By Jags Goldie Last updated: 17th November 2022

Harrier Hound


Jags Goldie
Last updated: 17th November 2022

The Harrier is a breed of medium-sized dogs bred for hunting hares and foxes in packs. Having the appearance of a working hound, the Harrier is characterized by a proportionate head, mid-sized eyes, low set ears, strong neck, muscular back, deep chest, good straight legs, and long, high set tail. Although it is larger and stronger than the Beagle, it is slightly smaller than the English Foxhound.

Harrier Hound Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesHarehound, Harrier Dog
CoatShort, dense, glossy, hard, finer hairs on the ears
ColorWhite, black and tan, lemon and white, tri-color, red and white
Breed TypePurebred
CategoryHound, Scenthound
Lifespan12-15 years
Weight45-60 lbs
Height19-21 in
TemperamentFriendly, active, cheerful, outgoing, tolerant, sweet-tempered
Litter SizeAverage of 2-4 puppies
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inUK
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationACR, ACA, AKC, APRI, ANKC, CKC, DRA, FCI, HCA, NKC, NAPR, NZKC


  • Harrier Lab Mix
  • Harrier Pitbull Mix
  • Harrier Beagle Mix or Beagle-Harrier
  • Harrier Pointer Mix
  • Harrier Foxhound Mix


The origin of Harriers is unclear, and there are many contradictory stories about the development of the breed. Since Harrier is an English word of French origin, some people believe that the Harrier hounds might have descended from Talbot hounds, Bloodhounds, and Basset Hounds. Another theory states that the Harrier is simply a smaller version of the Foxhound.

In 1260, Sir Elias Midhope in England created a pack of Harrier-type dogs and named it the Penistone pack. These dogs were spread throughout England and Wales as one of the essential working and hunting breeds, though it is still not recognized by England’s Kennel Club.

While the Harriers were reportedly imported to America during the 1700s, the Harrier Club of America first described the breed in 1735. The American Kennel Club acknowledged the breed in 1885.

Temperament and Behavior

The Harrier has a playful, affectionate disposition, and as a people-oriented dog, it loves to remain close to its people as well as other pets. It is a friendly family pet that lives peacefully with children.

Being a pack hound, it can learn to work with other dogs and is never aggressive toward them. However, it may see non-canine pets like hamsters, squirrels, and cats as prey unless socialized at a young age. As a typical hound, it likes to explore and may dig or follow a pleasing scent.



Since the Harrier is highly energetic and has lots of stamina, it requires plenty of regular activity lest it may become destructive. It does best in homes with properly fenced yards where it can run and play. Puppies from nine weeks to four months of age need 15-20 minutes of play in the yard. For 4-6-month-old puppies, half-mile walks along with 15 minutes of playtime are necessary. Six months onwards, playtime can be increased to 40 minutes while walks should be limited to a half mile.


Its coat requires moderate maintenance including a weekly brushing using a hound mitt or rubber curry brush. Because its long hanging ears are prone to infections, you should gently wipe them using a cotton ball dipped in a vet-recommended cleaning solution. Brush its teeth at least 2-3 times a week and trim its nails frequently.

Health Problems

Some Harriers are prone to certain genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.


The Harrier hound can be stubborn and an independent thinker, thus needing a firm and experienced hand in training.

Introduce your Harrier hound puppy to a cat, squirrel, or hamster by allowing each animal lots of time to get used to the other’s scent. You may confine your dog to a crate to let the non-canine animal roam freely and investigate your pup’s smell. Once both the animals are calm, allow them to be at the same place at the same time, keeping your dog leashed securely. Practice this method of introduction until the animals are relaxed and happy around each other.

Stopping your dog from digging
Since digging is in your Harrier’s genes, it is impossible to stop your pet from exhibiting such behavior. However, you may try and get it to dig in a designated place in the yard, which will help in providing an outlet for its energy. You may bury toys and treats for your dog to explore in the digging area. Make sure the soil is moist and not dusty.


You may give adult Harriers one-and-a-half to two cups while puppies may be given a maximum of four cups of quality dry food on a daily basis.

Interesting Facts

  • Harriers are specially useful for drag hunting, in which the slower pace of these dogs is not a constraint.

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