Known for their strong nose, the Harrier, a scent hound, was developed in England to hunt hare in packs. Although the Harrier is a smaller version of the English Foxhound, he is still a sturdy, large-boned dog. The breed will work tirelessly, no matter the terrain, for long periods. Today, they serve as family companions and excel in tracking and agility. Outgoing and friendly, as a working pack breed, Harriers should be able to work closely with other hounds.
It is believed that the Harrier is one of the oldest scent hounds in existence. Some believe the Harrier descends from a breed known as the Southern Hound, with a tinge of Greyhound blood. Others claim that the dog is a combination of the now extinct Talbot and Saint Hubert Hounds, and possibly the French Basset Hound. Whatever the origin, today's Harrier resembles a cross between a Beagle and an English Foxhound and the breed is well suited to hunting foxes. The Harrier was mostly used by the wealthy class; however they were also popular among the poor who were unable to afford horses for their hunt. The Harrier has a keen sense of smell, a quick wit and is practically inexhaustible. Many times the prey of this breed simply collapses from the pure exhaustion of the chase. The Harrier remains a rare breed in the United States, but it is still popular in England where it carries the reputation of being a working dog. Harriers were one of the first breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, in 1885, and were exhibited at the very first Westminster Kennel Club show in 1877.