Harrier Health Information

Overall, Harriers are a very healthy breed and normally live 12-15 years. Of course, Harriers are subject to many of the acquired problems and diseases that can affect all breeds of dogs and all mixed breeds, ranging from ear infections to viral diseases to allergies to cancer. Some diseases are genetic or run in families, but the Harrier has very few genetic issues of which we are aware. 

Canine Hip Dysplasia is the most common problem that plagues the Harrier.  Briefly, hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that causes malformation of the hip joint.  This malformation can cause pain and arthritis.  In moderately to severely affected dogs, surgery may be required.  As stated above, this disease is genetic, but the mode of inheritance is not yet known. 

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has been involved in trying to help breeders reduce the incidence of this disease for several decades and have set up guidelines for breeders to follow.  Their recommendations are to breed only normal dogs who have a normal ancestry and only breed dogs who come from litters with a low incidence of hip dysplasia. 

Although eye disease are uncommon, it is also recommended that all breeders check breeding stock for any problems.  This can be accomplished and certified through an organization called CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation).  This test is done yearly by a certified canine ophthalmologist.

Hypothyroidism may or may not be a problem in Harriers. While there have been some cases reported, there haven't been nearly enough hounds tested to ascertain the extent of the disease within the breed.  When more information is available, we will update this website.

It is important for Harrier owners to report any serious disease to their breeder.  Because our numbers are so small, it is very important for breeders to know about even one dog with a problem.  This will help breeders stop a problem from developing in the breed.