Species group: Unrecognized and Rare Breed dogs
Other name(s): Longdogs; Deerhound Lurcher; Whirrier
The Lurcher is a type of crossbred dog, generally a cross between a sighthound such as a Greyhound, and a working dog, such as a Collie, Whippet, or Terrier. Lurchers which are the result of a cross of two sighthounds (such as a Greyhound and Deerhound) are a subgroup called "Longdogs"; and those which are a cross between a Sighthound and a working dog are called "Whirriers".
These classic poacher's dogs were not mere "designer dogs" developed on a whim. In the Middle Ages, the Lurcher was bred in Ireland and Great Britain by Irish travelers who used the dogs for poaching rabbits, hare, deer, badgers, and foxes. In those times it was illegal for peasants to own a pure sighthound such as a Greyhound. Greyhounds and other fast breeds were only allowed to be owned by the nobility and, if a peasant was found with one, the dog would be "deactivated" by having some of its toes cut off. The commoners needed dogs which didn't look like Greyhounds but could still catch prey, and thus the Lurcher was created.
While we certainly can't condone poaching, there's no doubt that these dogs had to be bred for some superior traits-- including speed, scenting ability, intelligence, and determination. As a result, today they can be a top-notch choice for the legal hunter.
Appearance / health:
Because Lurchers are a crossbreed there is no set appearance. they can be as small as a whippet or as large as a deerhound; but most are chosen for a size similar to that of a greyhound, and a distinct sighthound form is preferred.
Behavior / temperament:
All mixed-breeds are individuals, and Lurchers can be more variable than most. However, as a general rule, expect a Lurcher to be a good outdoor dog that loves to roam and hunt with you. These dogs are athletes, not couch potatoes.
friendliest dog, affectionate dogs, little maintenance
dog proof boundaries, large open space, rabbit, massive separation anxiety
great variety, inquisitive dog, professional obedience classes, ancient type, good sprint
Free spirit, slightly mad
We rescued Pie, because her intelligence really shone through. We were kind of intending her to be a companion for our Greyhound. We figured she was a similar breed and that she'd be a similar dog, just a bit more sprightly, because she was younger.
The first thing she did when she dragged us out of the rescue shelter was to lay the biggest turd either of us had ever seen in the middle of a pavement. An unpickupable pyramid. Perhaps this seems irrelevant - all dogs poo - but nonetheless it seemed like a warning sign. Honestly, you had to be there.
On the way home, she strained to cuddle up with every homeless person she saw, on any side of the street, which gave us some indication of her previous experience I thought. She loves homeless guys and would cross six lanes of traffic, with you attached, to say hello.
Off the lead, she was fantastic to watch. Extremely fast. Acceleration! People were sometimes scared of her, because she'd bolt toward them and then turn at the last second.
Then she ... er ... stole something. It was someone's lunch actually in a supermarket carrier bag. She silently picked it up during their picnic and dropped it at my feet, unnoticed by them. I then returned the bag and apologised, but again, felt I had some insight into her previous ownership. Pie almost never barks and we think that this was a result of her training too.
According to the shelter, she was bred by gypsies and was used for coursing rabbits. There's a particular whistle that I can't do - that one where you put your fingers in your mouth - that she responds too immediately.
Very excitable, she was a bit difficult to train, but she was consistently smart and eager to learn. She picked things up quickly, and not just people's grub.
We had some trouble with her, because she became aggressive with other dogs. With the help of a professional trainer, I saw that she was afraid of some other dogs and her response was to 'go mental immediately'. This was more about her experiences, and perhaps her desire to protect us, than the breed. We had to show her that we were protecting her, not the other way round.
She's full of character and somewhat naughty and sometimes demonstrates extreme lack of foresight. There was an incident with a car windscreen.
Occasionally, she will come home having rolled around in something disgusting. I believe this is to disguise her scent and help her hunt. She knows that this means she gets hosed down, but every now and then she considers it worth it.
When we first got her home, she was into and onto everything - knocking over water, searching for food, getting into our bed - and certainly benefits from more exercise than the Greyhound. Over the years, however, she has calmed down considerably. We did a fair amount of obedience training. She has always been a great dog and has been becoming a great dog for US too. She remains very affectionate. She's clearly a happy dog; lively, enthusiastic and entertaining..
From Deano_123 Feb 13 2015 4:48AM
Louie the Lurcher
Louie is my best friend's dog, he spends a lot of time at mine and I take care of him when they are away. He is a really great dog, they have put a lot of work into him and it is easy to see that from his behaviour. He attended professional obedience classes when he was an adolescent and excelled at them. He's very clever and very family orientated as he spends 24 in contact with people. This in turn has led to some separation anxiety which can make it difficult to take care of him when they are away but overall he is very laid back.
This breed sheds very little and is very easy groom although recently Louie has had skin problems caused by an allergy. He is very energetic (he is half whippet) and loves walks and playing fetch, he is no problem off the lead in the park and is very careful and obedient when approaching other dogs and people. He lives with four cats so has no problem with small animals. He can be quite mischievous and knows how to wind his feline companions up until they misbehave and get told off. He's definitely a character, the look I get if I sit in his favourite spot on the sofa is priceless and he's definitely not shy about speaking up if he thinks I should share my dinner with him, but he always knows his place and the boundaries set and rarely crosses the line. Louie himself is a testimony to how well behaved and loving a dog can be if socialised extensively as a puppy and provided with the correct training and a great example to other dog owners..
From Chelta Jan 15 2015 6:32PM
behavior training tool
All dogs need to learn how to behave and a great "brain-break" and self soothing tool to use between activities or for crate training is a kong. Filled with a treat or small bit of peanut butter, this activity can provide the dog with a reward sensation as well as a much needed chewing activity for "down time" between trainings. We have utilized this with many of our breeds but huskies can be downright destructive to any material, so use of the kong is fabulous (while supervised) once the husky reaches maturity. As puppies are constantly teething and learning what is THEIRS and what is yours, kongs are a wonderful "replacement" tool for your couch, shoes and other destructible items in your home. .
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