The Lurcher dog is actually a crossbreed. Lurcher is the name given to any mix between a sighthound dog, and another breed. This can be a terrier, herding breed, or large scent hound breed. Popular combinations include a whippet mix, and a greyhound mix.
This means each Lurcher is quite different from the next. But there are a few traits you can expect.
These dogs are known for speed, intelligence, and a talent for hunting.
What’s In This Guide
Take a look at our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Lurcher.
- Are Lurchers good family dogs?
- Do Lurchers need much exercise?
- Are Lurchers friendly?
- How big do they get?
Just click the links above to jump straight to the answers. Or keep reading for all the info!
Lurcher: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: On the rise!
- Purpose: Hunting breed
- Weight: Varies depending on mix
- Temperament: Intelligent, energetic, hard-working
Let’s look at what we will cover in this guide.
Lurcher Breed Review: Contents
- What is a Lurcher?
- History and original purpose
- Fun facts about Lurcher
- Lurcher appearance
- Lurcher temperament
- Training and exercising
- Lurcher health and care
- Do they make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Lurcher
- Finding a Lurcher puppy
- Raising a Lurcher puppy
- Lurcher products and accessories
This is a unique crossbreed with a variety of potential looks, traits, and health issues.
The Lurcher is famous for his hunting and running skills, but what else is it known for?
What is a Lurcher?
This is a whole category of crossbred dogs.
In fact, Lurcher is the name given to any cross between a sighthound dog and another breed, usually a terrier, a herding breed, or a large scent hound breed. Some popular options include a greyhound mix or a whippet mix.
While this leaves a broad spectrum of genetic possibilities, the Lurcher is known for some basic qualities like speed, intelligence, and a keen talent for hunting that has made him a favorite amongst hunters and doggy-lovers alike.
While Lurchers are still uncommon in the US, they are very popular in Great Britain.
However, their popularity is on the rise everywhere as people discover more and more about this very talented and intelligent crossbreed.
So, we know that Lurchers are not a purebred and more of a hybrid dog, but what does that really mean? And what’s up with the controversy surrounding crossbreeding?
Let’s find out.
Sometimes referred to as a hybrid or a designer dog, crossbreed like a whippet mix or greyhound mix are surrounded by equal amounts of criticism and approval.
One of the issues regarding crossbreeds revolves around a dispute over whether a mutt and a crossbreed are really just the same thing.
While it does seem like the lines are a bit blurred on the subject, supporters of crossbreeding point out that, by definition, a crossbreed is the offspring of two specifically chosen purebred parents while a mutt has a lineage of several breeds in his bloodline.
For more on the subject of mutts verses crossbreeds, visit us here.
A Recipe for Better Health?
Health is perhaps the biggest part of this debate. It is a well-known fact that purebreds are prone to suffering inheritable health conditions as a result of generations of inbreeding.
Supporters of crossbreeding hope that the practice could help to reduce and even eliminate some of these issues.
To learn more about the debate around crossbreeding and how it improves dogs’ health, click here.
Luckily, what likely matters to you right now is learning more about the Lurcher. So let’s move on to the ins and outs of this talented, athletic, and very brainy crossbreed.
History and Original Purpose
The Lurcher comes from a controversial past shrouded with tales and theories.
One such theory is that the Lurcher came into existence during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, during a time when the English and Scottish authorities forbade commoners from owning sighthounds.
Although there is no official documentation of such a ban, some believe the Lurcher came about through creative breeding practices, where commoners would breed sighthounds with other breeds to create a kind of loophole to illegal sighthound ownership.
The basic goal of breeding sighthounds with other breeds such as pastoral breeds or terriers was to blend the talents of speed, work-ethic, intelligence, and an uncanny ability to hunt together!
Since the Lurcher is a sighthound mixed with another type of dog, we should also take a look at where sighthounds come from.
Sighthounds are a type of dog bred to hunt by sight.
They are most often thin and agile, with long, lean bodies and an affinity for speed!
Some sighthounds have been around for over 5,000 years and are experts at detecting movement and chasing after prey with breathtaking speed.
And while they were primarily bred for their ability to hunt and run, they are more used today as family pets just like the Lurcher.
Some sighthound breeds you may or may not be familiar with are:
- Afghan Hound
- Chart Polski
- Galgo Espanol
- Hortaya Borzaya
- Irish Wolfhound
- Italian Greyhound
- Magyar Agar
- Old Croatian Sighthound
- Scottish Deerhound
- Silken Windhound Sloughi
So let’s find out a little more about the Lurcher breed.
Fun Facts About Lurchers
Breeders were successful as the Lurchers became incredibly popular as smart and agile hunting dogs.
In fact, it is said that Lurchers turned out even better than initially anticipated, excelling in these desired skills more so than a purebred sighthound!
Despite his incredible talents, most modern-day Lurchers do less hunting and more playing, as they are revered family pets beloved for their intelligence and affectionate nature.
As previously mentioned, the Lurcher is a cross between sighthounds and other types such as:
- Scent Hounds
- Herding Breeds
Popular mixes also include the greyhound mix and the whippet mix.
Initially, the basic goal was to create a dog with pristine intelligence, hunting skills, and agility.
But this means appearance can vary quite a lot from dog to dog. So, let’s take a look at what you might be able to expect from a Lurcher.
Size, Height, and Weight
Since the Lurcher is a sighthound type crossed with another type of dog, his size, height, and weight are going to vary.
In reality, one can find a big Lurcher and one can find a small Lurcher. But the average Lurcher dog is going to be around 27 to 30 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds, give or take.
Since the Lurcher is a crossbreed, his physical description is going to vary depending on his particular purebred parents.
We have such a wide range of dogs to choose from when creating this mix. So, there are a number of coat combinations a Lurcher can have.
They can come with short hair comparable to that of a Greyhound. Or they can have a longer, harsher coat similar to that of a sheepdog or long-haired terrier breed.
As previously mentioned, many Lurchers have body types similar to greyhounds. But, others will favor their terrier type parents or herding dog parents.
In the genetic lottery of crossbreeding, it will all be left up to chance! So look at both parent dogs for a better idea of how your puppy will turn out!
Just like coat type, the Lurcher’s temperament could vary depending on his specific purebred parents.
But, as previously mentioned, the basic characteristics are going to be intelligence, agility, and keen hunting skills.
Other Lurcher behaviors will be similar to that of a sighthound.
You can expect your Lurcher to be calm, loving but not overly needy, with an independent streak and an affinity for running!
Importance of Socialization
While they do well with children and in family settings, the Lurcher hunting instincts and high prey drive mean it is probably not a dog you want around smaller household pets like small cats, rodents, and birds.
And of course, we always recommend early socialization and obedience training for all dogs, as socializing dogs as early as possible and training them in obedience helps them to be well-rounded and better adjusted throughout their lifetime.
Let’s look at training in a little more detail.
Training Your Lurcher
And, since the Lurcher is a cross of very intelligent groups such as the herding types, they are incredibly smart and very trainable!
However, you should still start training early.
You can take a look at some of our training guides for more tips and information on training.
Despite the Lurcher’s love for running and his keen hunting skills, you may be surprised to learn that for the most part, the average Lurcher is a calm, reserved dog who doesn’t require excessive or special amounts of physical stimulation to be happy and healthy.
There are exceptions to the rule, however, and they will depend on what specific parent breed your Lurcher is the offspring of.
Some breeds, like the Border Collie, are very high energy and will require more exercise than other breeds.
However, for the most part, a brisk, daily walk and play in the yard should be enough to meet your Lurcher’s exercise needs.
Lurcher Health and Care
The average lifespan of a Lurcher is 12 to 15 years. But, while these are generally healthy dogs, there are a few inheritable issues you should be aware of.
These issues include:
- Gastric torsion
- Torn toenails
- Foot or muscle injuries
- Sensitivity to weather including heatstroke and heat exhaustion
- Eye issues (for Lurchers with herding blood)
Avoiding Health Issues
While not all health issues are avoidable, early health screening can help you to prepare for or even avoid certain inheritable health problems your specific Lurcher may be predisposed to.
To get a head start on anticipating your Lurcher’s health needs, find our breed reviews for both his parents’ breeds.
Grooming your Lurcher will depend on the type of coat he inherits from his parent breeds.
While many Lurchers have short, single layered coats with hair that sheds seasonally and is easy to manage, they will still benefit from an occasional brushing.
Lurchers with a parent of the terrier or herding type could wind up with much longer hair that can have a tendency to knot!
Grooming maintenance for a long-haired Lurcher dog or a wire-haired Lurcher could include hand stripping and brushing with a wire brush at least twice a week.
You may consider giving your long-haired Lurcher a haircut to keep his hair at a manageable length.
Other General Care
As with all dogs, Lurchers will require their ears to be cleaned regularly to avoid buildup of moisture and wax.
And while all dogs need their claws trimmed consistently to avoid cracking and splitting, keep in mind that Lurcher dogs love to run and therefore special attention should be taken to ensure their nails are always at a manageable length.
Also, prospective owners should be aware that a Lurcher dog could be more sensitive to harsh weather conditions.
For this reason, they should be considered indoor dogs who need to wear coats in colder climates and should not be left outside and unattended in hotter climates.
Do Lurchers Make Good Family Pets?
This breed did start out as a renowned hunting dog, and while they are still not very common in the US, modern-day Lurchers are said to make wonderful family pets!
However, keep in mind that if you have smaller pets in the home, the Lurcher may not be the best choice for you due to his strong hunting instincts.
On the other hand, if you have the time to groom your pup, depending on what type of hair he has, and if you are able to offer him daily walks, and lots of love, then the Lurcher just may be the perfect dog for you!
He is adaptable, friendly, and affectionate, and will do well in most home types as long as he is given a walk and allowed to run.
Remember the Hunting Instinct!
However, keep in mind that these dogs are fast, so if you’re looking for a dog you can let run free at the dog park or take off his leash during a hike, the Lurcher dog may not be the one for you.
Lurchers are part sighthound, bred to take off after smaller prey.
This means if they see a rabbit or a squirrel, forget it! They will take off running after it and chances are you will not be able to catch him!
Rescuing a Lurcher
There are many Lurcher dogs who need to be rescued. Many of these puppies are the result of accidental matings.
If you have your sights set on a rescue dog, keep in mind that adoption fees are typically around $50 to $100.
Wonderfully, many rescues and shelters will cover initial vet fees, ensuring your Lurcher is healthy and adoptable.
Click here to jump to our list of Lurcher rescue centers!
Finding a Lurcher Puppy
On the other hand, if you’re looking at Lurcher puppies from a breeder, be prepared to spend anywhere from $500 to $1000, depending on who the Lurcher’s parent breeds are and if they are show quality.
As previously mentioned, we recommend early health screening with your Lurcher puppy.
We also want you to know that reputable breeders should be able to provide certificates proving their dogs are healthy and adoptable!
Make sure to avoid choosing a puppy from puppy farms or pet stores. These puppies are often cheaper, but are usually mass-bred with no regard to their health.
Raising a Lurcher Puppy
Caring for any vulnerable puppy is a big responsibility. There are some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training.
Lurcher Products and Accessories
There are plenty of great products out there for Lurchers. Check out some of our helpful guides below for quick and easy accessories.
- Dog Water Fountains
- Indestructible Dog Beds
Pros And Cons of Getting A Lurcher
Here’s a quick run down of what we’ve discussed here!
- It is impossible to completely predict a Lurcher’s temperament, appearance, and so on, because they’re a cross breed!
- Their natural instincts mean they aren’t suitable for homes with other small animals.
- This breed can suffer from a variety of health issues, depending on the parent breeds used.
- This breed is great for families and children.
- They often have a lovely temperament.
- Plus, they are intelligent and take well to training.
Comparing the Lurcher with Other Breeds
Are you torn between the Lurcher and another breed? Take a look at some of the guides below to compare more dogs.
- Calm Dog Breeds
- Herding Dogs
If you’re not sure that this dog is right for you, make sure you also take a look at some of these similar breeds:
- Italian Greyhound
- Border Collie
Lurcher Breed Rescues
If you’ve decided to rescue this breed, take a look at some of these helpful links below:
- Lurcher SOS
- Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue
- Lozza’s Lurcher Rescue
- Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue
Do You Already Have A Lurcher?
What breeds were their parents? Which do you think they most take after?
Tell us about them in the comments box!
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Franklin Miller says
Rescued a lovely greyhound / collie mix from the Royal Dog Trust in West Berkshire UK as a yank. Absolutely the smartest dog we’ve ever had. Will be taking him back to Oregon this summer as we leave the UK after 4 years.
Our re-homed rescue was found as a stray, but is classed as a bull lurcher; she’s definitely greyhound and most likely Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
I have a rescue who’s DNA test indicates terrier, white Swiss shepherd and 75% unknown but including unspecified sight hound. She has the coloring and markings of a border collie, to the points the vet identified her as such, eventhough she isn’t built like one. She has all the traits of a lurcher as described here, but I’d never heard of this until today. So happy to have some additional insight into my sweet girl!
We have a border collie/greyhound mix that we rescued from a local accidental breeding. She has greyhound coloring (white and red) with border collie hair, long and gorgeous! She is incredibly smart, loyal, sweet, and very fast. Great with small children. Didn’t know the term Lurcher until I searched her breed mix to compare. We hit the jackpot with this rescue. What a dog!
I rescued a pup that rescue thought was mixed with a whippet or greyhound and border collie but she also ‘points’ so…. a Lurcher??? She really looks and fits descriptions. We are in US in PA and the term Lurcher is it not common, in my experience.
Alessandro Tidei says
Can you tell me where did you get that picture from?