The Greek Harehound: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for a hunting dog that can keep up with you on any terrain, consider the Greek Harehound. This breed has been around for centuries and has a long-standing history as a hunting dog in Greece.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this fascinating breed, from their history and physical characteristics to their temperament and health concerns.

History and Origin of the Greek Harehound

The Greek Harehound has a rich history and has been around for centuries. This breed was highly valued in ancient Greece and was often gifted to royalty and high-ranking individuals.

The Greek Harehound was used for hunting hares and other small game, and it was known for its exceptional ability to track scent and run for extended periods without stopping.

Ancient Roots of the Breed

The Greek Harehound has been around for over 4,000 years and is native to southern Greece, more specifically the Peloponessus island. It is believed to have descended from the ancient Laconian and Cretan Hounds. 

The Greek Harehound was considered a symbol of nobility and was often depicted in ancient Greek art. It was mentioned in the works of Aristotle, who praised the dog’s hunting abilities.

The Greek Harehound in Modern Times

The Greek Harehound continues to be used for hunting today, but it has also become a popular pet in Greece. The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1996, becoming the first Greek dog breed recognized by the organization. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Greek Harehound has a lean and muscular build, which gives it the ability to run for extended periods without stopping. The hallmarks of the breed are the black-and-tan coat and droopy ears. 

Size and Weight

Greek Harehounds are medium-sized dogs that typically stand between 18 and 22 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 37 and 44 pounds. Female breed members tend to be smaller than males. 

Coat and Color

The Greek Harehound has a short and dense coat that is fairly easy to maintain. The breed is known for its beautiful coat colors, which can range from white to black and tan. They have a smooth, glossy appearance that adds to their overall beauty and elegance.

The Greek Harehound’s coat is not only beautiful but also serves a functional purpose. It protects them from harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold. This makes them an excellent breed for hunting in any weather condition.

Distinctive Features

The Greek Harehound has long, silky ears that contribute to the breed’s sense of elegance and beauty. The ears are also functional, as they can pick up sounds from a distance.

Another distinctive feature is the long and powerful tail, which is held high to keep balance while running and also serves as a signal to other dogs during hunting.

The Greek Harehound has a long body with a broad chest and a tapered abdomen. The dog’s legs are long and muscular, which gives the the ability to run at impressive speeds.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Greek Harehounds are affectionate with their families and love to spend time playing and running outdoors. Here’s a close look at the breed’s overall temperament and personality traits.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

Greek Harehounds have an abundance of energy and need a significant amount of exercise each day to stay happy and healthy. Long walks, hikes, and runs are essential to meeting the breed’s exercise needs.

Without proper exercise, the breed can become bored and destructive. This is especially true if they are left alone for extended periods of time. If you’re considering a Greek Harehound, you’ll need to be prepared to provide plenty of physical activity each day.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Greek Harehounds are friendly and social with other animals. They get along well with other dogs and make great companions for households with multiple pets.

However, like any other breed, early socialization is essential in ensuring that the Greek Harehound is well-behaved and comfortable around other animals, especially smaller pets that can trigger their prey drive. 

Intelligence and Trainability

The Greek Harehound is an intelligent breed that is capable of learning quickly. However, some individuals can be stubborn, which can make training more challenging.

Patience and consistency are essential in training this breed. Positive reinforcement methods are recommended, as Greek Harehounds respond excellently to treats and praise.

Health and Lifespan

Like all breeds, the Greek Harehound is susceptible to certain health conditions. It’s essential for breeders to perform health screenings and tests to ensure that their dogs are healthy and free of genetic issues. Here’s a closer look at the breed’s health concerns and expected lifespan.

Common Health Issues

Greek Harehounds are typically healthy but can be prone to issues such as: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: Incongruency of the hip joint resulting in pain, lameness, early arthritis, and mobility problems 
  • Bloat: The deep chest makes the breed susceptible to life-threatening bloating and twisting of the stomach 
  • Ear Infections: The long and droopy ears of the breed are at higher-than-average risk of developing ear infections 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To ensure that your Greek Harehound remains healthy, preventative care and regular vet visits are essential. This includes routine check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention. Additionally, it’s important to maintain their dental health, as this can affect their overall well-being.

Expected Lifespan

The Greek Harehound has an average lifespan of around 11 years. With proper preventative care and a healthy lifestyle, some individuals may live even longer.


The Greek Harehound is a fascinating breed that has a long-standing history as a hunting dog in Greece. Today, they continue to be a popular breed in their native country but it is lesser known in other parts of the world.

If you’re considering a Greek Harehound as a pet, it’s essential to understand its history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to provide the care and attention it needs.

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