Harrier Standards Around the World

 American Kennel Club (AKC)

Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) Harrier Standard

The FCI recognizes Harriers, but we cannot find a Harrier standard. The FCI uses the official standard in each breed's country of origin. Unfortunately, this does not leave a clear definition for Harriers.


Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Harrier Standard

The CKC standard is identical to the old AKC standard (prior to 1988.) It is very short and informal.

General Appearance

The points of the modern Harrier are very similar to those of the English Foxhound. The Harrier, however, is smaller. They should be active, well balanced and full of strength and quality.


The most popular size is 19-21 inches (48-53 cm)


The head should be of a medium size with a good bold forehead, and plenty of expression.


Head must be set well up on a neck of ample length, and not heavy.


Shoulders sloping into the muscles of the back, clean and not loaded on the withers or point. The elbow's point 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 exagerated in the slightest degree.


The back level and muscular, and not dipping behind the withers or arching over the loins. Deep, well-sprung ribs, running well back, with plenty of heart room, and a deep chest.


Hind legs and hocks stand square, with a good sweep and muscular thigh to take weight off the body. Round cat-like feet, and close toes turning inward.


Stern should be set well up, long, and well controlled.


United Kennel Club (UKC)

Official UKC Breed Standard for the Harrier

Scenthounds Group (Copyright 1992 United Kennel Club Inc.)

The breed stands mid-way between the Beagle and the Foxhound in height. It is assumed that they are descended from the Greek hounds brought to Britain; they have been known as a distinct breed since 1130. In the past few centuries, when hunting from horseback came about, a small foxhound was crossed with the breed to increase its speed. It was bred to hunt hare. The breed is a pack animal and usually preferes the company of the pack to humans. The Harrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1949.

General Appearance

The Harrier is very similar in appearance to the English Foxhond, but smaller. It is 19 to 21 inches at the shoulders. Any good hound color, natural ear and tail. A solid built dog.


A hound pack animal, usually preferring the company of the pack to humans. Being a pack breed, aggressiveness toward othe dogs annot be tolerated.

Head & Skull

Head should be of medium size with a good bold forehead. Its head should be in proportion to the dog. The same length from the stop to occiput as the stop to the nose.
Teeth -- A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors or level bite.
Eyes -- Of medium size, set well apart, brown or hazel in color. Hazel to yellow in lighter dogs, but darker always preferred.
Nose -- Should have wide and open nostrils, black or the darker the better in color.
Ears -- Set on low and lie close to the cheeks, rounded on the tips.


The neck is long and strong with no excess skin or throatiness, sweeping into the muscling of the forequarters.


Shoulders sloping into the muscles of the back, are clean and not loaded on the withers. The elbo's point set well away from the ribs, running parallel with the body not turning in or out. Moderate angulation.
Forelegs -- Good, straight legs with plenty of bone running well down to the toes, incluned to knuckle very slightly, but not exaggerated in the slightest degree.


The back level and muscular, and no dipping behind the withers or arching over the loin. The loain is short, wide and well-muscled. Deep well-sprung ribs, running well back, with plenty of heart room, and a deep chest.


Angulation in balance with the front assembly, so the rear drive is in harmony with the front reach. well-developed muscles providing strength for long hours of work. Endurance is more important than pure speed.
Hind Legs -- The stifles are only moderately angulated to provide the endurance.


Feet point straight ahead, are round and cat-like; with toes set close together, and thick well-developed pads.


Long, set on high, and carried up from 3 o'clock to 12 o'clock, depending on the attitude. It tapers to a point with a brush of hair. The tail should not be curled over the back.


Short, dense, hard and glossy. Coat texture on the ears is finer on the ears than on the body. There is a brush of hair on the underside of the tail.


Any good hound color. Color not regarded as very important.


The height at the withers is 19 to 21 inches.


The perfect coordination between the front and rear legs. Drive and reach are consistent with the desired moderate angulation. The dog is straight coming and going. A slight toeing-in of the front feet is acceptable. Side gait is more important than coming and going. The side gait should be smooth, efficient and ground covering.


Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Extreme viciousness or shyness.


English "Standard"

(Kennel Club, London)


As this breed has not been exhibited in England, for many years, the Kennel Club, England has not included a standard of the Harrier in the published list of "Standards of Breeds".

"The points of the modern Harrier are very similar to those of the Foxhound. The Harrier however, is smaller than the Foxhound; the most popular size is 48-53 cms (19-21 inches)".


Australian Standard

The Australian standard for the Harrier is the same as the English standard, i.e., non-existant. (see below)


Standards in English Packs

The whole concept of a "standard" in England is very different from the US. Hounds are bred for the type of terrain and hunting desired. Packs with mounted followers require a different type of Harrier than those with followers on foot. Open flat country is different than rocky hills, and since many packs hunt fox and hare, different Hounds are required. There are many types of Harriers described in England with various names ("stud book", "old English", "modern", "dwarf Foxhound", "southern", "Welsh", "west country", "foot", "pure", etc...). Current Harriers are of the stud-book or "dwarf Foxhound" type. Welsh or west country Harriers still exist and appear separately in the AMHB Studbooks. Most descriptions focus on what the hound should do rather than what it should look like. The term "topline" refers to the male line of a pedigree (across the top). Breeding always puts soundness and quality above appearance. Below is one standard, of unknown origin, which is at least comparable to the Harriers seen today.

Somewhat broad, not in any way peaked like the Bloodhound, but long from the apex to the frontal bones; eyebrows very prominent; cheeks cut clean from the eye to the nostril; ears set low, soft and thin. The expression quieter and more benevolent than that of the Foxhound; the fierce character of the latter is not wanted.
Very bright and deeply set. A playful, lively look is truly Harrier-like.
Should be perfectly clean like a Foxhound's, long and lean.
Legs and Feet
Should be as much like a Foxhound's as possible. The bone should be perfectly straight from the arm downwards and descend in the same degree of size to his ankles, or, as the saying is, "Down to the toes." The knee should be almost flat and level. There should be no curve until coming to the toes, which should be very strong and cat-shaped.
The blades should be well in the back and should slant, otherwise should be well below the elbows.
Fore Ribs & Brisket
Deep fine ribs are very essential, and the brisket should be well below the elbows.
Back and Loin
Back should be straight, the loin wide, back ribs deep and long, a slight prominence over the croup.
Quarters & Hocks
The quarters cannot be too long in proportion, and showing a second thigh to meet a straight hock low down, the shank bone short and meeting shapely feet.
The Coat
Should be the same as that of the Foxhound.
The old or more general hue of the Harrier is a sort of yellow, or lemon-pied-hare-pied, as it was called. It looks very effective but is a good deal merged now with the fashionable Belvoir tan. (Actually Harriers come in all hound colours.)
Long and carried gaily, not curled at all.
Dogs 20 inches; Bitches, 181/2 inches.


Early Description

The earliest detailed decription of a Harrier we can find is contained in William Somervile's The Chace written in 1735. This beautiful prose contains many of the points in a standard. The image created is not too different from what we see today.


"See there with count'nance blithe,
And with a courtly grin, the fawning hound
Salutes thee cow'ring, his wide op'ning nose
Upward he curls, and his large sloe-black eyes
Melt in soft blandishments and humble joy;
His glossy skin, or yellow-pied, or blue,
In lights or shades by Nature's pencil drawn,
Reflects the various tints; his ears and legs,
Fleckt here and there, in gay enamel'd pride,
Rival the speckled pard; his rush-grown tail
O'er his broad back bends in an ample arch;
On shoulders clean, upright and firm he stands;
His round cat-foot, straight hams, and wide-spread thighs,
And his low-dropping chest, confess his speed,
Or far extended plain; in ev'ry part
So well proportion'd, that the nicer skill
Of Phidas himself can't blame thy choice."

(in case your dictionary isn't handy, a pard is a leo'pard', and Phidas was a Greek sculptor)