1. The First Pack Was Established in 1260
In England, where the Harrier breed originated, Sir Elias de Midhope established the first pack of Harriers in the year 1260. It was known as the Penistone pack, and the line endured for a remarkable 500 years.
2. They Are Also Known As Hare Hounds
The Harrier was originally bred to hunt hares. They have also been used to hunt foxes, but hares and rabbits are their specialty because Harriers are smaller than fox hunters like the English Foxhound. Most people believe, in fact, that breeders created the Harrier by breeding smaller and smaller English Foxhounds.
3. "Harrier" Comes From Norman Language
4. They Are Not Recognized In England
Even though Harriers originated in England, the English Kennel Club has not recognized the breed since 1971. This could be because English Harrier owners prefer to hunt with their dogs rather than show them. The last time Harriers were shown at an English Kennel Club show was in 1915. So many years with zero entries may have led the English Kennel Club to drop the Harrier as a recognized breed.
5. They Are Rare in the United States
Harriers have always been a rare breed in the U.S. since they were first imported during the 1700s. Between 1884 and 1994, only 949 Harriers were registered with the American Kennel Club.
6. They Are Popular in Ireland
Harriers are the most popular hounds for hunters in Ireland. The country has a total of 166 registered packs of Harriers. Many packs in Ireland hunt both foxes and hares, and some hunt only foxes.
7. Harriers Were Described in 18th Century Poetry
The first description of the Harrier was found in a portion of the poem "The Chace" by William Somervile, written in 1735. The portion of the poem reads:
On shoulders clean, upright and firm he stands;
His round cat-foot, straight hams, and wide-spread thighs,
And his low-dropping chest, confess his speed,
Or far extended plain.