The Harrier is a medium-sized dog breed of the hound class, used for hunting hares by trailing them. It resembles an English Foxhound but is smaller, though not as small as a Beagle.
There are top 10 interesting facts about Harrier.
1) Harriers have been bred in England for centuries with records of packs being highly prized for their hunting skills that date back to the 13th century. The first Stud Book was established by the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles in 1891 at which time these handsome hounds were more popular than the Beagle. However, the true origins of the Harrier remain a bit of a mystery other than they have always been used in the field working alongside horses and other types of hunting dogs.
2) Harriers sometimes are described as "Beagles on steroids." These lively, active scent hounds were originally bred to hunt hares and foxes in large packs, but they also are wonderful family companions.
3) Don't expect to find one in your neighborhood, however. They are one of the rarest breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. In 1994, for example, there were only four Harrier litters born in the entire United States (resulting in only 31 puppies).
4) The Harrier is a highly intelligent, strong-willed and independent dog that over the years has proved to be an excellent scent hound. The key to successfully living with a Harrier is to accept what these dogs are and not to try to change them which would only do a dog more harm than good making them a lot harder to live with. For centuries, the Harrier has been bred to hunt which is a strong instinct that's deeply embedded in their psyche. As such, it would be a mistake to think they can be trained not to wander off if they ever pick up an interesting scent.
5) Harriers are known to be good around children of all ages and like nothing more than to interact and play games with them. However, they can play rough at times which means any interaction between younger children and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone getting hurt.
6) Harriers have short, thick coats which are relatively easy maintenance. They shed throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to remove dead and loose hair from a dog's coat. At other times of the year brushing their coats twice a week will keep things tidy.
7) Training a Harrier takes a lot of time and patience together with a deep understanding of how to handle a highly intelligent scenthound. Their training has to be consistent throughout a dog’s life and rather than try to prevent a Harrier from doing what comes naturally to them, it’s best to go with the flow allowing them to use their strong scenting abilities as often as possible, but always in a safe environment so that small animals and wildlife is never put in any danger.
8) The Harrier, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, is prone to problems like epilepsy and perianal fistula. The major health issue affecting this breed is canine hip dysplasia. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend hip and eye exams for this breed of dog.
9) Harriers have long, dropped ears, and their feet have thick pads that enable them to run for hours through rough terrain. They have broad chests to provide lots of room for their hearts and lungs. Their tails are set high and carried upright (not curled over their backs), making it easier for hunters to see them from a distance or in thick brush.
10) Harriers make good watchdogs because they will alert you to any strange noises or visitors to your home. However, don't expect them to be guard dogs. They are so friendly that they often greet strangers as though they were old friends.