The Harrier that we know today developed in England in the early 1200's and has one of the cleanest family tree records of any hound. Since there is an occasional puppy born with unusual coat coloring,
there is a debate about the origins of the breed prior to the time records were kept on the first pack of Harriers. For five centuries we know this breed's breeding was confined to one pack, owned by a single family. The Virginia Colonial hunters used this excellent scent hound for tracking bear, boar and deer before we became a nation. They work well in a pack when hunting and have gained a good deal of respect from hunters in the southern states for their good nose and tenacity.
Harrier Dog 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 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 almond shaped, medium size, set well apart, brown or hazel colour in darker dogs. Lighter hazel to yellow in lighter dogs, though darker colours 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.
The topline is level. Back muscular with no dip behind the withers or roach over the loin. 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.
Harrier 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. The body is solidly built, full of strength and quality. The breed has as much substance and bone as possible without being heavy or coarse.
Harrier Coat and Colour
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. Colour Any colour, not regarded as very important.
The neck is long and strong with no excess skin or throatiness, sweeping smoothly into the muscling of the 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.
The tail is long, set on high and carried upwards. It tapers to a point with a brush of hair.
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 as important as side gait, which is smooth and ground-covering.”
For the Harrier I recommend foods that are a blend of horse meat, beef, and small amounts of poultry blended with wheat, oats, and yellow corn. Since you may not be able to find this recommended blend in any one commercial food, you may need to blend two foods to achieve this mix. I also recommend that you avoid feeding a Harrier any fish, beet pulp, soy, or white rice. Native food supplies that were available to this breed in their developing years would have been meats from fox, deer, and boar. Primary vegetables were the low ground type and grains were rye and wheat.