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Harrier Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Care

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

Portrait de Beagle Harrier dog

Harrier Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Care

The Harrier Dog looks like a cross between the Beagle and the English Foxhound. After all, the pup shares many of the same traits, including the former’s talent for hunting rabbits and hares. England is the breed’s native land, although people brought them to Colonial America in the 18th century. Its history goes back hundreds of years, which eventually led to a truly remarkable and unique pooch.

Breed Overview


19–21 inches


45–60 pounds


12-15 years


White, black, white, tan, orange, lemon

Suitable for:

Active families or singles, those looking for a low-shedding dog


Intelligent, friendly, outgoing, energetic

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1885, along with other notable canines, such as the Saint Bernard, Beagle, and Bloodhound. The pup has many behaviors similar to those of other scent hounds. They are outgoing and get along with other hounds, but they are also vocal, an asset for hunting companions in the field.

The Harrier Dog ranks at 193 out of 201 recognized breeds in popularity. Indeed, they are rare among canines despite having a parent club and a loyal following. That fact comes to the forefront in several factors of the breed and their availability as pets. You’re more likely to see this pup as a hunting companion than a family dog.

Harrier Dog Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Harrier Dog Puppies

You probably find that locating a Harrier Dog puppy is challenging. Be prepared to be put on a waiting list for a pet-quality canine, and dogs from championship lineages or hunting talent will come at a premium. If you can provide the necessary companionship, we recommend buying a puppy from a reputable breeder so you can be sure you’re getting a Harrier Dog and not one of their lookalike cousins.

It’s essential to consider your decision to get a Harrier Dog carefully. These pups are the quintessential hunting companions. That accounts for their friendly nature. They are also very people-oriented. This pooch will not tolerate being left alone, and remember that a bored dog is a destructive one. They are also susceptible to separation anxiety, which will need to be addressed from a young age.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Harrier Dog 🧠

Many hunting companions are intelligent animals, and the Harrier Dog is no exception. They must be alert and observant in the field to locate their quarry. These pups have an independent streak, which isn’t unusual for these canines. It’s evident in other breeds with similar jobs. Consequently, this dog must have enrichment and adequate mental stimulation.

The Harrier Dog is probably one of the most outgoing and friendly pups you’ll ever meet. It’s a desirable trait for a hunting companion that runs in packs. They are playful animals with the energy to keep the games going. That can make them challenging for novice pet owners, so the Harrier Dog requires a devoted caregiver who understands their unique needs.

harrier puppy in the snow during winter
Image Credit: Joachim Bago, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏠

The Harrier Dog is a lover and openly shows their affection for their families. They are active enough to keep up with the kids. However, we recommend supervising playtime. This breed has a moderate tendency for mouthiness. They are also barkers and intense during play. Therefore, we suggest starting training and socialization to curb unwanted behavior.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

We don’t recommend housing the Harrier Dog with other pets. They have a strong prey drive, and instinct will kick in if a cat or other pet runs from the pup. This pooch also has a high wanderlust potential and will likely take the chase wherever it goes. We suggest choosing a different breed that doesn’t have the hunting history of the Harrier Dog.

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Things to Know When Owning a Harrier Dog

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Harrier Dog is a medium-sized breed, and you should give your pup a diet formulated for pets of their weight and the right life stage. That will ensure your pet has adequate nutrition to meet their growing needs. You should feed a puppy three or four times daily to keep their blood sugar levels stable between bouts of activity. We recommend sticking to a feeding schedule to get your pet used to a routine.

You can cut back to two meals once your dog reaches adulthood. You should switch to a diet appropriate for this life stage by transitioning your pet slowly to the new food. The Harrier Dog is highly food motivated, so you should monitor your pet’s body condition closely. Luckily, the pup’s high energy should help keep their weight in check.

Exercise 🐕

Daily exercise is imperative with this breed, whether through walks in the neighborhood or trips to the dog park. It will help with weight control, but it will also provide welcome mental stimulation and opportunities to meet new friends, both human and canine. The breed’s gregarious nature makes these forms of exercise excellent choices for running your pup and releasing pent-up energy.

Training 🦮

The Harrier Dog is intelligent enough to learn new tricks and commands quickly. However, it’s essential to start the lessons early before they form any bad habits, like excessive barking. If you want a hunting companion, you may find that putting your pup in obedience training to learn these new skills is helpful. We recommend reserving treats as training aids because of the breed’s propensity for weight gain.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming the Harrier Dog is simple because of the pup’s short coat. Weekly sessions with a hound glove will get the job done. You can offer your pup a treat to make your pet more receptive to the process. You should also check your dog’s teeth and nails to see if they need attention. We also recommend teaching your pooch to accept brushing their teeth to prevent dental disease.

Harrier dog with chain leash
Image Credit: evaleenage, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Harrier Dog has a lot going for them. They are active animals, which can help with weight control and their mental well-being. The breed’s scarcity and lower popularity reduce the likelihood of inbreeding, which can increase the prevalence of some diseases, another point in their favor. We recommend only purchasing from buyers who conduct pre-breeding health screenings.

These tests help ensure that dogs carrying the genes for specific diseases and health conditions do not breed to pass them on to their offspring. We also suggest getting your pup tested as per the recommendations of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) since some can develop later in life. Of course, annual exams are an excellent prevention against chronic disease.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Eye issues
Serious Conditions
  • Dental disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia

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Male vs. Female

Male and female Harrier Dogs are similarly sized. Either sex will make an excellent family pet or hunting companion. Behavior is shaped mainly by training and rearing. That’s why we recommend starting with the lessons early. Some sellers may sell their pups without breeding rights. Therefore, other behavioral differences are minimal with neutered or spayed pets.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Harrier Dog

1. The Harrier Dog Is a Pack Animal

Traditionally, hunters ran Harrier Dogs in packs to go after rabbits and hares. They still track lagomorphs this way through the auspices of the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA). Their mission is to preserve this activity.

2. Their Relationship With the English Foxhound Is Closer Than You Think

The similarities between the Harrier Dog and the English Foxhound aren’t a coincidence. Experts theorize the latter was the breeding stock for the smaller hound.

3. The Harrier Dog Is Appropriately Named.

The name of this hound may come from the French word “errier”, which means “wanderer”. It’s fitting, given the pup’s likely path to locate their quarry.

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Final Thoughts

The Harrier Dog is a lovable hound, with the energy and keen sense of smell to make them an excellent hunting companion. They certainly made an impression in the field and their native land. They may not be as popular as related breeds, but this dog is worth seeking out if you want a lively pooch to accompany you on the trail.

Featured Image Credit: Renge1988, Shutterstock

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