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Harrier Dog Breed: All The Info You Need

Harrier Dog Breed: All The Info You Need

The Harrier is often referred to as a “Beagle on steroids.” These dogs are energetic and lively, and they would struggle in a small city apartment. They require space to run and expend their tremendous levels of energy. They are, nevertheless, quite affectionate, especially with children and other dogs. This breed is also relatively healthy and easy to groom. The Harrier is a terrific companion for an active family.

However, don’t expect to discover one in your area. The American Kennel Club lists them as one of the rarest breeds. Only four Harrier litters were born in the United States in 1994, for example (resulting in only 31 puppies).

These energetic scent hounds were developed to hunt hares and foxes in huge groups, but they also make excellent family pets.

Harriers make excellent watchdogs since they will alert you to any unusual sounds or guests. Don’t expect them to be security dogs, though. They are so welcoming that newcomers are frequently greeted as if they were old friends.

These are canines who enjoy being around you but do not require your attention. They have the ability to amuse themselves. It’s your job to make sure their definition of fun doesn’t include getting into mischief!

Harriers are not suggested for first-time dog owners because to their training and activity requirements, despite the fact that they are pleasant, even-tempered dogs.

Harrier Dog Breed Overview

Harriers are built to labor and have a lot of bone and substance for their stature. Their muzzles are long and slender, with a prominent nose and open nostrils. For these canines, stamina is more crucial than speed. Hares and foxes have been known to succumb to weariness after being pursued by a harrier pack.

Harriers have long, drooping ears and huge pads on their feet, allowing them to run for hours through difficult terrain. Their chests are large to allow enough of room for their hearts and lungs. Their tails are positioned high and carried upright (rather than folded over their backs), making them easier to spot from afar or in thick brush.

Harriers have an outgoing, playful demeanor. Although they are not as outgoing as the Beagle, they do enjoy being around people and other animals. They are usually sweet-tempered and patient with children.

However, you should keep an eye on them if you have any pets that aren’t dogs. They get along well with other dogs because they are pack dogs, but cats, hamsters, and other non-canine pets may be seen as prey. They prefer to be part of a pack, whether it is made up of other dogs or humans.

Also keep in mind that Harriers were developed to have a lot of energy and stamina, as well as the ability to think independently. They are self-sufficient and tenacious hunters.

While these characteristics are beneficial for hunting, they might be tough to train. To keep them from growing bored and destructive, you’ll need to give them ample exercise.

You should carefully consider obedience training for your Harrier because they are independent thinkers who can be stubborn at times.

Harrier History & Origins

A group of Harrier-type dogs is believed to be founded in England, where the Harrier breed was developed, as early as 1260 — more than 800 years ago! Sir Elias Midhope founded the Penistone pack, which lasted at least 500 years, well into the 18th century.

These hounds were originally employed to hunt hare with the hunters following on foot, therefore they were a much slower and more systematic breed than today’s Harriers. Harriers were bred to be faster when foxhunting became popular among horse-mounted hunters.

In March 1891, the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was founded in England. Harriers were far more popular than Beagles at the time. The AMHB’s Stud Book lists 107 registered Harrier packs from 1891 to 1900.

In those days, admission to the Stud Book was based on the pack owner’s records or by committee. Many of the first Harriers appear to have been little Foxhounds. Some of these foundation Harriers’ names also feature in the pedigrees of top-winning Beagles. It’s assumed that the term “Harrier” was given to the hound to represent its hunting style and size rather than its ancestry.

Although the American Kennel ClubAmerican Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (the world canine club), among others, acknowledge Harriers, the Kennel Club of England has not recognized the breed since 1971.

Harriers in the USA

Harriers are believed to have arrived in the United States during Colonial times. Several Harrier packs were formed, with some of them being recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. In England, the AMHB identified at least two American packs.

Harriers have never been a popular breed, despite being excellent family pets. Only 949 Harriers were registered with the American Kennel Club between 1884 and 1994. Despite being at or near the bottom of the popularity rankings, 182 Harriers have become AKC Champions of Record, a fairly high percentage of champions to dogs registered.

Despite their lack of popularity, they have been a part of the American Kennel Club since its inception, and are the 13th and 4th Hound breeds to be recognized by the AKC.

In the early 1900s, Harrier registrations were few and far between. Monarch, the first Harrier Champion of Record and the first Harrier to win Best in Show, was born in 1936. Monarch was bred from dogs imported from England and held by the Monmouth County Hunt.

Most Harriers in the United States, like in England, have historically belonged to hunting packs and are not registered with the AKC.

While most Harriers in the United States are used as family pets, some are trained to hunt rabbits and other quick-moving wildlife that is too fast for most Beagles.

Harrier Personality

The gentle Harrier is sociable and amiable, never aggressive toward other dogs, as is typical of a pack hound – a dog that is used to working in a group.

He’s also like a typical hound in that he’s a free thinker who can be obstinate. It’s critical to train him in ways that persuade him that being submissive is his choice. With this breed, positive reinforcement – prizes for good behavior — is the way to go. He’s a good watchdog, and he’ll warn you if he hears suspicious noises or sees someone approaching. If you’re not at home, he’ll keep an eye on the thief as he steals your silver.

Harriers, like all dogs, benefit from early socialization, which includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and activities. Socialization is important in ensuring that your Harrier puppy develops into a well-rounded dog.

The Harrier is more outgoing and playful than the Foxhound, but not as much as the Beagle. This dog is friendly, tolerant, and gentle with children, and he enjoys sniffing and trailing. As a result, the Harrier requires regular exercise in a safe environment or on a leash.

When it comes to strangers, towards most new people they are reserved. The Harrier, like many hounds, has a tendency to bay, and some will bark or bay if bored or lonely.

Are they good family dogs?

The Harrier is said to be fantastic with children. That, like other breeds, comes with some restrictions. Always teach kids how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side. Teach your child to never approach a dog that is eating or attempt to grab the dog’s food. A child should never be left alone with a dog.

A Harrier is quite accepting due to its kind disposition. It will get along with everyone in the family, including children, strangers, and even new family members. Despite its high level of activity, this breed is courteous and peaceful in the home and understands when to be at its best.

This puppy wants to be with humans or other dogs because he is a natural pack animal. If your family spends a lot of time together at home or even outside, this is a terrific option.

He will get along with everyone and mix with them without any issues. However, leaving this dog alone for long periods of time is not recommended because it will become bored and may cause damage.

Are they good with other animals?

Because this dog breed was meant to be a pack dog, it will appreciate the company of another dog companion when you are not at home. This dog enjoys friendship with other dogs and will not be aggressive if properly socialized.

However, you must keep in mind that Harriers have a strong prey drive. They will not get along with smaller animals such as cats and birds as a result of this. Even if the two pets were raised together in the same home, the Harrier will still regard them as prey and perceive them as a challenge, hunting, chasing, and even killing them.

As a result, if you have any smaller pets besides dogs, Harriers are not the best choice. They should only be kept in homes with people and other dogs.

Caring for a Harrier

Harriers are high-energy and endurance athletes. If they get enough exercise, they’re terrific friends, but if they don’t, they may be destructive. Apartment dwellers should avoid harriers. They thrive in houses with vast yards or acres of land to run around in. Fences that your Harrier can’t dig under or jump over are necessary in the yard.

Harriers may live outside with sufficient protection from the elements, but they prefer to remain close to their family, which they refer to as their pack. When harriers are bored or lonely, they bay – a long bark — so leaving them alone in the backyard for long periods of time is not a smart idea, especially if you have neighbors nearby.

These are canines who like being around you but don’t expect you to give them your full attention. They can keep themselves entertained. It’s your responsibility to ensure that their definition of fun does not include getting into mischief! Take your adult Harrier for a daily jog or a lengthy walk with plenty of time for smelling.

Weekly obedience training and daily half-mile walks, as well as playtime in the yard, will suit their demands from the age of 4 to 6 months. Play for up to 40 minutes between the ages of 6 months and a year in the mornings or evenings, not during the daytime. Maintain a half-mile walking distance.

Your Harrier puppy can start jogging with you after he’s a year old, but limit the distance under a mile and give him regular pauses. Concrete, for example, should be avoided. You can increase the distance and duration of your runs as he grows older. His developing bones and joints will be protected by these graduated levels of exercise.


This dog’s training is crucial. You must keep it on a leash due of its tremendous prey drive. This is a behavior that no amount of instruction will change. It’s difficult to keep it under control once it’s let go of the leash.

Harriers, like other dogs, need to be socialized at a young age. They must be exposed to people, habitats, other animals, and circumstances as they get older in order to adapt.

Your Harrier will become an obedient dog with correct etiquette with proper training. Obedience training is also important and can help you strengthen your bond.

If you want to train your dog to be a hunting breed, you can hire a breeder or a professional trainer to help you. These dogs are born hunters, but they still need to be properly trained to achieve their full potential.

Harriers have a tenacious streak since they are hounds. When compared to other orders, they may learn hunting commands significantly faster. As a result, you’ll need to position yourself as a pack leader and have a calm and pleasant demeanor during training.

For this breed, positive reinforcement is the best strategy. Because these dogs love to eat, you can utilize snacks in moderation.

To keep the dog involved during the training process, make the sessions brief and entertaining. It’s also critical to maintain consistency in order for the dog to stay up.

Exercise needs

In comparison to a Beagle, the Harrier is a more active dog. This puppy is not suitable for the ordinary household because to its high activity levels, as not all families will have the time to meet its exercise requirements.

Harriers were bred to hunt and chase prey. This tremendous stamina necessitates frequent rigorous workouts.

To meet your dog’s activity needs, take him on a long walk, run, or engage him in workouts in a fenced yard. This dog, as a hound, needs get at least 1 or 2 hours of exercise every day. They also make great hiking companions.

Ensure that the dog is on a leash during walks, especially in a dog park, to prevent it from chasing after other animals. It has a strong prey drive, so if it smells something, it will insist on following it. Your dog will love walks in the dog park if it has been properly socialized.

Because this breed is so intelligent, you may modify the amount of exercise he gets to keep him cognitively and physically challenged. Change up the activities to keep the dog interested; otherwise, he’ll become anxious and unruly.

Harriers adore playing, making them ideal for households with children. To keep the dog occupied and pleased, your children can play fetch, catch, and tag. This dog breed is not a good choice if you and your family are not very active.


Harriers require a high-quality diet that fits their nutritional requirements because they are high-energy dogs. You should give your dog at least two cups of high-quality food every day. To aid digestion, the food should contain a proper combination of fiber, vitamins, carbs, minerals, and probiotics.

If Harriers are only fed wet canned food, they may develop dental problems. Dry kibble is recommended for your dog to reduce the incidence of cavities, gum infections, and foul breath.

Harrier, like the Beagle, is prone to becoming overweight. They have a habit of eating a lot and stealing food from your counters if it isn’t locked up in the cabinets. As a result, once you’ve brought one of these dogs home, it’s a good idea to store extra food in a secure location for your dog’s protection and health.

The amount of food consumed by your Harrier is determined by its size, age, health, metabolism, and level of activity. If you don’t have a clear nutritional guide, you can ask your veterinarian to help you figure out what you need to eat on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the food’s quality is important. The higher the quality, the more nutritious the diet for your dog will be.


Harriers are distinguished by their short, dense, and lustrous coats. They are relatively simple to maintain as a result of this.

They also shed at least twice a year, resulting in a rather straightforward grooming plan. Brush the coat at least once a week to keep it healthy, lustrous, and mat-free, as well as to eliminate dead hairs.

To maintain your dog free of unpleasant odors, give him a bath every three months. You can space out bath sessions if the dog is quite clean to avoid drying out the skin. Although this dog is normally clean, you can spray them down if they get muddy or soiled while running around.

Harriers have long, drooping ears that germs can breed in. Checking for redness, wax build-up, or discharge on a regular basis can help avoid ear infections. Also, because they’re often rushing outside, keep an eye out for any foreign things.

Using a warm moist towel or cotton ball, clean your ears once a week. Your veterinarian can advise you on which ear cleaning solution is best for you.

Your dog’s nails should also be trimmed. Use a dog-specific nail clipper and take special care not to cut too deeply into the skin or blood vessels.

To make things easier, you can have it done by your veterinarian or a professional groomer. Brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week.

Harrier Health

Harriers are typically healthy, however they are susceptible to some health issues, as are other breeds. Although not all Harriers will contract any or all of these illnesses, it’s crucial to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one.

While the Harrier does have some health issues that are common in the breed, the majority of them live for 12 to 15 years. Working with a breeder might help you avoid some hereditary disorders that could shorten your dog’s life or be expensive to treat.

Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your dog’s parents if you’re buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been checked for and cleared of a certain disease.

Most common health conditions

Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Dogs are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV or Bloat) is a condition that affects dogs with deep, narrow chests. This indicates that your dog is more vulnerable than other breeds. The stomach twists on itself and fills with gas when a dog bloats. The twisting cuts off the stomach’s and sometimes the spleen’s blood flow.

If left untreated, the sickness can kill your dog in as little as 30 minutes. Your dog may retch or heave (but nothing comes out), be agitated, have an enlarged abdomen, or lie in a prayer position (front feet down, rear end up). Preventive surgery, which involves tacking or suturing the stomach in place so that it does not twist, is possible.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or the dislocation of the kneecap, is common in these dogs. The kneecap usually sits in front of the hind leg’s joint and is maintained in place by ligaments. It moves around in a groove when the dog walks, protecting the joint but allowing the dog to move freely.

This little bone can dislocate and slip out of the groove in certain dogs. So it’s causing it to “float” freely about the knee. If left untreated, this can lead to major complications. It’s possible that the bone will be forced up against another bone, causing damage. Ligaments are frequently injured when the kneecap moves around incorrectly.


Allergies to pollen, mold, and dust cause people to sneeze. Instead of sneezing, allergies in dogs produce itching. Atopy is a name used to describe a common skin allergy in these puppies. The feet, tummy, skin wrinkles, and ears are the most commonly affected locations. Symptoms normally emerge between the ages of one and three, and they can get worse as time goes on. Licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurring ear infections are the most prevalent allergy symptoms. The good news is that these diseases can be treated in a number of different ways.


Unfortunately, dogs too can develop epilepsy and seizures. Recurrent seizures with no known cause or abnormal brain damage characterize epilepsy. To put it another way, the brain appears normal on the outside but functions strangely on the inside. Twitching, shaking, tremors, convulsions, and/or spasms are all symptoms of a seizure.


In older canines, cataracts are a common cause of blindness. The lenses of his eyes become more opaque—in other words, hazy rather than clear. Many dogs adapt well to losing their vision and live happily ever after. Surgical removal of cataracts and restoration of vision may also be a possibility.

How much are Harrier puppies?

Harrier puppies can be difficult to come by in the United States. Because of the strong demand, the majority of them start at around $1,000.

Keep in mind that the price will vary based on the puppy’s ancestry, the repute of the breeder, and other considerations. If you buy these puppies from a reputable breeder, you might have to join a waiting list.

If you’re looking for a top breeder of show-quality dogs or award-winning hunters, you can expect a significantly longer list.

Dog mills and backyard breeders are untrustworthy, so it’s best to purchase this puppy from a reliable breeder. Because they are more concerned with earning a profit, they are more likely to mistreat these dog breeds, be unable to provide health clearance tests, or misrepresent a larger Beagle as a Harrier. It’s best to stick with recognized breeders to avoid falling into these traps.

How to find a breeder?

By visiting a breeder’s premises and looking at their website, you can ascertain if they are professional. You may view how the dogs are bred by going to their place. They also have information about your puppy’s medical history. Check their National Breed Club for reputable breeders.

If you’re on a tight budget, look into rescues and shelters. The majority of them do not have purebreds and will charge between $50 and $400 for the puppies. Once you’ve obtained a dog from one of these sources, you’ll need to budget for any medical expenses that may emerge.

Puppies require several materials and supplies in addition to the buying price in order to live peacefully in your home. Before bringing your dog home, you’ll need to purchase a crate, bowls, carrier, collar, and leash. They must also be neutered, spayed, vaccinated, and treated for fleas. Consider all of these expenses while purchasing a Harrier puppy.

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.