Different breeds of dogs have different special purposes. The Anatolien Shepherd, for instance, is used exclusively as a guard dog, or the Dogo Argentino, that only comes in the color white, was used in illegal dog fights. Then there is the German Shepherd that has been used as a police dog for many years. Some of these dog histories are well-known and are perfectly documented and preserved. Then there are some others about whom not much is known, and one such breed is the Harrier.
There are several theories surrounding the origin of this breed. There is one that states that the very first Harriers were crossed with several different dogs such as the Bloodhound, the Talbot hound (now extinct), and the Basset hound. Another one says that this dog actually came from the Greyhound, the Fox Terrier, and the English foxhound. Another quite popular one states that this breed has been around for just one thousand years.
People used this dog to hunt on foot. It was basically a poor person's dog, because the rich people of England preferred the Foxhound, which could only be followed by horse. Due to this, people used to bring a pack of dogs together (called a scrap pack because they all had different owners) and go on the hunt. As this dog's name suggests, it was mainly used to hunt hares, although it was used for a bit of fox-hunting as well.
The average height of this dog should be 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder. The average weight is between 45 to 65 lbs. This breed is slightly longer than it is tall, with a good bone structure. As it was exclusively bred for hunting, it does not tire easily. It has been trained to be able to work on all kinds of terrain, and its body should reflect that ability.
This breed has a short and hard coat that sheds. The coat comes in many different colors. The ears are dropped and rounded at the bottom. Eyes are either brown or hazel in color, and the nose is black. The tail is medium in length and can be carried high, but it is not curled.
This is a fun-loving breed of dog that is a delight to be around. It is great with children, is cheerful, and has a sweet disposition. This dog should never be taken outside without a leash, because it is first and foremost a hunting dog. It will find lots of tempting smells outside and will go exploring. However, there is a chance that it might not come back if it gets too engrossed. Hence, also ensure that you have a fence in your yard if you are planning on letting your dog out.
This dog is not recommended for apartment life because of its high energy level. The most suitable place for it to live is where it will have constant access to a nice big yard, one that has a high fence around it. As it was bred to hunt in packs, it is necessary for it to have a playmate for most part of the day, be it another dog or a family member. If this dog does not receive adequate exercise, it can become a nuisance and chew on the furniture and other items in the house. Hence, it is a good idea to keep it occupied. This dog has been described as a 'Beagle on steroids'.
The average life expectancy of this dog is 12 to 15 years. It is commonly known to be affected by hip dysplasia.
Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, because the ones that come from such places usually do not have their vaccines, their backgrounds and breeding are unsure, and there is usually no regard for the breed standard. It is a better idea to look for a breeder with a good reputation that can guarantee the health and quality of his animals. Also, this will discourage the cruel trade of breeding animals for money.