The Harrier is considered to be a rare breed in the 21rst century. The first hunting pack was recorded in the 12th century for hunting hare, hence the name, in the United Kingdom. He is a medium-sized, pack-oriented scent hound. Although his natural instinct is to hunt, he is highly adaptable and adjusts easily to a suburban backyard, provided that regular exercise, which offers a change of scene, scent, and company are part of your routine. Having another companion pet or near-constant human companionship is strongly suggested for the potential harrier owner. Many Harrier homes own two or more dogs, which accommodates the harrier's inherent pack animal nature making them most content in numbers - separation anxiety can be an issue, during those times when you are away at work or school without him. Harriers adapt well to living with most other breeds, and even other types of animals: however, rabbits are not suggested. While harriers are, in general, friendly, playful and eager to please, they can be stubborn to train. After nearly one thousand years of breeding for hunting and undying stamina in the field, the breed is known for its instinct to track scents and will roam (often great distances) if not kept in a well-fenced yard. Harriers, when on scent, have great determination and are not easily swayed from their quest while tracking; obedience training is a definite must for suburban living. The Harrier can be both lively and active, and is an intelligent breed, making him a devoted friend and companion but one must devote time to creating a bond with him. Harriers are extremely adaptable and resilient to different living conditions; they can be happily kept as either a house-pet or a barn dog, in very warm or very cold climates. Harriers have a short, dense, weatherproof-coat which comes in many attractive colorings (any color is accepted for registration and no color is preferred over another in either AKC or UKC events), and requires very little grooming. Harriers tend to keep themselves very clean and have very few health problems that seem to plague many of the breeds similar to him in size. Harriers are even-tempered and have a very sweet-natured demeanor, which make them an excellent family companion. Their medium size and solid construction make them less fragile than some smaller breeds of similar appearance. It is important to note that harriers, as a pack hound breed, have a notable voice and will bark when excited. Hunts call the sound of a pack in full voice "music." For some pet owners, correction for vocalizing may be necessary. The Harrier is wonderful as a family pet, but are also very popular for dog shows, agility trials, bench shows, and many different types of hunting. They are also performing well in obedience and tracking competitions and finding hounds with duel (or more) titles is not uncommon. Cogenital and Genetic Conditions found with greater than average frequency in the Harrier: Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Cataracts, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia (about 17% of all tested), and Thyroiditis. The following are health screenings performed on breeding Harriers; choosing a puppy from a responsible breeder, who regularly tests for these health anomalies, can help avoid future health problems for your puppy: * CERF Screening (Canine Eye Research Foundation) . yearly exam * Hip Dysplasia (OFA or PennHip) . done after the second birthday * Thyroid Function Test (OFA) . yearly exam (particular focus on autoimmune function) Harrier Links: Harrier Club of America - The National Breed Club for the Harrier in the United States. Membership is open to all interested in harriers.
Information courtesy of Susan Lowder, Downhome Harriers
The following health screenings are often performed by responsible Harrier breeders:
CERF Screening (Canine Eye Research Foundation)
Hip Dysplasia (OFA or PennHIP)