Harrier – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If you want a family dog who is active and clingy, Harrier should be on your list. Check this guide to learn about this high-energy breed. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Hound Dogs
19 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder
45 to 60 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Harriers are hounds that are packed with high energy and a strong desire to be active.

As high-energy dogs, they are a great choice for an active family who loves spending time outdoors.

Once you get this breed you are actually getting a shadow that will follow you around no matter what.

If you are a true outdoors person, this breed is for you.

Are you a regular morning jogger? Your Harrier will be the first to join you. Do you love long weekend hikes? Harrier will be there to protect you.

Just make sure that you keep him on a leash no matter where you are because you want to be able to catch him. This is a breed of an exception smell and a new aroma will push him to explore.

This is why safe walks are a must. Harriers are dogs who love spending time with their humans. If left alone for too long or too often, they will become bored and eventually destructive.

Having a destructive dog is time-consuming, challenging, and overall demands a lot of work.

They usually stand between 19 and 21 inches at the shoulder, and between 45 to 60 pounds. They tend to live between 12 to 15 years if you provide the right conditions.

All in, this breed is a smaller version of the English Foxhound.

If you are ready to welcome a dog who will demand a fair amount of grooming and exercise, and who will try to befriend any dog, then this breed may be for you.

Quick Facts

Real name: Harrier
Origin: United Kingdom
Breed type: Hound Dogs
Weight: 45 to 60 pounds
Height: 19 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 2 – 4 puppies
Color: Usually tri-colour
Coat: Short and hard coat

Harrier History

There is no one truth when it comes to understanding this breed’s origin.

Some records claim that the earliest types of the breed were actually crossed with Basset Hound and Bloodhounds.

On the other hand, some records claim how Harrier is actually a distant relative of famous English Foxhound and its mix with Greyhound and Fox Terrier. Furthermore, some records claim that this tri-colored breed is in fact a version of the English Foxhound.

Harriers can be found in England, but even there they are not still recognized. However, they are actively used as hunting dogs in Ireland to hunt foxes and hares, hence the name.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885 and was classified in the Hound Group.

For more information of the breed’s overall development and its traits, chek the The Harrier Club of America.

Now, let’s see where this breed comes from when it comes to the overall appearance.

Harrier Physical Appearance

Harrier is a compact and well-built dog.

Appearance-wise they look like a smaller version of English foxhound. Harriers can come in a wide range of colors, although they are most commonly tri-colored dogs of short and thick coats. They have very soft and floppy ears that should be cleaned regularly.

Learn how to clean a dog’s ears and when to do it safely. The most common colors of this breed are tri-colors, (black, tan, and white), and red and white.

As for the size, they have between 45 and 60 pounds, and between 19 to 21 inches. Harriers are dogs packed with heavy bones, although they may look slim and elegant.

Harriers are also slightly longer than tall, with a medium-length tail that is carried high. Their tail should never be curled over the back.

Eyes should be brown or hazel, and the nose is always black. Their overall expression is soft and relaxed.

Harrier Personality

Harriers are playful dogs with a very outgoing personalities.

As a true pack hound, these dogs will love when there is an activity happening. That being said, they will always be ready for some sort of action.

As a typical pack hound, they should love spending time with other dogs and should never present any aggression toward other dogs.

As a typical hound, your Harrier may be a bit independent, which is why they prefer having an experienced dog owner.

Due to their independent thinking and natural stubbornness training may be challenging, but never impossible.

At home, this dog will do his best to inform when a stranger is approaching.

Harrier With Children and Other Dogs

Harriers are commonly great with children. They enjoy the company of children as long as they know how to behave around dogs.

To prevent any biting or accident, always supervise your child with a dog, no matter how well they might get along. In the meantime, educate your children on how to interact safely with dogs.

That beind said, children should know the following:

  • That dogs are territorial beings
  • That dogs aren’t toys, no matter how small and cute they might be
  • That dogs do feel the pain
  • Not to pull dog’s ears or tail
  • Not to disturb dogs while they are eating, resting, drinking water, or resting in their crate

Also, double mention not to approach the dog while he is eating, or taking his food.

This is the most effective way to prevent any form of accident. As for the dogs, Harriers and big lovers of other dogs company.

After all, they are pack dogs and enjoy spending time with other dogs. If you have small pets, or even a cat, be careful because it’s most likely that they will see them as prey.

This may not be the case if they are raised together from puppyhood. Always introduce them in a safe, and calm environment.

Harrier Training

Training should start as soon as you bring your Harrier home.

Training and early socialization are two major factors when it comes to having a good canine citizen. Training will help you build authority, while proper socialization will help you create a routine.

To get the most out of training sessions, make them:

  • Fun
  • Short
  • Packed with treats
  • Reward-based
  • Engaging
  • Consistent

Training a dog always demands extra time and energy. This is why you should arm yourself with patience and treats. Always reward a nice behavior, and never punish your dog.

If you feel like you are losing your temper or that your training sessions are not giving the results that you want, it’s ok to ask for support.

You don’t want to miss an opportunity to train your dog the right way, or you will have to deal with a dog of destructive nature later on.

That being said here are the best option when it comes to training support:

  • Hire a professional dog trainer. This way you can speed up the training process, and get some pro inputs on further training.
    Enroll your pup in puppy classes. This is a great way to bond with your Fido further and learn together with your dog the best training practice.

Do not put all your energy into training, because you want to invest in early socialization as well.

By the time the socialization window ends, your Harrier should know the following:

  • Basic commands such as ‘no’ or ‘sit’
  • House dog rules
  • How to interact with house visitors
  • Which house areas are forbidden
  • How to walk on a leash
  • What to do when in the back yard
  • To know that daily walks are also a toilet break

All in all, dogs are creatures of routine.

If you manage to create proper training and deliver during the period of early socialization you should have a weel-behaved Harrier.

Harrier Grooming

Grooming is a serious practice that should help you have a healthy dog.

To make the grooming process easy and fast, you should have the right grooming tools on hand.

If you are not a big fan of exhausting brushing sessions, you are in luck, because Harrier is a dog with a short coat. This means that a nice 15-minutes long brush twice a week should keep him neat.

The rest is basic care and should include:

  • Trimming or grinding nails monthly
  • Bathing only when needed
  • Cleaning ears when needed
  • Checking eyes and gums on regular basis

If you feel like grooming your Harrier is too much work, you can always think about professional groomer service.

This may be a bit pricey, but it will save you a lot of time and energy. Even if you opt for this, know that brushing should still be done weekly.

Brushing is a great way to connect with your dog further and check his skin for any fleas and any sign of skin infection.

Harrier Health

Harriers are considered to be healthy dogs.

You may provide the best care possible and your Harrier may still get sick. This is why you should do your best to provide the right care, proper nutrition, and regular exercise.

Most common health issue that you can see in this breed is hip dysplasia.

This doesn’t mean that the dog will get it, but it does mean that you should be informed on this condition and how it can be prevented.

Is Harrier For You?

Harriers are great family dogs who will love being active during the day.

They will love spending time with their humans as much as they will appreciate indoor moments.

Their sense of smell is excellent and they are much appreciated as great working dogs. Still, this breed isn’t for you if you are not ready to provide the right care and regular exercise.

On the other hand, if you want a hard-working dog who is a bit clingy, and you have experience as a dog owner, then this breed may be for you.

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