Outgoing, intelligent, and tolerant


Outgoing, intelligent, and tolerant

The Harrier is not an oversized Beagle or a small English Foxhound. He’s a distinct breed, a smaller version of the English Foxhound and a scenthound developed to hunt hares in packs. The large-boned, sturdy Harrier has a high energy level and was bred to hunt in all conditions.

It’s believed that Harrier-type dogs were developed in Europe by crossing the now-extinct old Southern hound with the Greyhound and brought to England after the Normans invaded in 1066. The first Harrier pack goes back to 1260 and the Penistone Pack in Britain.

In 1891, the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles published a Stud Book, which shows that Harriers were more popular than Beagles. Today the Harrier is a rare breed in the U.S., with only six litters of Harriers containing 24 puppies registered with the AKC in 1999.

A member of AKC’s Hound Group, the Harrier loves a good game and enjoys human companionship as other canines.~Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Breed Standard

Official Standard of the Harrier

Harrier Club of America

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.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Size – 19 to 21 inches for dogs and bitches, variation of one inch in either direction is acceptable. Proportion is off-square. The Harrier is slightly longer from point of shoulder to rump than from withers to ground. Substance – Solidly built, full of strength and quality. The breed has as much substance and bone as possible without being heavy or coarse.

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. The skull is in proportion to the entire animal, with good length and breadth and a bold forehead. The stop is moderately defined. The muzzle from stop to tip of nose is approximately the same length as the skull from stop to occiput. The muzzle is substantial with good depth, and the lips complete the square, clean look of the muzzle, without excess skin or flews. A good nose is essential. It must be wide, with well opened nostrils. Teeth meet in a scissors bite or they may be level. Overshot or undershot bites faulted to the degree of severity of the misalignment.

Neck, Topline, 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. The tail is long, set on high and carried up from 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock, depending on attitude. It tapers to a point with a brush of hair. The tail should not be curled over the back.

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.

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.

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.

Color: Any color, not regarded as very important.

Gait: Perfect coordination between the front and hind legs. Reach and drive are consistent with the desired moderate angulation. Coming and going, the dog moves in a straight line, evidencing no sign of crabbing. A slight toeing-in of the front feet is acceptable. Clean movement coming and going is important, but not nearly as important as side gait, which is smooth, efficient and ground-covering.

Temperament: Outgoing and friendly, as a working pack breed, Harriers must be able to work in close contact with other hounds. Therefore, aggressiveness towards other dogs cannot be tolerated.
Approved December 13, 1988

Effective February 1, 1989

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