Harrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Overview and more

Harrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Breed Overview

The breed shares similarities with Beagles but is larger in size, generally weighing between 45-60 pounds. Harriers are energetic, friendly, and independent hunting dogs known for their excellent scenting abilities, making them efficient tracking companions. With a playful and affectionate nature, they excel in various dog sports and outdoor activities. Their coat is short, dense, and easy to maintain, usually tricolor with a signature black and tan saddle pattern. Harriers thrive in active households with ample space to roam and frequent exercise to satisfy their high energy levels.


Temperament: The Harrier is known for its friendly and outgoing nature, making them excellent companions. They are energetic and playful, enjoying activities that engage both their body and mind. Harriers are social dogs who get along well with children and other pets, thanks to their pack-oriented mentality. They are also independent thinkers, so early training and socialization are crucial to channel their intelligence positively. While they have a strong hunting instinct, Harriers can adapt to various environments and lifestyles, as long as they receive ample exercise and mental stimulation to satisfy their active minds.

Size and Appearance

Size and Appearance: The harrier breed typically stands between 19-21 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs around 45-60 pounds. They boast a sleek, athletic build with a strong, sturdy frame that exudes power and agility. Harriers have a slightly domed skull, expressive eyes, and long, velvety ears that frame their friendly and alert face. Their dense, short coat comes in a variety of colors such as tricolor, red and white, lemon and white, or tan and white, often featuring a distinct saddle pattern. Overall, the harrier presents a balanced, athletic, and energetic appearance that reflects their nature as a dedicated hunting companion.

Health and Lifespan

Harriers are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 10-12 years. They may be prone to certain health conditions common in similar breeds, such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and ear infections. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups are essential for maintaining their overall well-being. It's important to monitor their weight to prevent obesity, which can contribute to joint issues. Providing regular dental care and keeping up with vaccinations can also help ensure a long and healthy life for these active and social dogs.

Family Compatibility

Harriers are known for their friendly and sociable nature, making them an excellent choice for families. They are affectionate towards children and get along well with other pets. Harriers are energetic and playful, which can be a great match for active families looking for a fun companion. Their intelligence and obedience make them easy to train, and their love for human interaction ensures a strong bond with family members. However, their high energy levels require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and well-adjusted in a family setting.

Exercise Needs

Harriers are a high-energy breed that requires plenty of exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, runs, or playtime in a securely fenced area are essential to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Engaging in activities such as agility, scent work, or even jogging alongside a biking owner can help fulfill their exercise needs. Providing mental stimulation through interactive toys or puzzle games can also contribute to their overall fitness. Regular exercise is crucial for Harriers to stay healthy, happy, and well-behaved companions.

Diet and Feeding

Harriers require a balanced diet tailored to their activity level and size. Feed them high-quality dog food rich in lean protein to support their energy needs. Monitor portions carefully to prevent obesity, a common issue in this breed. Treats should be limited and used for training purposes. Ensure access to fresh water at all times. Some Harriers may have food sensitivities or allergies, so it's essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet plan for your individual dog. Overall, maintaining a consistent feeding schedule and providing proper nutrition is crucial for the health and well-being of your Harrier.
Harrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Living Environment

Harriers thrive in environments where they have plenty of space to roam and explore. They are active dogs that require daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. A home with a securely fenced yard is ideal to prevent them from wandering off in pursuit of an interesting scent. Harriers enjoy being part of the family and do well in households where they receive attention and companionship. They can adapt to apartment living if their exercise needs are met, but a rural or suburban setting where they can stretch their legs freely is best for this energetic breed.


Harriers have a short, dense coat that is relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush will help to keep their coat in good condition by removing loose hair and preventing matting. Bathing should only be done when necessary to avoid drying out their skin. Checking and cleaning their ears regularly is important to prevent infections, as their floppy ears can trap moisture and debris. Trimming their nails every few weeks will help prevent overgrowth and potential discomfort. Regular dental care is also essential to maintain their overall health.

Training and Intelligence

Originally bred as hunting dogs, this breed is intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. Their intelligence means they quickly pick up commands and tricks, particularly if training sessions are kept engaging and positive. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to harnessing their natural abilities. Including mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or agility exercises, can help prevent boredom and ensure a well-rounded training experience. Additionally, starting training early is beneficial to establish good behaviors and a strong bond with these highly trainable dogs.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

Exercise and Activity Requirements:
Harriers are an energetic and athletic breed that require plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They benefit from daily walks, runs, or play sessions in a secured area to prevent them from following their strong hunting instincts. Engaging in activities such as agility training, hiking, or even jogging can help fulfill their need for physical and mental stimulation. Lack of exercise can lead to behavioral issues and weight gain, so it's important to provide them with regular opportunities to release their energy. A well-exercised harrier is a content and well-behaved companion.


Harriers are social dogs that thrive on interaction with both humans and other animals from a young age. Proper socialization is crucial to ensure they develop into well-rounded and friendly companions. Introducing them to various situations, people, and environments early on helps prevent shyness or aggression. Positive interactions during socialization can also prevent behavioral problems and anxiety in adulthood. It is important to expose Harriers to different sights, sounds, and experiences gradually to build their confidence and create a balanced temperament. Regular socialization throughout their lives is key to maintaining their sociable and amicable nature.


Harriers typically have a lifespan ranging from 12 to 15 years when they are well cared for and provided with proper nutrition and exercise. Providing regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can help ensure a long and healthy life for these energetic and friendly dogs. Additionally, early detection of any potential health issues through routine screenings can also contribute to increasing the lifespan of these active and playful companions.

Common Behavioral Issues

Common Behavioral Issues: Harriers are known to have high energy levels and a strong hunting instinct, which can lead to behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, and chasing small animals. They may also be prone to wander off if not in a securely fenced area. Their social nature makes them prone to separation anxiety, so they may exhibit destructive behaviors when left alone for long periods. Early socialization and consistent training are key to addressing these issues, along with providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them engaged and prevent boredom-related behaviors.
Harrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Special Considerations

When considering bringing a Harrier into your home, it's important to note their high energy levels and need for regular exercise. This breed thrives in environments where they can roam and explore, making them well-suited for families with active lifestyles. Additionally, as a scent hound, Harriers have a strong instinct to track scents, so they should always be kept on a leash or in a secure area to prevent them from wandering off in pursuit of an interesting scent. Proper training and socialization from a young age are essential to manage their independent nature and prevent potential behavioral issues.

Guardian Instincts

The Harrier breed possesses strong guardian instincts despite its friendly nature. They are naturally protective of their family and territory, making them reliable watchdogs. Harriers are alert and quick to pick up on any potential threats, often barking to alert their owners. While they are not aggressive by nature, Harriers will stand their ground when sensing danger and are known to be courageous in defending their loved ones. Their loyalty and protective instincts make them excellent companions for those seeking a dog that will keep a watchful eye over their home and loved ones.

Allergies and Shedding

Harriers are moderate shedders, requiring regular brushing to manage loose fur and minimize allergens in the home. Their short, dense coat sheds year-round, but more heavily during seasonal changes. While they do not have a double coat, they still produce dander that can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. Maintaining a consistent grooming routine, including weekly brushing and occasional baths, can help reduce shedding and minimize potential allergic reactions. Additionally, ensuring a balanced diet and proper hydration can contribute to overall skin health, potentially alleviating allergy symptoms related to environmental triggers.

Cost of Ownership

When considering the cost of owning a Harrier, factors to account for include initial purchase price (ranging from $500 to $1000), routine veterinary care ($200 to $400 per year), food expenses ($300 to $700 annually), grooming supplies ($50 to $100 per year), training classes ($100 to $200), toys and accessories ($50 to $100), and potential unforeseen medical expenses. Additionally, pet insurance, which may cost around $30 to $50 per month, can provide financial security for unexpected health issues. Overall, the cost of owning a Harrier can vary depending on individual needs and circumstances but usually ranges between $1000 to $2000 annually.

Availability and Adoption

This breed can be challenging to find in adoption centers or shelters due to its lesser popularity compared to other breeds. Prospective owners interested in adopting a Hound breed may come across Harriers through specialized rescue groups, breed-specific shelters, or online adoption platforms. It's essential for potential adopters to conduct thorough research on the breed's characteristics, exercise needs, and temperament to ensure a harmonious match. Additionally, reaching out to reputable breeders who may occasionally have Harriers available for adoption or know of any rescue opportunities could also be a viable option for those looking to provide a home for this energetic and friendly canine companion.

Famous Examples

Sassie was a beloved dog known for her exceptional skills in hunting and agility, becoming a standout in various competitive events. Another notable harrier was Tucker, who gained fame through his endearing appearance in several television commercials, captivating audiences with his playful and friendly demeanor. Both dogs showcased the breed's intelligence, athleticism, and sociable nature, embodying the quintessential characteristics that define harriers as remarkable companions and performers in various arenas.
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