.


Retrieved July 29, 2015.

For Buyers

  • Dog breeders
  • Cat breeders
  • For Breeders

  • Advertise with us
  • Our Company

  • Home
  • About us
  • Question
    If you have any questions call us at 571-895-6407, Chat with us or send us an email.
    If you have any questions call us at 571-895-6407, Chat with us or send us an email.
    Follow Us:facebookinstagramtwitterpinterest