The Harrier, also known as the Hare Hound or the Heirer, is a hardy hound, with a strong nose, that was developed in England to hunt hare. The root of the name “Harrier” is uncertain, but it may pertain to the Norman word “harier,” which in Saxon means “raches,” or hounds. The word “harier” was used to refer to all hounds – not just hare hounds - until the mid-1700s, and as far back as 1570 there are references to “stag- and fox harriers” in English literature. The Harrier has been described as a smaller version of its larger relative, the English Foxhound. This breed has a long history in the United States, where it has been used for hundreds of years for pack hunting purposes. As long as they are given the proper amount of attention, the Harrier also makes a wonderful family companion. They do not make particularly good watch dogs due to their outgoing, friendly disposition. The Harrier was approved by the American Kennel Club for registration in its Hound Group in 1885.
The Harrier should stand from 19 to 21 inches at the withers, with variations of one inch in either direction being acceptable under the American breed standard. They typically weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. The Harrier’s short, dense coat is very easy to care for and sheds minimally. Color is not regarded as important in this breed.