The Lurcher is not easily defined and there are nearly countless possibilities of what constitutes one. One parent is a sight-hound (usually a Greyhound), and while the other parent can be any type of dog, they are usually pastoral working dogs (like Collies) or Terriers. This makes for a swift, athletic hunting and racing dog that is also an excellent companion for individuals and families alike! You will be hard pressed to find a more laid-back, people-loving hybrid than a Lurcher. This hybrid is usually low maintenance, obedient, and likely to be a couch potato indoors. They will vary tremendously in looks and personality and we highly recommend knowing which parent breeds you desire in your Lurcher and then visiting those pages. Note, this is an excellent breed to adopt if you are considering that option.
|Purebred||8-15 yrs.||22-28 in.||55-55 lbs|
- Family Friendly
- Kid Friendly
- Pet Friendly
- Stranger Friendly
- Easy to Groom
- Energy Level
- Exercise Needs
- General Health
- Shedding Amount
- Barks / Howls
- Easy to Train
- Guard Dog
- Watch Dog
- Apartment Friendly
- Can Be Alone
- Good for Busy Owners
- Good for Novice Owners
The etymology of the "Lurcher" has been translated as interesting descriptions such as "thief mixed dog", "lurker", and even "petty swindler" but this has more to do with their past duties of hunting to feed their poor, peasant masters than their actual personality. This mixed breed is actually very people-loving, friendly, loyal, affectionate, hard-working, athletic and calm. These sight-hound x herding dog mixes do best with active individuals or families, or with hunters or farmers that can task them with things they enjoy doing such as hunting pesky critters. A fenced yard is almost a must, however, with enough daily exercise they can live indoors--just don't allow them to become glued to the couch! There are those that exploit these beautiful, loving dogs for as long as they are good for racing, then discard them, but they make WONDERFUL rescues. Here are some Lurch facts:
- Natural hunting companions for small game
- Very speedy, athletic exercise partners
- Keeps your yard free of pests
- Excellent family companion
- Can live indoors or out
- Very people-loving and friendly
- Rescue Lurchers have few problems
- Grooming is typically easy
- Some may be readily obedient
- Excel in racing, lure coursing and agility events
- Good with other dogs if well socialized
- Amusing, affectionate and a little sneaky
- Recommended is a fenced yard
- An hour daily outdoor exercise is best
- Not watch dogs or guard dogs
- May chase small animals if not kept on leash
- Needs early socialization to potentially do well with cats
- Not recommended for homes with rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, etc.
- Some may be moderately difficult to train
- Shouldn't be left alone for the majority of the day, everyday
- Greyhounds (the most popular for larger crosses)
- Whippets (the most popular for smaller crosses)
- Irish Wolfhound
- Russian Borzoi
It's difficult to simply give generic Lurcher information about one type of this hybrid simply because there are so many crosses that can be labeled a Lurcher. They are sighthounds of various types crossed with usually a herding breed (such as a Collie) and some of the most popular sighthound parents are as follows:
These dogs have a natural affinity for people and it is said that even one that was used and discarded (and treated badly) will still warm to new owners. Depending upon which parent breeds are used in breeding, Lurchers range from obedient to moderately difficult to train. When outdoors they may be especially hard to reign in and will require enclosed fencing or they should be on leash (unless they are well trained hunting partners). Their prey instincts are high and they love chasing small creatures like squirrels, rabbits and even foxes! Training will take patience, consistency and leadership--which they will look to you for so you must be able to provide it.
Members of this breed make excellent family companions because, although they are athletic and active, they also have a lazy bone that makes them want to be couch potatoes with you when indoors. Socialize them as a puppy and they should be good with other dogs, however, even early socialization doesn't guarantee peaceful cohabitation with cats and just forget about small pets like rabbits, hamsters, etc. This breed is neither watchdog nor guard dog but keep your yard free of pests. They may take time to warm up to strangers but are not aggressive.
This breed is very swift, and athletic, not to mention capable hunters. Lurcher racing and lure coursing are still popular competitive arenas for them (refer to the National Lurcher and Racing Club for breed info). In a home setting they love a large yard and plenty of toys, plus they should get an hour or so daily exercise in the form of runs (Lurchers LOVE running), jogs, hikes, long walks and trips to the dog park.
Lurcher history may begin in the medieval times, and the most prominent documentation comes from the 1300-1500s; during this time those of noble status were the only ones that could own purebred dogs in Scotland, England (and perhaps various other countries). The crossbred Lurcher may have been purposefully bred from these purebred Sight-hounds during these times to avoid punishment, and some may have been byproduct of accidental breedings-- the noble class, of course, wouldn't want these pups. At this point Lurchers become companions of peasants and gypsies, and they were used to hunt small game (some of which stolen off royal grounds) for food for their owners.
More recently, Lurchers have been hunting companions for small game such as hares, foxes, rabbits, etc. They also excel in events such as lure coursing (formerly hare coursing), agility and obedience activities.
There is no written standard for this hybrid, in fact, it may be impossible to every do so. This is because a Lurcher is simply a Sight-hound crossed with another dog of any kind. Some are small-medium (such as Whippet/Terrier mixes) others are large (like Deerhound/Greyhound mixes).
Lurcher coats are also of various types with many being short like that of Greyhounds and Whippets, while some are medium-long and scruffy looking like Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds-- these broken coated Lurchers hold their own in popularity since this unique coat type is often a draw to many owners. In addition, many potential owners are curious as to whether their Lurcher's coat will be waterproof; once again, the answer varies wildly-- if you choose a Lurcher puppy whose parent breeds have waterproof coats, then that's most likely a yes!
As with most other Lurcher traits, coat color is highly variable. Since this cross breed is simply defined as "anything crossed with a Sight-hound", you can imagine there are countless coat variations. For example, a Greyhound x Collie mix will have different coat possibilities than an Irish Wolfhound/Australian Shepherd mix. It's not uncommon to see any of the following colors (and more) in the Lurcher's coat:
Brindle and Black Lurchers tend to be the most sought after so be prepared to potentially pay higher prices for these pup if not adopting.
Lurcher size and weight will vary wildly depending upon which parent breeds were used in the cross. Those that want a small to medium dog might choose a Whippet cross, whereas those seeking a large dog might pick a Greyhound or Deerhound cross. Most fall somewhere in the range of 55-90 pounds. The best way to guesstimate the height and weight of your Lurcher is to know what the two parent breeds are and preferably see them (if you are purchasing from a breeder).
If you are looking for a breed with a unique amount of variety-- look no further! This cross breed truly in variable in every aspect due to the very nature that a Lurcher can be, well, almost anything! As long as one parent is a Sight-hound the other can be any dog imaginable so you may have long haired Lurchers as well as short haired. Straight coats are very common since Greyhound, Whippet and Salukis are popular parents, but perhaps the coat will be textured such as shaggy, rough, wiry or broken if you choose a Deerhound, Wolfhound, Borzoi, Sloughi or any other non-straight coated breeds. Currently, rough coated Lurches for sale seem to be the most in demand so be weary of irresponsible breeders; demand proof of the parents health and living conditions before purchasing a puppy!
We know miniature dogs are part of the hybrid dog craze right now and they are often extremely cute, however, there is no such thing as a Miniature Lurcher. However, choosing a small sight-hound breed such as a Whippet and also choosing a smaller parent such as a terrier will produce a small Lurcher (in comparison to many other types).
The Lurcher temperament is best described as loyal, affectionate, calm, people-oriented, obedient and versatile. They make excellent companions whether it be for families, hunters, or active individuals due to their natural inclination to be around their "people". Keep in mind, however, Lurcher characteristics will vary quite a bit since there is almost a limitless amount of possibilities of what constitutes a Lurcher. For instance, a Whippet x Terrier cross may behave much differently than a Deerhound/Greyhound or Deerhound/Collie cross.
The personality of the Lurcher makes him very agreeable to either spend time in the yard or indoors on the couch. They make excellent family companions due to their calm, gentle natures' but they also enjoy plenty of playtime with children! Members of this breed are best suited for single pet homes or those with other well-trained dogs; cats may be a challenge and small critters like rabbits are a definite NO. Your new pet is neither guard dog nor watch dog and may take time to warm up to strangers (although she won't be aggressive). Possibly the most amazing aspect of Lurcher behavior is that they are nearly always sweet--even if not treated well early in life.
Lurchers make excellent family pets because they truly enjoy being around people. They are very affectionate with their family and usually quite humorous too! By nature they are calm, gentle playmates for children and love to run and play in the yard. Although they are not boisterous, they can be large depending upon the parent breeds used so Lurchers should always be supervised around babies and small children.
Members of this breed will probably do well with other dogs, however, they should be socialized as early as possible--especially with small dogs. Keep in mind, if you are adopting a Lurcher he/she may not have been treated as a companion dog before and may take extra time, love and socialization.
Cats, rabbits and other tiny critters will be a different story. This breed retains a high prey instinct and is likely to chase cats both indoors and out, however, cohabitation is not out of the question if your Lurcher is raised with your cat from puppyhood. These dogs were bred to hunt rabbits, hares, foxes, squirrels and other small creatures so it's best to keep them on leash when not in an enclosed area. Hunters often still use Lurchers for hunting and lamping rabbits.
Lurchers are excellent hunting companions for small critters such as hare, rabbits and foxes, and they will also keep your yard free of any pests! In addition, Lurchers as family pets usually have excellent temperaments and are often calm and gentle..and possibly even a little lazy! They usually do well with other dogs but early socialization is still recommended, especially for cats! However, it's not advised to add small pets like rabbits, hamsters, ferrets to the mix since they retain high prey instincts.
They can live indoors or out, provided they get enough daily exercise, and a fenced yard is very highly recommended. Owning a Lurcher is otherwise simple, grooming is easy (although they are not hypoallergenic) and they aren't yappy or overly needy dogs. Luckily, even a rescue Lurcher is likely to warm up and be an affectionate dog fairly quickly due to their love of people-- just remember they may need a bit more patience and praise during training.
The limited information, so far, suggests these guys may live up to 15 years, however, the health of your Lurcher will be dependent upon several issues such as:
- Which two parent breeds where utilized-- a Greyhound x Collie mix will have some different potential health issues than a Whippet x Terrier Cross.
- Taking your time to find a reputable breeder that can answer all of your questions. Bonus if they offer proof of healthy parents!
- Not skipping out on scheduled vet visits, even if he/she seems healthy.
For the simple fact that a Lurcher is technically any dog mixed with a Sighthound, we can't generalize about the health; most are Sighthound/Pastoral Dog or Sighthound/Sighthound mixes. Visit both parent breed pages (once you find out what parent breeds are utilized by your breeder) for a list of common health concerns for each. Luckily, crossbred pups are usually healthier than their purebred predecessors.
The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Lurcher as a dog breed:
- Dog Registry of America Inc.