Lurcher Dog

The lurcher is a hunting and companion dog that is little known outside its countries of origin, which are Ireland and the United Kingdom. Externally, it stands out for its curious appearance, which can resemble a greyhound and be almost scruffy, due to the characteristics of the coat, in wire-haired specimens. But probably the most outstanding thing about these dogs is their character.

This dog is very active, which makes it recommended for people who can provide them with opportunities to burn off their great energy; better for houses than apartments. In this AnimalWised article we review the origins, characteristics, temperament and health of the lurcher dog.

Origin of the lurcher

The origin of the lurcher must be sought, as we have said, in Ireland and the United Kingdom and its appearance dates back to the 17th century. It was a dog that was dedicated to hunting small animals, such as rabbits and hares. He was very skilled at this activity and at the lure race, a sport that he can still practice today.

Greyhound, terrier and collie dogs have participated in its development , although always without establishing a standard that could unify their physical characteristics. It is today that attempts are made to carry out more systematic breeding with the aim of preserving the traits that make these dogs unique, although the aim is to preserve their temperament rather than their physique.

Traditionally, it was associated with the gypsy people, more popular segments of the population and poaching. In fact, his name comes from lur , which in Romany has the meaning of “thief.” The meaning of lurcher is “stalker.”

Characteristics of the lurcher

As we have said, the lurcher does not have a standard as such that serves to homogenize the physical characteristics of all specimens. This means that we can find large variations between individuals. In general, we can say that they are medium-large sized dogs , with an average height of 69-76 cm and a weight of 27-32 kg, and that they share certain traits, such as:

  • Head : It is long and narrow and has small, rounded and dark eyes, with an alert look. The ears are also small and tend to be semi-erect, that is, keeping the tips folded in on themselves.
  • Body : It is well muscled and proportioned and highlights the depth of its chest, which allows it to achieve good lung capacity, necessary for intense exercise. In other words, your body characteristics indicate speed and endurance.
  • Legs : they are long and straight.
  • Tail : It is also quite long and thin.
  • Coat : lurcher specimens can be short-haired, which is more appreciated, or hard-haired. The former have a dense undercoat that protects them from the cold and rain during the winter.

lurcher colors

Again, the lack of standard leads to the proliferation of lurcher dogs in different colors and patterns. We highlight greyish, cream or black tones , which can be presented as solid colors or brindle, spotted, combination designs, etc.

What is the lurcher puppy like?

If during adult life Lurcher dogs are active, their energy will stand out even more during their puppy period. In addition, they are very intelligent , which helps when educating them, but also implies the need to offer them stimulation on a physical and intellectual level to avoid behavioral problems and to be firm and patient to achieve learning. Of course, we cannot forget socialization in these first months of life. In this other article we explain how to socialize a puppy .

Lurcher character

As we have pointed out, the lurcher is a dog with a high level of activity . He likes to exercise and, above all, run. Therefore, if we live with a lurcher, we must guarantee it the recreation it needs and be careful, since it could be encouraged to chase any smaller animal that it may perceive as potential prey.

Extreme precautions must be taken if there are cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. in the home. This does not mean that he cannot be a good companion dog, but he will have to be able to burn off all his energy. If we meet that premise, it will be a calm dog in the home . Otherwise, lack of stimulation and boredom could lead to behavioral problems.

Even so, they are not the most suitable for living in small apartments in the city. It is preferable to have a house with a perfectly closed ground to prevent leaks. On the other hand, they are tenacious dogs with remarkable intelligence , very good with people, including children. Although they are not excessively affectionate, they do need close contact with their family. They usually get along well with other dogs and are little barkers .

Lurcher care

The basic care that we must offer a lurcher dog is not very different from what any other dog may need. These are the key points to consider:

  • Diet : Depending on the amount of exercise they do, it may be wise to offer them a high-energy diet . In any case, the food must be of quality and based on protein of animal origin. On the other hand, we must be careful with what we leave within their reach, since it is not strange for them to look for leftovers or any accessible food. This could lead to poisoning, even serious ones. That is why we must create a safe environment for him. In the article ” What do dogs eat ” we talk about the different types of foods.
  • Exercise : This is a very active dog that, for its well-being, needs to be able to run and exercise enough . He has a lot of stamina, so it is essential that he has adequate and safe spaces in which he can let off steam for as long as he wants. In addition, he has to go for a walk several times a day, taking at least one long walk. With it you can practice canine disciplines such as Agility. Nor should we leave aside mental stimulation, for which we can offer interactive toys, smell games, etc. Discover The best toys for dogs in this other post.
  • Hygiene : we have said that there are short-haired or wire-haired lurchers. In both cases, maintenance is very simple and requires nothing more than brushing from time to time and occasional baths, always with specific products for dogs. The ears, eyes, nails and mouth are points of attention that we must check, clean and cut with the necessary regularity for each specimen. Here we explain how to cut a dog’s nails at home .

lurcher education

As with all dogs, it is important that the lurcher has good socialization from its first weeks of life and that we provide it with obedience education , at least the basic one so that it can live in a community with people and animals. We will not be able to release him to run as much as he wants if we are not sure that he will come as soon as we call him. It is our task to invest time in teaching him. Failures in these aspects can result in specimens that are too shy or aggressive out of fear. His considerable intelligence makes him a good student, always following an education based on positive reinforcement .

If you don’t know where to start, in this other post we explain How to train a puppy . And if you have adopted an adult lurcher, we also explain How to train an adult dog .

lurcher health

In general terms, the lurcher is a dog that is in good health. Their life expectancy exceeds 12 years. Even so, we can point out some pathologies with which we must be careful. For example, stomach torsion , muscle and eye problems , hip dysplasia , allergies , osteosarcoma or hypothyroidism .

Some of these ailments can be prevented or, at least, detected and treated early. For this, preventive medicine is essential, attending periodic veterinary check-ups and following the professional’s advice regarding treatments, deworming, vaccinations and castration.

Where to adopt a lurcher?

It is rare to find a lurcher dog outside of the United Kingdom or Ireland, which is why adopting a dog from other countries is very complicated. In other words, if you want one, you will have to buy it, a practice that we at AnimalWised do not encourage. What is easy is to adopt a dog with similar characteristics at any animal shelter . Everyone deserves a home, regardless of their breed, and what is truly important when adopting is that we are able to meet the dog’s needs. For this reason, more than looking for a breed, it is essential to take into account our lifestyle and the character of the dog.

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