Search Menu
  • Temperament: Friendly, Outgoing, People-Oriented
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 186 of 194
  • Height: 19-21 inches
  • Weight: 45-60 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Harrier standing sideways facing left.
Harrier coat detail.
Harrier sitting facing forward.
Harrier Pack
Harrier Puppy

Find a Puppy: Harrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Harrier Puppies

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Developed in England to hunt hare in packs, 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. The Harrier should, in fact, be a smaller version of the English Foxhound.

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 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.

BODY

The neck is long and strong with no excess skin or throatiness, sweeping smoothly into the muscling of the forequarters. The topline is level. Back muscular with no dip behind the withers or roach over the loin. Body-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.

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. The pads are thick, well developed and strong.

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.

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.

1
2
3
4
5
6

About the Harrier

Somewhat resembling a Beagle with a gym membership, Harriers are larger, more powerful hounds than their diminutive cousin—but smaller than the English Foxhound, a breed used in their development. Standing between 19 and 21 inches at the shoulder, Harriers have the timeless look of a working pack hound: a short, smart-looking coat; low-set, velvety ears; an irresistibly sweet face; and enough muscle and sinew to endure a long day’s hunt. A well-built Harrier will cover ground with a smooth, efficient gait.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Harrier Puppy

Find a Puppy: Harrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Harrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Harrier should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with overly high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The Harrier’s short, glossy coat requires minimal maintenance. A weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or a hound glove will help to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best, and an occasional bath(using a gentle shampoo) can help keep him from having a doggy odor. The ears should be regularly inspected and cleaned if needed with soft gauze and an ear-cleaning solution—the dog’s breeder or the veterinarian can recommend a good brand to use. The nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort and problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

Harriers were bred specifically to spend hours in the field chasing after prey, so they need ample exercise every day—without sufficient exercise, a Harrier may become bored and destructive. If they get all the activity they need, they can be adaptable to a range of home situations. While they are happiest living indoors with their human family, they make great companions on long walks or hikes. Because they were bred to hunt and chase animals and to follow a scent, they should only be allowed loose in areas that are securely fenced, and any walks must be taken on a leash. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in canine sports such as trackingrallycoursing ability tests, and other activities that can be enjoyed together by dog and owner.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Like many other hounds, Harriers are loving and amiable but also tend to have an independent nature, and they can be stubborn. Training takes consistency, patience, and an understanding of scent hound temperament. They respond well to calm, loving, but firm leadership. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the Harrier grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

While Harriers are generally healthy dogs, there are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed. Responsible breederstest their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and the preservation of the breed’s qualities. A Harrier’s ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Harrier head and shoulders facing forward.
Harrier
Harrier
Harrier: Winners Dog - Wesford Constant Comment
Harrier: Winners Bitch/Best of Winners | Wesford's Fool Of Hares
Harrier: Best of Breed | Ch. BlueHills Pacific Harmony

History

Among the AKC’s rarest breeds, there are probably more theories about Harrier origins than there are Harriers in the United States. Among the agreed-upon facts of this old breed is that they were bred for hunting hare (the breed name is based on the word “hare”) and that the first packs appeared in England sometime in the 1200s. Harriers have been in America since Colonial times, and it’s possible that sportsmen like George Washington and his Virginia neighbors utilized them in creating uniquely American hounds.

Did You Know?

The first pack of Harriers in England was the Penistone, which was established by Sir Elias de Midhope in 1260.
Despite all stories surrounding the ancient origins of Harriers, the general belief is that the dog of today is a smaller edition of the Foxhound, bred down by selective breeding.
Harrier supposedly derives from the Norman harier, denoting Saxon raches, or hounds.
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 the Colonial times.
The Harrier is particularly useful in the drag hunt, in which his slower pace is no detriment.
Some specimens of Harrier bear a unique blue mottle color.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Developed in England to hunt hare in packs, 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. The Harrier should, in fact, be a smaller version of the English Foxhound.

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 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.

BODY

The neck is long and strong with no excess skin or throatiness, sweeping smoothly into the muscling of the forequarters. The topline is level. Back muscular with no dip behind the withers or roach over the loin. Body-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.

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. The pads are thick, well developed and strong.

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.

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.

1
2
3
4
5
6

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black White & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 034
Lemon & White Check Mark For Standard Color 115
Red & White Check Mark For Standard Color 146

Other Breeds to Explore

TOP