Agile | Loyal | Versatile. Once the besties of poachers and hunters due to their helpful hand in putting food on the table, nowadays lurchers are just as happy chasing after tennis balls and squirrels at the park. They’re an interesting type of dog and although they may not be recognised as a pedigree breed by the British Kennel Club, they’ve been an integral part of British and Irish furmilies for hundreds of years. Personally, we think they’re special enough to deserve their very own “breed” guide. So, join us as we embark…pardon the pun, on a journey into the history of the lurcher and explore a few key aspects that make these doggies truly unique.
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Weight: 12-32kg
Average Height: 15-70cm
Colouring: all colours and coat types
Exercise Needs: Moderate
History of the Lurcher
Lurchers were the first designer cross breed of dog that originated in the UK and Ireland in the Middle Ages. During this time, it was illegal for commoners to own purebred sighthounds such as greyhounds. This privilege was only awarded to the nobility and those who owned land, so if common folk were caught owning a hunting dog such as a greyhound, they were essentially admitting guilt to hunting on land that was not theirs.
With this, sneaky pawrents hatched a cunning plan where they would cross-breed a sighthound with a scruffy farm dog or terrier to hide their lineage under a more scraggly coat. This way commoners could fly under the radar and still “legally” own a pooch with the traits of a sighthound which were beneficial for hunting.
Although the original purpose of the lurcher was made illegal with the Hunting Act of 2004, they are still used by the government and farmers for pest control due to their athletic nature and strong prey drive.
To this day, lurchers are still adored by British and Irish families due to their versatility and family-orientated personality. As they are not a standardised breed, they can be the mix of many different dog lineages, with no two lurchers really being the same in appearance and personality. Commonly though, they are a mix of a sighthound (e.g. greyhound, whippet, saluki) and a pastoral/farm dog or terrier (e.g. border collie, bull terrier), therefore making them brilliantly fast and stealthy, but also great companion and family dogs.
What do Lurchers Look Like?
Lurchers are extremely versatile pups. As they all come from vastly different genetic lineages, they can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours depending on what breed of dog their pawrents were. What all lurchers do have in common though is that they all have a tall and slender sighthound appearance with a long snout and an athletic aerodynamic build. They have long slender legs and generally a short coat which can be fine or a bit scruffy, and in an array of different colours.
The temperament of a lurcher is similar to that of a sighthound, calm and loyal but with a love for running and chasing. Expect 1-2 hours of walking per day to keep your lurcher content. As lurchers are natural hunting dogs it’s safest to keep them on a lead whilst walking in residential areas so that they don’t scare the local tomcat. However, if you’re away in the country or out in some decent open space, be sure to let them run off leash or tire them out with a game of fetch so that they can really stretch their legs and satisfy their innate instinct for adventuring.
When at home, like greyhounds, lurchers can be real couch potatoes, resembling more of a sloth than a hunting dog. They’re loving and affectionate to their furmilies, and make lifeline bonds with their pawrents.
The Impawtence of Training
With their history of being the “poacher’s best friend”, lurchers have a strong prey drive and will dart out suddenly to chase a squirrel or pigeon if they spot one from the corner of their eye. This makes it extremely impawtent to train your lurcher diligently when they’re a puppy, ensuring they have good recall and behave well when out and about. Lurchers have excellent eyesight and a keen sense of smell so will often spot their “prey” before you do, so making sure they know their name well and have good road safety is paramount. With this, it’s safest to reserve exercise off-leash for times when you’re well clear of busy roads or out in the country.
Scrumbles, The Pawfect Match for Lurchers
As active dogs, lurchers need nutritionally dense dog food to provide them with enough energy and goodness to keep them thriving.
Scrumbles is the number one choice for lurcher pawrents because all of our dog food is:
- Made from high-quality natural ingredients and free from artificial additives, fillers and added salt and sugar which are difficult to digest. We only use the best ingredients to keep your lurcher at optimal health and are committed to sourcing all of our meat ethically.
- Highly digestible: lurchers can have sensitive tummies, leading to smelly farts and yucky poops. All of our recipes are designed with gut health in mind. They’re highly digestible and come in a variety of options to suit every pup including grain free, gluten-free and hypoallergenic. We also add either prebiotics or probiotics to all of our dog food and treats to improve healthy digestion.
Easy on the planet: We’re committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon pawprint on the planet. We use eco-friendly packaging, are certified B Corp and are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment.
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