This English Foxhound-looking dog also resembles an elongated (and thus prettier), more delicate Beagle. But make no mistake, despite her sweet expression the Harrier is a powerful working dog accustomed to a great deal of exercise and outdoor time. While not as common as her aforementioned lookey-likeys, the Harrier is a friendly, upbeat sort and adores spending time with her family, whether they be human or her fellow workers in the hunting pack. In addition to her looks, personality, and strength, the Harrier boasts a fine singing voice, although it may not always be appreciated by the neighbours.

Key facts about the Harrier

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Hunter

Size :

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Origins and history

The Harrier seems to have been with us for some while, although how long is not clear because older descriptions may refer to the foxhound (from whom she may be descended) and no definitive origin story exists. Alternative histories place her at the foot of the bed of the Bloodhound, Talbot Hound, and Basset Hound, or English Foxhound, Fox Terrier, and Greyhound. While she’s noted for sure from the 18th century, she may go back as far as Sir Elias de Midhope and his 13th century pack of hare dogs.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds


Section 1 : Scent hounds

Physical characteristics of the Harrier

  • Harrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 19 and 20 in

    Male : Between 19 and 22 in


    Female : Between 55 and 66 lb

    Male : Between 55 and 66 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    Nestling-in neatly on the menu between the smaller beagle and the larger English Foxhound, the Harrier is the perfect compromise between the two. She is more svelte than the larger breed and less blunt than the little beagle. Her face is pretty and expressive, not the saddest among hound-dog faces but certainly in that direction; her ear flaps are large relative to her slim skull, and invite brushing upon the beholder’s cheek. She’s long with a deep chest that rises dramatically to her tight belly. Her back is so straight you could set your new kitchen tiles by it. Her tail, which points to attention, is often white-tipped and embellished with grain-like tufts.

    Good to know

    The Harrier is little-known as a show dog and has not been recognised by the English Kennel Club since 1971.


    • 100%


      This is a very sweet and kind dog, especially with children.

    • 100%


      She is very happy and always willing. She never refuses a play session.

    • 66%


      Well-trained, this dog will usually remain calm indoors but become more excitable in the field.

    • 66%


      The Harrier can be reasonably intelligent.

    • 100%


      She has been bred to hunt hares, hence her name: Harrier.

    • 33%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      She is very sociable and will be friendly to all guests.

    • 33%


      The Harrier can be very dependent on her human, and will follow their every movement.

      Behaviour of the Harrier

      • 33%

        Tolerates solitude

        She prefers to keep company most of the time.

      • 66%

        Easy to train / obedience

        Her independent nature can make her difficult to train, although she is eager to participate. If her needs are fulfilled, she will cooperate.

      • 100%


        The Harrier can be a bit of a barker; she may croon or bay, also, when feeling blue.

      • 100%

        Tendency to run away

        She has the capacity to escape in pursuit of a track if your garden is not well-protected.

      • 66%


        She may become destructive by digging or chewing things up if she does not get enough exercise and/or she is left alone for a long period of time.

      • 66%

        Greedy / Gluttony

        Food can help to reward this stubborn dog in her education.

      • 33%

        Guard dog

        She can make a good watchdog, if not left alone for too long, since she will raise the alarm upon the entrance of intruders. However, she is likely to befriend them, and so should not be considered a potential guard dog.

      • 100%

        First dog

        For a young hunter who wants to develop a pack for hunting, for example, the acquisition of a Harrier puppy is a very good choice.

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        • 33%

          Harrier in a flat

          Without being an enormous dog, the Harrier can become burdensome (and unhappy) in a home without a garden due to her energy and power.

        • 100%

          Need for exercise / Sporty

          She requires and enjoys a great deal of daily exercise, and will happily accompany her masters on rambles of significant exertion. The Harrier should get at least a couple of hours of boisterous outdoors exercise every day in addition to her daily walks and the freedom of the garden.

        • 66%

          Travelling / easy to transport

          There are no particular problems transporting this dog although she may become restless on long journeys.


          • 66%

            Harrier and cats

            The Harrier sees a cat as a large hare, and thus a challenge. Track and destroy! Track and destroy! Unless she met the cat while still a puppy, in which case it could work out.

          • 100%

            Harrier and dogs

            As a pack dog, the Harrier loves the company of other canines.

          • 100%

            Harrier and children

            She is known as a warm and gentle friend for children, although a smaller child could be knocked flying if games get out of hand. In general, she is sweet and playful.

          • 66%

            Harrier and the elderly

            With her high energy, significant exercise needs, and tough training, the Harrier is not recommended for those elderly people who are frail, have trouble getting around, or are likely to feel like this within the dog’s lifetime.



            £475 for Non KC Registered dogs.

            Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £60 to £90 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


            The Harrier’s glossy coat is tailor-made for outdoor work and adventure and requires only weekly brushing, and extra attention for the folds of her ears which may trap bacteria.


            Nutrition of the Harrier

            Quality food formulated for an active dog should work a treat, while treats themselves should be minimal to avoid unwanted weight gain. She should not work on a full stomach.

            Health of the Harrier

            Life expectancy

            The life expectancy of a Harrier dog is approximately 12 years.

            Strong / robust

            She is a solid working dog that should suffer minimal illness or damage if cared for.

            Withstand heat

            Quite well, although extremes should be avoided.

            Withstand cold

            Quite well, although extremes should be avoided.

            Tendency to put on weight

            Her high energy allows her to keep her shape.

            Common illnesses

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