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Harrier - Temperament & Personality

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Harriers are playful dogs who have sometimes been called a Beagle on steroids. They have energy and stamina to spare and may seem like puppies well into adulthood. Harriers love attention, but they do not demand all eyes on them. They will accept a belly rub from just about anyone willing to give it, and after a long day in the hunting field, like nothing more than to curl up a his owners' feet for a nap. Harriers are excellent with children, playful and patient, and can be trusted around kids from outside his own family. They are pack animals, which means they love to be around lots of people and are even happier around lots of dogs.

Activity Requirements

Harriers were designed for stamina in the hunting field, and they require a lot of vigorous activity to be happy and healthy. This dog doesn't catch animals with his speed, but rather runs prey until they are too tired to keep going, so lots of exercise is a must. Their medium size may seem ideal for an apartment, but this is not an apartment dog, even in the city where he may have a lot of indoor space. Harriers are country dogs and are best suited for homes with large yards. Hunting is their favorite activity and they can endure long days in the field in most any conditions. If your family doesn't hunt, you can raise a happy Harrier by allowing him to run several times a day and involving him in tracking activities. Long walks, hikes and jogs are also excellent ways to burn off energy. One to two hours per day of vigorous activity is the guideline for a well-adjusted Harrier.


Harriers have a stubborn side and can be a challenge to train. While they pick up hunting commands quickly, being told what to do in the house is a different story. Calm-assertive leadership is important, and lots of treats should be kept on hand. Harriers to best when training is conducted in short sessions. Harsh tones and discipline lead to avoidance behaviors and a dog that won't listen to anybody.

Behavioral Traits

Harriers can not be trusted with non-canine pets. They are chasers and hunters and their instincts remain strong. Even if raised alongside cats, at some point the Harrier will want to chase and hunt them. They get along well with other dogs, but cats and rodents should be avoided.

Like other hound breeds, Harriers can be prone to barking and howling, especially at night or when left alone for long periods of time. It is important to exercise a Harrier before he will be left by himself, and to always leave him with interesting activities to occupy his time while you are away. Not only will bored Harriers bark, they are also prone to destructive chewing. Because they are pack dogs, Harriers can be less anxious if they have a companion dog to keep them company while the family is out of the house.

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