The Harrier was developed in England as a pack-hunter. Its primary prey was hare, so it had to be active, strong, tireless and reasonably fast. The breed is effectively a small Foxhound.
The long and bony build of the Harrier lends it a large look. Being a scenting pack hound, it runs perfectly with other dogs and hunts tirelessly on any kind of land for long periods. It has a hard and short coat. When the Harrier is excited, it has an alert expression, which changes into a gentle one while resting.
The harrier is a smaller version of the English foxhound, more suited for hunting hares. It has large bone for its size, and is slightly longer than tall. It is a scenting pack hound and should be capable of running with other dogs, scenting its quarry and hunting tirelessly over any terrain for long periods.
It has a gentle expression when relaxed and alert when aroused. The coat is short and hard.
The harrier is somewhat more playful and outgoing than the foxhound, but not as much as the beagle. It is amiable, tolerant and good with children. Its first love is for the hunt, and it loves to sniff and trail.
It needs daily exercise in a safe area. Most are reserved with strangers. It tends to bay.
This breed can stay outdoors in cold climates only if bedding and warm shelter is provided. Daily exercise is a must for the Harrier; it is also best if it is taken out for outdoor games, a jog, or a long walk.
The dog's coat, meanwhile, needs only the occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
As the breed is fond of company, it does not like to be left alone. Many Harriers are at their best when playing with other dogs.
The Harrier, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, is prone to problems like epilepsy and perianal fistula.
The major health issue affecting this breed is canine hip dysplasia (CHD).
Some think that the breed might have descended from St. Hubert and Talbot hounds, the Brachet or the French Basset. It is guessed from this ancestry, that the Harrier was a dog that could track hare by its scent at such a pace that hunters could easily follow the dog on foot.