The Lurcher is an incredibly versatile dog that has many different traits. They are great hunters as well as loyal and affectionate pets. They are not, however, purebred dogs. They fall into the category of a hybrid or a designer dog. The following is everything you need to know about the Lurcher.
What is the History of the Lurcher?
For All Pointy Dogs states that hunters throughout history have bred dogs to develop the fastest and best hunters possible. Even prehistoric Egyptian art shows hunters and their dogs. The English Greyhound was the result of thousands of years of specific breeding. The basic template for the modern Lurcher is the Greyhound. Classical art depicts the Greeks and the Romans with their own style of Lurcher. Recent DNA shows that the modern Lurcher probably had Celtic roots rather than Egyptian. Whatever their specific history, the Lurchers were very popular by the 1500’s. There is much written about this particular dog during this time period.
According to Lurcher SOS, this type of dog is extremely popular in Britain and Ireland. Greyhounds, because of their elegance and hunting ability, were a popular choice for the nobility. The legend states that only noblemen could own a purebred hunting dog. A commoner would face severe punishment for owning one. Mixing the breeds would allow a commoner to have a dog with similar traits of a purebred. There isn’t, however, any historical documentation to support this story. No matter what the background, people breed this particular dog for speed, intelligence and their ability to hunt. People would sometimes have a Lurcher to help keep the fox and rabbit population under control. These dogs are still used for hunting but are increasingly bred for their agility.
How is the Lurcher Bred?
It’s important to note that the Lurcher is not formally recognized as a breed. Different sources provide slightly different definitions for a Lurcher. Paws Animal Rescue defines a Lurcher as anything mixed with a Greyhound. Most other sources, however, give a broader definition. This type of dog is normally a cross between a sight hound and a non sighthound. Because there is a wide variation of mixes, these dogs can come in almost all sizes. You’ll find the average Lurcher weighing anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds.
Breeding starts with selecting two types of dogs you’ll want to breed. Coonhound, Foxhound and Greyhound are all popular hound choices. The hound is often bred with a Terrier or a Collie. Other types of breeds include Whippets and Salukis. Since this dog is not classified as a specific breed, there are lots of options available for breeding. It’s important to note that there is a difference between a mutt and a crossbreed such as the Lurcher. A mutt is usually a random mix of several breeds. A Lurcher is specifically bred from two purebred dogs.
How Should You Feed Your Lurcher?
A Lurcher is a hunter by nature. Most of these dogs will instinctively eat just about any dead animal they find. They are also very active, high-energy dogs. You’ll want to make sure you feed your dog enough of the right types of food. If not, your dog may become a scavenger. A Lurcher will need a diet that consists of a combination of protein, grains and vegetables. Since these dogs are energetic, they usually need high levels of protein in the diet. Some owners prefer to feed their Lurcher a raw diet instead of dry kibble.
Greyhound Rescue suggests providing a food bowl that is slightly off the ground. Lurcher’s often have a deep chest. It is more difficult for this type of dog to bend down and eat from the floor. This source also states that Lurchers have smaller digestive systems. This means they will often do better with two smaller meals each day instead of one larger meal. Finally, you’ll need to take into consideration the age and weight of your dog. It’s sometimes recommended to feed older dogs a specific diet especially for geriatric needs. Saluki Lurchers tend to be thinner than other breed combinations. If your Lurcher is on the chunky side you’ll want to cut back at meal times while increasing the activity level if possible.
What are the Grooming Needs?
Grooming needs depend on the individual breeds in each dog. Most Lurchers have smooth, short coats. A few of the breeds may have longer hair. You may have a dog with a longer, thicker coat if the mix includes a long-haired Collie. You should brush Lurchers with both short and long hair on a regular basis. They should have their coats thoroughly brushed once or twice each week. Those with longer coats may need more frequent brushing. It’s important to note that most Lurchers shed year-round. Shedding is usually heavier in the fall and the spring.
Bathing a Lurcher once a month is usually enough. It’s probably okay to bathe less if the dog doesn’t get obviously dirty or isn’t outside a lot. You can also spot clean them or rub them down occasionally with a damp towel. Lurchers will usually enjoy some oily type of fish in their diet. This will improve their coat if it is dull. Try to use sardines or pilchards, but not tuna. It’s important to keep their ears cleaned. Too much wax may cause an infection. Make sure to clean the ears gently or have it professional done.
Are There any Health Concerns?
A Lurcher normally does not have many health problems. This is one of the benefits of crossbreeding. Purebred dogs sometimes have more health problems than crossbreeds. This is because of several generations of inbreeding. The specific breeds in an individual dog would contribute to each dog’s personal health condition. The Lurcher life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. The following are some of the health conditions that a Lurcher may be susceptible to:
- Bone Cancer
- Foot and Muscle Injuries
- Gastric Issues and Bloat
- Dry and Itchy Skin
- Torn Toenails
Embrace Pet Insurance states that finding a good breeder is the most important step when looking for a quality puppy. A good breeder will provide full disclosure regarding any potential health issues.They will also screen potential dogs before the breeding process begins. There are also many reputable sights and shelters for adopting older Lurchers. Try not to get a dog from a pet store that sells many types of breeds. They are often associated with puppy mills.
How Much Exercise Does the Lurcher Need?
A Lurcher will need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. This type of dog will need to go on a lengthy walk at least once a day. It’s a good idea to divide up exercise twice daily. Two times, 20 to 30 minutes each, is probably enough. The Lurcher will need a safe space that allows running. It’s not recommended that this dog live in the city or a small apartment. Although they do require an above average amount of exercise, there are dogs that need more. Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Retrievers and Dalmatians all require more exercise than the Lurcher.
Since Lurchers are natural hunting dogs it’s important to keep your dog on a leash when outside. They may naturally chase after smaller animals. They also tend to be herders. If the dog is part herding dog they may try to herd small children. Making sure Lurchers get enough exercise may inhibit these tendencies. Your Lurcher may also run into an area that isn’t safe. It’s important they’re on a lead or that you’re closely monitoring them while exercising. It is ideal to provide a large yard with plenty of space to run. You’ll want to have a large fence surrounding the area the dog should remain in.
Is the Lurcher Pet and Child Friendly?
Most children would get along well with a Lurcher. These dogs are very social and people friendly. The Lurcher would be a great pet for families that spend a lot of time outdoors. Although these dogs are energetic, they are usually not aggressive around people. It’s important to provide early socialization for Lurchers. You’ll want them around people as much as possible even when they’re puppies. They will likely develop a strong attachment to both adults and children in the family.
The Lurcher does not usually get along well with cats. According to Hounds First Sighthound Rescue, most Lurchers will have a natural instinct to chase and hunt small, furry creatures. If you have a cat it’s not recommended to bring this type of dog into the home. It is normally not a good idea to bring a Lurcher into a home with any other type of smaller pet. Another pet that is the same size as the Lurcher may work well.
Is the Lurcher Affectionate and Adaptable?
The Lurcher is a very adaptable dog. Most of these dogs are at home in a family environment and in a variety of outdoor situations. A Lurcher will develop a strong bond with their family. They don’t like it when they are alone for long periods of time. While they are generally adaptable, they sometimes experience separation anxiety. This is because they are very attached to their owners. They don’t make good watchdogs. They do, however, make great companion and cuddle dogs. They love to jump up on a soft couch or fluffy pillow and snuggle with their family.
This particular breed is moderately to extremely affectionate. Since they are a mixed breed, the specific type of breed will determine the level of affection in each dog. Individual personality and upbringing will also contribute to the dog’s affection level. It is not unheard of for a Lurcher to be extremely cuddly and affectionate. These dogs will often stay puppy-like even when they are seniors. Lurchers will sometimes even display a sense of humor.
How Trainable is the Lurcher?
The Lurcher is extremely intelligent and fairly easy to train. They will respond to most commands. They sometimes, however, respond in their own way. They will sometimes decide to do “their own thing.” This might be funny or quite annoying. Those training a Lurcher should not get angry with the dog or use a harsh voice. These dogs are sensitive and don’t respond well to angry or loud voices.
You should train your Lurcher very specifically. They do well with one on one types of training. A good trainer will keep the session short so the dog won’t get bored. It’s also important to make the training as interesting as possible. This may be difficult for people who have never owned a dog before. These types of dogs are sometimes not recommended for first time dog owners.
What are any Fun Facts About the Lurcher?
Lurchers have an interesting history and can have a variety of looks. There are still several other interesting aspects to know about this particular dog. The following are several fun facts to know about the Lurcher.
- Borrow My Doggy states that the most popular Lurcher names are Oscar, Alfie and Finn.
- These dogs are very flexible. They sometimes sleep in odd positions.
- They are extremely fast dogs. They can also turn around very quickly.
- They are one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom.
- Lurchers like to stay warm. They may take potty breaks very quickly if it is cold or rainy outside.
- This dog isn’t easily confined. The Lurcher may blow right through an electric fence.
While there are not a lot of Lurchers in the United States, this type of dog is becoming more popular. The wide variety of ways to breed and mix Lurchers, make it a high-demand dog. Nearly everyone can find a type of Lurcher they like. Just make sure to do your research regarding the type of Lurcher you breed or adopt. Take your time to find the best type of Lurcher for you and your family.