The Lurcher looks a bit like a cross between a Greyhound and a Saluki. It most often resembles the Greyhound, because that breed is the prized part. The Lurcher gives the appearance of floating on air, but is actually a fairly hardy dog.
Lurchers are tall and thin with defined waists. The Greyhound/Terrier mixes tend to have wiry hair, while the long-haired variety is silkier.
The Lurcher’s temperament varies depending on whether your dog is a sighthound/Terrier cross or a sighthound/Collie cross. In general, this is a gentle, good-natured dog who needs a definite pack leader.
Lurchers train easily and can be very obedient and well-behaved. Like Greyhounds, they are intense when active but enjoy sitting on the couch as much as they do chasing rabbits. They still need a good amount of exercise — they can run at speeds of up to 40 mph — and enjoy activity sports such as lure coursing.
Short-haired and long-haired Lurchers both shed quite a bit and need daily brushing. This is not a breed for those with pet allergies.
While fenced-in yards or dog parks are good outlets for Lurchers’ energy, they should not be allowed to run freely, as their sighthound heritage means they are likely to chase and kill small prey. They may also pursue smaller household pets, so a Chihuahua-free and cat-free home are recommended.
Lurchers deal with hip dysplasia, back problems, and bloat. They tend to be sensitive to medication and anesthesia.
The Lurcher began as a dog associated with Gypsies and poachers in England in the early 18th century. The dog’s name comes from the Romany word lur, meaning “thief” or “bandit.” The Gypsies preferred the short-haired version, which was less easily spotted. It is not a breed, but a crossbreed between a sighthound (usually 50 percent to 75 percent) and usually a Collie or Terrier.
Lurchers are bred more for their work skills than their looks. They are good hunting dogs with intelligence, speed, and excellent eyesight.
The Lurcher is still used in Britain for hunting, although hare coursing is now illegal. Its status as companion dog is rising. There are even breed rescues for this sweet, gentle racer.