The Harrier is an ancient breed that originated in England, with roots dating back to at least the 13th century. The breed was developed for hunting hare and foxes, making them excellent scent hounds. Harriers are believed to be descended from various hounds brought to Britain by the Normans.
Harriers may suffer from cataracts, cerebellar abiotrophy, cerebellar ataxia (hound), epilepsy, hernia (inguinal), hip dysplasia, persistent pupillary membranes, perianal fistula, progressive retinal atrophy, and renal dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Harriers are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are social dogs that get along well with children, other dogs, and even cats if raised together. Being a scent hound, Harriers have a strong prey drive and an excellent sense of smell, so it's essential to keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area during outdoor activities. They require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
The name "Harrier" comes from the French word "harier," which means "to harass" or "to hound."
The Harrier is often considered a smaller version of the English Foxhound.
According to the UKC, the breed was developed in England to hunt hare in packs; the first pack of Harriers was established in 1260.
Harriers are relatively rare, and their population is more limited compared to other popular hound breeds.