Home   »   Breeds   »   Harrier   »   History

Looking for a Harrier?

The oldest work on hare hunting dates back to the ancient Greek historian Xenophon about 400 B.C. The Harrier, as he exists today, was unknown in Xenophon's time. The great English authority on all breeds, Stonehenge, was a little mystified by the origin of the Harrier. The theory he advances rather cautiously is that it springs from the old Southern hound, with an infusion of a little Greyhound blood.

The first pack of Harriers in England was the Penistone, which was established by Sir Elias Midhope in 1260. These Harriers were held together for at least five centuries. Hunting the hare has always had great popularity throughout the British Isles. One great cause of its popularity was that a pack of Harriers could be followed on foot. This enlisted the interest of many, and among the hundred-odd packs that hunted regularly in England over half a century ago, many were scratch packs. A scratch pack was made up of hounds owned by various individuals-thus bringing the sport down to the level of the poorer man.

Despite all stories of the ancient origin of Harriers, it is the general belief that the dog of today is merely a smaller edition of the Foxhound, and that he has been bred down from the larger hound by selective breeding. With the exception of size, the Harrier is the external replica of the Foxhound.

Harriers have been known in the United States as long as any of the scent-hound breeds, and they have been used for hunting since Colonial times.

More Info