Is it a Beagle, an American Foxhound, or a Treeing Walker Coonhound? No, it's the Harrier!
Although very similar to these breeds, Harriers are of medium size and typically serve as companion breeds in North America, where they aren't overly popular. This breed originated in Great Britain and is exclusively a hunting dog there. The Harrier is a scenthound used to hunt hare in packs, hence their name.
Similar in Appearance to Other Scenthounds
Yes, the Harrier looks similar to other breeds, such as Beagles and Foxhounds, but their size and their temperament sets them apart. They have drop ears, a smooth coat, and are commonly seen in tricolor in black, tan, and white, or red and white. Their coloring and ears typically get them mistaken for the other breeds.
Like other scenthounds, they are extremely intelligent and will learn obedience training quickly.
Full of Zip!
The Harrier is very energetic and active. They were bred to hunt, and they continue to carry this strong trait. They have high stamina levels, and they require an active family to exercise them.
They will enjoy running, hiking, swimming, and even agility sports! They're happy to participate in any activity you offer them. Because they are bred to hunt in packs, they do very well with other dogs. Consider doggy daycare, dog beaches, or dog parks! The Harrier will thrive in these environments and relish in the company of other dogs.
If not properly exercised, they breed can become destructive and unruly.
Family Dog All The Way
This breed is a wonderful family pet, as long as they are exercised properly. They get along with people and other dogs very well. Their friendly nature is often compared to the Beagle. Smaller animals should be supervised around the Harrier because of what they were bred to do.
The Harrier is typically tolerable of rambunctious children and enjoys romping around with them. They will need a fenced in-yard, as they are a scenthound and will happily follow a trail with their nose. Apartment living is not conducive for this breed.
Although they are very good with children, it is always recommended that early training and socialization is provided to help with their behavior.
Easy Breezy Grooming
The Harrier’s short coat only needs a weekly combing/brushing and bathing. Nail trimmings should be done every 8-12 weeks. The Harrier is an average shedder.
Although considered generally healthy, the Harrier can have the following health issues: Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and temperament problems. Their average life span is approximate 10-12 years.
As you begin looking for a Harrier, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe