The Harrier dog breed

Harrier dogs

The Harrier dog is a medium-sized hunting hound that was bred in the United Kingdom for hinting large game. The Harrier dog was created by crossing a Beagle and an English Foxhound, which accounts for its size and foxy appearance. In fact, the Harrier’s original name was “Beagle Hound” because of its resemblance to both breeds. However, over time the word “Beagle” disappeared from usage and it became known as just “Harrier”. Which makes sense since this dog has been used primarily to hunt hare rather than other types of prey. And so today they are more commonly referred to as simply harriers or beagles rather than beagle hounds.

About the Harrier breed

Harrier dogs are a swift, prey-driven pack hound of medium size first bred in medieval England to chase hares.

The Harrier was smaller than a close relative of the English Foxhound, a breed used to develop the harrier breed.

A well-built Harrier is more powerful than their diminutive cousin.

The Harrier dog breed is taller than the Beagle but shorter than English Foxhounds, and a more muscular breed than the beagle, which has a long-lasting gait and a smart coat to cover the ground with a smooth, efficient gait.

Harriers have a short, smart, smart-looking coat; low-set, velvety ears; an irresistibly sweet face; and enough muscle and sinew to endure a long day’s hunt.

A harrier’s temperament is as intelligent and sweet-natured a dog as their outside appearance.

The Harrier dog is generally easy to train, gentle around children and family dogs, with an excellent nose for sniffing out rabbits.

The Harrier dog temperament is friendly but harriers will be more mouthy if not socialized early on in life.

There is a lot of information on the American Kennel Club website about the Harrier breed. The American Kennel Club class the Harrier dog breed as a hunting dog that was bred to hunt hares. They are considered to be “medium-sized” dogs, and they typically weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. They have a lifespan of 12-14 years. Some of their common health problems include hip dysplasia, eye problems, and ear infections.


The Harrier is one of the older scenthounds still in existence today and a rare breed.

The Harrier dog is thought to be a descendent of Talbot and St Hubert hounds that were also bred for hunting hares.

The Harrier dog was created in 14th-century England to hunt hares with a speed that enabled hunters to follow on foot.

The Harrier dog has appeared in America since colonial times.

The name Harrier refers to the late 13th century Harrier hound which was used by the gentry to harry hare.

Harrier dogs are not the same as foxhounds and Beagles harriers (although they share some similarities).

Form and function

The Harrier is the smaller version of the English Foxhoundother dogs bred to be suited for hunting hares.

The Harrier dog has large bones and is slightly longer than tall and is a scenting pack hound for its size.

A Harrier Dog
A male Harrier dog

Harrier Temperament and Personality

A Harrier does best when he has human or canine company all the time.

When they’re not out hunting and don’t have anything interesting to do, Harriers can become destructive.

Start training your puppy the day you bring him home, and start socializing him among family and friends until he’s been trained.

Train your dog with firmness, consistency, and positive reinforcement in the form of praise and food rewards.

When a Harrier dog is eight weeks old, he will soak up everything you can teach him, so start training as early as possible.

The basics of Harrier Grooming

The short, dense coat of a Harrier dog is easy to groom.

Brushing the dog with a hound mitt or curry brush will remove dead hairs and distribute skin oils.

Bathe the dog as needed but not too often. Trim the nails every week or two.

Brush the teeth with vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Brush the rounded hanging ears clean and dry, and keep the ears clean.


The Harrier tends to be more outgoing and playful than the Foxhound, but not as playful as the Beagle and other dogs.

The dog is amiable and tolerant, good with children, and good with strangers. It is required daily exercise in the area or on a leash.

Most are reserved with strangers but tend to bark and bay if bored or lonely.

What to expect when caring for a harrier

Owning a dog is not just a privilege; it’s a responsibility.

Ownership of a dog requires a commitment to the animal’s well-being and a willingness to do what is necessary for its happiness. They depend on us for food and shelter and deserve much more.


Harriers are very gregarious pack hounds and do best when they live with other harriers or at least other dogs.

A harrier needs room to run and explore but has the tendency to wander off if allowed out of sight for long periods of time

Most are happiest with another dog to play with.

The coat is easily cared for, needing only occasional brushing to remove dead hair. Harrier needs daily exercise with a long walk or jog and vigorous play in your yard.

What you need to know about Harrier Health

Run, don’t walk from any dog breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies.

A reputable breeder will be honest about health problems and the incidence with which they occur.

Hip dysplasia is the main problem seen in the breed.

If breeders don’t know that a health problem has cropped up in their line, it can’t be done to eradicate it.

If a breeder says she’s never had problems in her line, then you should go find a more rigorous breeder.

Report any serious health problems to your breeder’s breeder, who can’t take steps to eradicate them, or any serious disease.

Choosing a Harrier Breeder

The Harrier Club of America has an ethical code of ethics to encourage good breeders to match you with the right puppy.

The American Kennel Club may also have a harrier breeder list.

Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and being able to pay online with a credit card.

Ask your veterinarian for referrals to a reliable source for healthy puppies.

An adult dog might be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy.

You can find an older dog through breeders or shelters.

If you want to adopt a dog that needs a new home, you should try and find a good breeder in the U.S.

Did you know?

The Harrier may have been brought to England when the Normans invaded in 1066.

The breed is primarily a pack hound, with a scent hound temperament, but that is no barrier to his ability to be a companion dog.

Harriers are sweet and affectionate, but because of their hunting heritage, they are a highly energetic and active dog breed.

First-time dog owners should be careful to maintain a securely fenced yard to ensure that he doesn’t escape and go hunting alone.

Harrier dogs like to ‘talk” and will communicate with you using moans and groans, grumbles, mumbles.

A dog from Harrier Rescue or Shelter Adoption

You can start talking with local experts in your area about your desire to adopt a dog.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides.

You should also ask breed rescue groups about any health conditions the dogs may have or are a valuable resource for advice.

Take your dog to your veterinarian soon after adoption, and you can set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

How long do harrier hounds live?

A common illness they may have is canine hip dysplasia, where the thigh bone doesn’t fit the hip joint.

It’s also best that a Harrier dog pup’s parents have clearances for elbow and hypothyroidism. Other health issues Harrier dogs may have are epilepsy, hound ataxia, anal furunculosis, and perianal fistula.

If a Harrier wouldn’t die of old age, it can be due to a pre-existing health issue or cancer.

A puppy’s breeding stock should be cleared of eye problems from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) And puppies shouldn’t be allowed to run for long periods on hard surfaces until their bones are fully developed.

Are Harriers good family dogs?

The Harrier dog breed makes a good family-friendly pet.

They’ll be alert and wary of strangers and can get along well with cats.

As pack dogs, they won’t have any issue with living and playing with other dogs.

Due to their being bred for hunting rabbits and hares, they have a strong prey drive and may go after your hamster, mice, or bird.

They’re amiable canines that will greet guests, but don’t have issues with socialization with other possessions without early socialization and are great for kids.

How much does a Harrier dog cost?

Purebred Harrier puppies can be priced between $1,000 and $2,500.

Avoid pet stores, puppy mills, and backyard breeders by researching and knowing the right questions to ask before signing a contract.

What does a Harrier look like?

The harrier hound is a distinct breed and is a sturdy, well-balanced dog that enables them to hunt for prolonged periods.

They have floppy ears on their pronounced heads, with alert and dark hazel eyes or brown eyes.

The forequarters should have sloping shoulders above straight, bony legs.

Harrier dogs have a wide nose with prominent nostrils for keeping scents, and square jaws, muscular necks and bodies, and level toplines.

Their tail stands upright to help others know their location.

The harriers’ white or off-white markings on their chest, feet, muzzle, throat, stomachs, and tails help them to stand out in the woods.

Common colors for harrier hounds include black & tan harrier dogs with brown eyes.

What is the difference between a beagle and a Harrier?

Harriers and Beagles are two different breeds of dogs. The harrier and beagle are both hound-like breeds that originated in England and used as hunting dogs to hunt game such as hares and rabbits.

Both beagles and the harrier dog breeds have a strong hunting drive that includes chasing small animals with speed, endurance, and agility.

Both beagles and harriers make good family pets.

While The main difference between the two breeds is that harriers are larger and heavier than beagles. They also have a longer, more powerful neck.

A harrier, beagle, and other hounds
A harrier, beagle, and other hounds


Harrier hounds are highly energetic, active dogs, and an intelligent breed, so make sure you have a securely fenced yard. Harriers can be sweet and affectionate but because of their hunting heritage, they’re also prone to escape if given the chance. To avoid any issues with your new dog from Harrier Rescue or Shelter Adoption, it’s important that you set up a good contract with them that spells out responsibilities on both sides as well as ask for advice on potential health conditions before adopting.


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