Crossbreeds vary greatly in size and appearance, lurchers nonetheless boast common features including friendly natures, exceptional loyalty and a sense of fun. They can be awesome pets but do need plenty of exercise together with human company throughout the day. Elegant dogs with impressive stamina, they just love adventuring in the great outdoors.
Which breed group is the lurcher in?
Breed group: none – not recognised by the Kennel club
Lurcher breed history
Not a specific breed but rather a crossbreed, the lurcher first emerged in the UK and probably in the 14th or 15th centuries. This was a time when only the aristocracy was permitted to own sighthounds (dogs which hunt by sight and not scent). Sighthounds including greyhounds and Irish wolfhounds were then bred with collies and terriers to circumvent the regulations. Efficient hunters of hares, rabbits, foxes and game birds, lurchers also became companion dogs for traveling peoples.
Lurchers remain popular dogs but are not yet recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club or any other international organisation.
Lurcher breed characteristics
Lurchers vary in size according to their parentage but these diverse dogs share an elegant and athletic appearance similar to that of a greyhound. Their long heads and necks enhance their graceful appearance and they boast alert eyes that are oval in shape. Their ears are small and lurchers possess deep chests and long backs. Their coats can be fine and smooth or coarse and coat colour varies.
Always prized for their speed, stamina, courage, and intelligence, lurchers are also loyal, affectionate and somewhat mischievous. Their characters vary dramatically according to their ancestry and so some of these dogs are a little lazy while others have a serious case of ADHD! They tend to form strong bonds with people and they can exhibit a powerful herding instinct.
- Lifespan: 12-13 years
- Height: up to 71cm
- Weight: up to 32kg
- Vary in size
- Smooth or coarse coat
- Variety of colours
- Long backs and deep chests
- Elegant heads
- Strong prey drive
- May possess a herding instinct
- Good with older children
- Voracious eaters
Health issues with lurchers
As lurchers are crossbreeds, each is an individual and so it is impossible to provide an accurate assessment of potential health issues. However, there is some commonality between these dogs and so they are most likely to suffer from the following conditions:
- Bloat - gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)
- Heart problems
- Bone cancer
- A sensitivity to anaesthetics and certain drugs
- Ivermectin sensitivity - especially Lurchers with Collie in their lineage
- Sodium pentothal anaesthetic sensitivity - especially Lurchers with greyhound in their lineage
- Eye issues
- Muscle and foot injuries
- Torn toenails
What is the lurcher bred for?
Lurchers are crossbreeds that were initially developed as hunting dogs when regulations prohibited commoners from owning sighthounds. They were bred to possess stamina, speed, and loyalty.
What sort of owners does the lurcher suit?
These affectionate and loyal dogs are extremely playful and so are excellent family pets. They are low maintenance on the grooming front but require plenty of exercise. Their boisterous nature makes them unsuitable for life with small children and they can be challenging to train due to their independent natures. Their strong prey drive can be troublesome when they are out and about but if trained well, lurchers are wonderful companions for those who love the great outdoors.
Lurchers are not suited to life in an apartment and will be happiest living in a countryside location with access to a large garden. They don’t enjoy being left on their own and so are a poor choice for owners to go out to work. Their prey drive could be an issue in homes with small pets.