Harrier dog breed was used for hunting in North America as early as the 17th century. Dog lovers developed the Harrier dog in England to hunt hare in packs. Because this smaller version of the English Foxhound works at a slower pace, the pack could be followed on foot rather than horseback.
Harrier dog Temperament
Outgoing and friendly, as a working pack breed. Harriers must be able to work in close contact with other hounds. Therefore, do not tolerate aggressiveness towards other dogs.
General Appearance: Harriers must have all the attributes of a scenting pack hound. They are very sturdily built with large bone for their size. They must be active, well balanced, full of strength and quality, in all ways appearing able to work tirelessly, no matter the terrain, for long periods. Running gear and scenting ability are particularly important features.
Harrier dog Size
19 to 21 inches for dogs and bitches, a variation of one inch in either direction is acceptable. Proportion is off-square. The Harrier dog is slightly longer from point of shoulder to rump than from withers to ground. The body is solidly built, full of strength and quality. The breed has as much substance and bone as possible without being heavy or coarse.
Coat and Colour: Coat – Short, dense, hard and glossy. Coat texture on the ears is finer than on the body. There is a brush of hair on the underside of the tail. Colour – Any color, generally, color is not regarded as very important in hounds.
Head: The head is in proportion to the overall dog. No part of the head should stand out relative to the other parts. The expression is gentle when relaxed, sensible yet alert when aroused. Eyes are almond shaped, medium size, set well apart, brown or hazel color in darker dogs. Lighter hazel to yellow in lighter dogs, though darker colors are always desired. Ears are set on low and lie close to the cheeks, rounded at the tips. The skull is in proportion to the entire animal, with good length and breadth and a bold forehead. The stop is moderately defined. The muzzle from stop to tip of the nose is approximately the same length as the skull from stop to occiput. The muzzle is substantial with good depth, and the lips complete the square, clean look of the muzzle, without excess skin or flews. A good nose is essential. It must be wide, with well-opened nostrils. Teeth meet in a scissors bite or they may be level. Overshot or undershot bites faulted to the degree of severity of the misalignment.
Harriers on a hunt
Neck: The neck is long and strong with no excess skin or throatiness, sweeping smoothly into the muscling of the forequarters.
Forequarters: Moderate angulation, with long shoulders sloping into the muscles of the back, clean at the withers. The shoulders are well clothed with muscle without being excessively heavy or loaded, giving the impression of free, strong action. Elbows are set well away from the ribs, running parallel with the body and not turning outwards. Good straight legs with plenty of bone running well down to the toes, but not overburdened, inclined to knuckle over very slightly but not exaggerated in the slightest degree. Feet are round and catlike, with toes set close together turning slightly inwards. Thick, well developed and strong pads.
Body: The topline is level. Back muscular with no dip behind the withers or roach over the loin. Chest deep, extending to the elbows, with well-sprung ribs that extend well back, providing plenty of heart and lung room. The ribs should not be so well sprung that they interfere with the free, efficient movement of the front assembly. The loin is short, wide and well muscled.
Hindquarters: Angulation in balance with the front assembly, so that rear drive is in harmony with front reach. Well developed muscles, providing strength for long hours of work, are important. Endurance is more important than pure speed, and as such, the stifles are only moderately angulated. Feet point straight ahead, are round and catlike with toes set close together, and thick, well-developed pads.
Tail: The tail is long, set on high and carried upwards. It tapers to a point with a brush of hair.
Gait: Perfect coordination between the front and hind legs. Reach and drive are consistent with the desired moderate angulation. Coming and going, the dog moves in a straight line, evidencing no sign of crabbing. A slight toeing-in of the front feet is acceptable. Clean movement coming and going is as important as side gait, which is smooth and ground-covering.
English Foxhound vs Harrier
Harrier is smaller and slower than the Foxhound. The Harrier dog was developed for hunting on foot. The English Foxhound was developed for hunting on horseback. Harrier is also a bit more trainable than the Foxhound.