10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Lurcher Dog

The lurcher isn’t a pure breed dog. As a result, interested individuals shouldn’t expect to see them listed as one of the recognized breeds by one of the kennel clubs of note. Instead, a lurcher is the product of a union between a sighthound and some other kind of dog, with the most common examples being either some kind of terrier or some kind of pastoral dog. Due to this, it should come as no surprise to learn that there can be significant differences from lurcher to lurcher, though it is important to note that there are some commonalities to them as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the lurcher:

Has Fabled Origins

Supposedly, the lurcher came into existence in the early modern period because of a law that prohibited the ownership of sighthounds for both English and Scottish commoners. As a result, said individuals bred lurchers for the purpose of following the letter if not the spirit of the law. With that said, it should be mentioned that this is nothing but a fable, seeing as how there is no evidence to suggest that such a law that was passed in said period of time. In fact, the stories can’t even agree on whether the law was passed in the 14th, 15th, or the 16th century.

Famous for Being the Poacher’s Dog

The lurcher had a rather dubious reputation for being a poacher’s dog in the not so distant past. Something that was furthered by the fact that a lot of lurchers are capable of hunting in relative silence.

Reputation Supported By Its Name

Said reputation is supported by the lurcher’s name, which has a number of potential explanations. For example, one possible explanation is that it combines a Romani word for a thief with a less than complimentary word for a dog of mixed breeds. Likewise, another possible explanation is that lurcher is exactly what it sounds like, seeing as how that word could be used to refer to prowlers as well as petty thieves in the not so distant past.

Bred From Sighthounds

Whatever the case, a lurcher needs to have some sighthound in it for it to be counted as a lurcher. For those who are unsure what that means, a sighthound is a dog that specializes in hunting prey animals by keeping them in sight so that they can run it down with their outstanding speed. This is in contrast with what are called scent hounds, which are more reliant on a combination of their sense of smell as well as their endurance.

Bred For Hunting Skills

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this means that most lurchers are bred for their hunting capabilities. With that said, different sighthounds bred with different dog breeds produce different lurchers, meaning that they can see other uses such as racing and lure coursing as well.

Most Common in Britain

Currently, lurchers are most common in Britain, which should come as no surprise considering their supposed origins. However, there is a population of lurchers that can be found in North America as well, enough so that there is a registering body in said region for them.

Good Family Dogs

In modern times, lurchers have managed to acquire a good reputation with some dog owners for being good family dogs. This is because a lot of them combines a keen intelligence with a calm demeanor as well as a fair amount of affection for their family members.

Needs Good Socialization

With that said, good socialization is critical, meaning that people who want to own a lurcher need to make sure that their dog gets plenty of socialization from an early age. This is critical for preventing the onset of either timidness or aggression, neither of which are desirable traits.

Tend to Be Healthy

Generally speaking, the lurcher is considered to be one of the healthier crosses out there. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed, particularly since lurchers can have such a wide range of backgrounds. Due to this, dog owners need to make sure that their lurchers have been evaluated for a wide range of potential problems, particularly if they are descended from a breed that is known for something problematic in particular.

Not a Good Fit For Homes with Smaller Pets

Their nature as hunting dogs determines a lot about how people should take care of their lurchers. For example, lurchers need to remain on a leash whenever they are out because they could end up taking off after smaller animals. Likewise, people might want to avoid bringing a lurcher home if they already have a a smaller pet because of the dog’s hunting instincts.


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