The Harrier Dog Breed: Everything You Need to Know

If you are looking for a loving, energetic, and loyal companion, then the Harrier dog breed might be just what you need.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Harrier, including its history, physical traits, personality, and health. 

History and Origin of the Harrier Dog Breed

According to the American Kennel Club, there are more theories about the Harrier’s origins than there are breed members in the United States. The history of the breed is mysterious and intriguing. 

Development of the Breed

The only agreed fact regarding the Harrier history is that the breed is very old and was developed for the specific purpose of hunting hare (as the name suggests). 

The breed first appeared in the 1200s in England and was brought to America during the Colonial period. There is a theory that George Washington and fellow sportsmen used the Harrier when creating American hounds. 

The Harrier quickly became popular in the United States, and it was highly prized for its ability to work in packs. The Harrier’s popularity grew, and it was soon recognized as a distinct breed.

Breed Recognition 

The Harrier received recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, and it remains one of the rarest breeds accepted into the Kennel. Today, most breed members are kept as pets or hunting companions. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Size and Weight

The Harrier is a medium-sized dog that stands 19 to 21 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds. Males are typically taller and heavier than females. 

Harriers are an athletic breed with size and weight that make them ideal companions for active families who enjoy outdoor activities. However, they are not fit for apartment living. 

Coat and Colors

The Harrier has a short, dense coat that coat comes in three color combinations 

  • Black, white & tan 
  • Lemon & white
  • Red & white 

The Harrier’s coat is weather-resistant, making it well-suited for outdoor activities in all seasons. Breed members shed moderately, so regular grooming is necessary to keep their coats healthy and shiny.

Distinctive Features

The Harrier has long, droopy ears and large, expressive eyes. The ears are soft and velvety to the touch, and they tend to hang down to the sides of the face. The eyes are soulful and intelligent, giving a unique and endearing expression.

The Harrier has a lean frame, with a deep chest and long, powerful legs that allow it to run for long distances without getting tired. It also has a long, straight tail that is carried high when the dog is alert and excited and low when it is relaxed.

Personality and Temperament

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

Harriers are active dogs that require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. They have a lot of energy and enjoy long walks, hikes, and runs. If they don’t get enough exercise, breed members may become destructive and develop behavioral problems.

Socialization and Friendliness

Harriers are friendly and social dogs that do well with children and other animals. They are pack animals by nature and thrive in homes with other pets. They have a loving and affectionate personality and enjoy being around their owners.

Intelligence and Trainability

Harriers are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They enjoy pleasing their owners and are eager to learn new commands. They can be stubborn at times, so it’s essential to remain patient and consistent with training.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Harriers are generally healthy dogs, but they are prone to certain health issues, such as: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing early arthritis, pain, and lameness
  • Ear Infections: The breed is likely to suffer from ear problems caused by allergies, bacteria, or yeast in the ear canal
  • Eye Problems: The two most commonly diagnosed eye conditions in the breed include cataracts and glaucoma

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Regular checkups, vaccines, and preventative care are essential for a Harrier’s health. A high-quality diet and daily exercise are also important for the dog’s health. 

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Harrier is between 12 and 15 years. With proper care and attention, many breed members live long, happy, and healthy lives as beloved additions to their human families. 


Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or a first-time parent, the Harrier’s loving personality and playful nature make it an excellent addition to your home.

With proper care and attention, a Harrier can bring joy and happiness for many years to come. Just research the breed and ensure that you find a reliable breeder. 

Scroll to Top