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Although the origins are not exact, it is widely thought that the Harrier originated in the United Kingdom, most probably after being bred down from the English Foxhound. As the name suggests, the breed was developed to hunt hare in packs, with the Harrierís stamina and ability to track making it perfect for this role. Unlike many hunting breeds, the Harrier hunts at a slower rate and while this may sound like a drawback for hunters, it means they can follow the breed on foot. This is something that made the breed fairly popular in the United Kingdom, although it would be fair to say that this popularity isnít as evident in the United States. Nowadays however the breed is generally used as a companion.
While many liken this breed to the English Foxhound, one difference is that the Harrier is much smaller in size. The breed stands around twenty inches tall, with the weight anywhere between forty and sixty pounds. The coat can be described as short, hard and glossy and while the standards state that it can come in any color; white, red and tan are quite popular. There are no distinct features for this breed with the whole body in complete proportion. The ears are large, wide and hang beside the cheeks, while the muzzle ends with a black, dense nose. The breed has a large tail that stands tall, while the feet are relatively small and rounded.
In terms of the temperament of the breed, the Harrier is a delightful dog that is active, intelligent and loving amongst other things. It is therefore no surprise to hear that the breed gets on fantastically well with children and other dogs, although for non-canine pets there could be issues. For families that have plenty of love and attention to give, this breed will be perfect. They thrive on attention and will do anything to stay with their families. Any prospective owners should know that the Harrier needs to be watched at all times however, as they like to explore and will not think twice about roaming around, with their hunting instincts always prevalent. For this reason they should only be housed in a fenced yard and when exercised they should always be kept on a leash. On the subject of exercising, this is a breed that requires plenty as otherwise negative traits can quite easily appear.
The Harrier can only be described as a very healthy breed with very few issues affecting them. Just like the majority of breeds, hip dysplasia can sometimes occur but other than that there is nothing too common. Despite this, they have a relatively short life expectancy, with most living between ten and twelve years. Due to the amount of exercise the breed requires, apartment life is not suitable although if this is unavoidable, regular daily exercise must be provided.
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