Lurchers

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Thanks to "Nessmoon" of morguefile for this lovely photo of a lurcher

Lurchers were originally bred for poaching and are generally the result of crossbreeding a sighthound with another breed such as a collie or a terrier.  Their size is very variable.  They can be quite small like a whippet or as tall as a greyhound, but all of them tend to be slightly built.

Some lurchers are bred for agility but you would be well advised to read the comments below if you are considering getting a lurcher specifically for the sport.

I have to confess that I love the kind of lurchers in the photos.  Jamie was good friends with three of these beautiful dogs and you couldn't wish to meet a kinder or more equable breed.  

Jamie says hello to Misty, a greyhound deerhound cross.  Jamie is 22inches at the shoulder and Misty is 3 or 4 inches taller.
 

Lurchers may have a rough or a smooth coat depending on the cross.  They are generally easy to handle and to groom. 

Their temperaments and exercise needs can be very similar to the greyhound.  The dog in the photo on the left is called Misty and we believe she is a greyhound deerhound cross.  Her owners said that all three of their lurchers needed a good flat out run every day but tended to settle down quietly at home after that.   Usually they are light on the lead and easy to control but as with any breed you'll always get one or two awkward little devils that do just the opposite.  One thing you might have to watch is that they do have a strong hunting instinct and may chase small animals.

One lurcher we knew used to regularly jump a five barred gate with ease but the others were never quite brave enough to tackle jumps this high.

Lurcher fans, there are lots of books written about lurchers and some collectibles too.  I've included some here and you can find more dog products in the doggie shop.  There are many interesting comments from lurcher people and these are included below.


 

Comments:

Hannah & Kasper (the dog)
I have a lurcher x collie dog who is 5 and he is amazing. we got him when he was 11 months old and he had been shut in a cage all his puppyhood with children tormenting him and pulling his ears. He had also been attacked by a jack russell so was aggressive towards small dogs when we got him. He is now 5 and really is a dream. I can walk him anywhere without a lead (he does chase the odd rabbit though) and he loves people and hasn't attacked a dog for about 2 years now. I think that he proves that with the right attitude towards training anyone can train a problem dog. I am now 15 so was 11 when we got him and I have trained him all by myself and he walks by my side when told without a lead, so if you don't think you can do it just try it with a calm and laid back attitude and you too can work wonders with your dog. I now have the people we walk with asking me to train their young dogs.

Dean - whippet/collie/greyhound:
My dog can jump a 7 bar gate with is easily and is only 21inch high and is a very fast an good hunting dog.

Chelseagirl:
In answer to Linz we were advised by a dog trainer to walk our puppy 5 minutes to his monthly age example when he was 6 months we could walk him 30 minutes a day. he would however love to do more but they have soft bones and long legs that grow quickly so the restricted time for walks is to stop any joint problems. anyone buying a lurcher puppy beware we bought ours with limited experience of lurchers ( we have a 5 year old jack russell) we wanted a bedlington cross we saw the parents and they stood approx 21 inch our lurcher is 6 months old and already stands 23 inch he is too big for the house but we would never part with him but to see him and our jack russell its like little and large show.

Lurcher handler:
Lurchers are either amazing at agility or.......not!!

Jake:
My Lurcher Eddie is a 7 month old Greyhound/Bearded Collie cross (5/8 greyhound, 3/8 bearded collie) he is already 26" to the shoulder and he is very fast and agile when in his stride. At just a couple of months old he choked on something when running at the park and had to be rushed to hospital, the doctors say it is amazing how he survived but he is very fit and healthy and he is growing well. He is very friendly and loves to play and try to greet everyone he meets even when just passing in the street! Eddie is the best and most fun family dog I have ever known or owned and we all love him dearly.

Dave
 
I got a 14 month old lurcher bitch and we went off the other night and killed 18 rabbits.  I think she's the best lurcher on this page.

Kathy:  
I have had my lurcher Muttley for 3 years now. He was hard work at first partly because as a rescue dog I did not know he was a lurcher or that he was under a year old, he had been clipped and looked older. I did not know what I would be dealing with as I have previously had spaniel type dogs. My postman finally gave me an insight to his breeding when he said he was a Whippet, Bedlington and Collie mix. After a lot of patience and training he can now be let off the lead and runs like the wind, but does come back when called! He did chase deer at first until a roe deer stag chased him back and he now leaves them alone, he still chases rabbits but has not caught any yet. I cannot imagine life without him now, he is my best friend and loved by everone who knows him. To think I could have passed him by with my pre-concieved ideas about Lurchers and missed this breathtaking dog who has changed my life so much. I now take every opportunity to tell people just what having a Lurcher in your life is like.....Loads of Fun!

Nikki Willis (Lurcher 1/2 grey hound 1/4 whippet 1/4 collie):
I have been doing agility for a few months now and Lester my lovely Lurcher enjoys every minute of it and works really well with me.

Linz:
I've got a 16 week old bedlington / whippet. He is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'm really confused about walking him! I've read that pups should only be walked a little at a time and then from 9-12 months 30mins-1hour twice a day. Is this correct?? He loves to walk, well mainly run and would be out there all day if I let him. I don't know what to do, I'm really concerned that if I carry on walking him an hour at a time it could damage his bones. Has anyone got any advice? Thanks!
Pat comments: If I were you I'd have a look at the National Bedlington Terrier Club site and ask for advice from someone who knows this breed.  The whippet forum might also be a useful place to find information and to discuss your lurcher.  Some breeds of dog do need restricted exercise when they're young to prevent possible damage.  No dog should ever train over jumps until they are well grown, usually at around 12months. Some of the breeds such as retrievers should be older than this.  

Brendan:
I recently rescued a lurcher from the DSPCA in Dublin. He is a lovely ,friendly dog. they told us he was badly beaten when he was found. I have brought him out for a walk every day, but when we pass groups of kids he goes crazy trying to get away. He gets very upset. Does anybody have any advice? thanks.
Pat comments: Brendan, I think you need advice from an experienced dog trainer as your dog has been so mistreated.  You are welcome to join the forum and ask the members if they can advise.  Meanwhile, I would try to keep a safe distance from the kids and put yourself between him and anything that makes him anxious. If your dog feels safe and secure you're halfway there. 

Chris:
 
Just got my lurcher 2 days ago he is fantastic with kids and funny. Does anyone know if you let off lead in time will he come back or not because they have that chasing rabbits or anything in them. Thank you Chris
Pat comments: You can certainly train lurchers to come back.  They do have a reputation for hunting but if you have any trouble with recall etc.  try asking around locally to see if there's a decent trainer who knows about lurchers.  A friend of mine attached a bell to her dog's collar so that she knew where it had gone.  It nearly drove everyone mad.

Karen:
My Lurcher is now 12 years old, and during her career in agility she won over 22 trophies!! She is a wonderful dog not only for agility, but also in the house! I love her so very much!! My second dog was a different type of lurcher, who didn't really enjoy agility, and spends most of his time on the sofa!!

Megan:
I have two lurchers and they are the best breed of dog ever! FACT! they are so gentle and loving and have the cutest habits ever! just such an amazing breed I could never not love them! x
I was just reading Penny's comment [see below] and I have a feeling your new lurcher may have saluki in him which is another lurcher breed.. I have a pure saluki called dash (had her for about 2 yrs) and she has only just started improving on her recall. Salukis are deer/sight hounds and have a very strong instinct to chase (deer are their favourite!) so in some places of the country they are not aloud of their leads because of the risk of them running of! the best thing to do is work and work on the recall and like dash you will eventually have a much better come! x

Pykey Dog Girl
Got two little belter lurcher pups. Deerhound x Greyhound, whippet, bedlingtons. Only 6 month old and one has just caught his first rabbit and brought it back still alive!! I am in love x

Penny:
Hi I'm Penny and got my lovely lurcher Isaac from the Cat and Dog Home in Edinburgh two weeks ago. He has been lovely from the word go. The day after I got him my two young granddaughters visited and I was a little concerned - I needn't have been. He was not very good at "come" but is improving with every day training. I'm letting him off the lead in controlled environments but today I took him to the beach which he loved. He is inclined to roll in quite disgusting things but if that is his only fault I can live with it. He almost dislocated my shoulder yesterday when on an extending lead. He suddenly got the scent of deer and it was very hard to hold him. I'm hoping to let him off the lead properly soon

Sandra Barker (Lurchers Terrier/Whippet/Lab Retriever)
At present needs a nose cover to stop her smelling the ground.

Sandra Barker (lurcher/jrt/pharoah hound):
He's fast but a clown sometimes.

Karma:
I've had my two lurchers six years now and they are fabulous dogs, they are so good, sleep all day then run like mad when out walkies, I will always have lurchers I have become a absolute lurcher fan, I recommend everyone to get one they are so loving.

Hank Janssen:
Hello I'm Hank and I'm from the Netherlands. Can somebody tell me how I might get a Lurcher. Because it's almost impossible to get one in Holland. I own a Greyhound (Duke) and a Jack Russell (Hummer) a fantastic team these two.
Pat comments: Could you travel to England and take a puppy back to the Netherlands with you?   Alternatively we have so many of these dogs in rescue centres that need good homes.  Perhaps you would consider giving one of these dogs a home and taking him or her back to the Netherlands.  The only other alternative is to breed them but you would have to be certain that all the puppies were wanted.   This organisation always has dogs wanting new homes Greyhound and Lurcher rescue

Hazza 'n Philly:
Philly has a salukiXgreyhound with deerhound blood, I have a deerhound greyhound. They are both good workers and good pets.

Sam Sellars:
I want to tell you about my deerhound greyhound cross. He is 3 yrs old and is a lovely grey colour. He can run really fast and is so cute!!! He is my best freind!!!! I don't know what I could do with out him!!!! My name is Sam and I am 12 years old.

Lurcher Boy:
They are lovely dogs as companions or as workers and I have had plenty of fun with mine whether it ferreting training or just walking. love u roman !!!!!!!!!!

Mandy Ringwood:
I adopted Barney from a pound in ireland 3 years ago and think I must have been mad as a first ever dog!!! But he is my world he has a beautiful sensitive personality ,is very chilled in the home and is fantastic with all people........now the fields we live near is a different matter .I need eyes in the back of my head and to be able to run like Linford Christie !!!!

Michelle Ainsworth:
I will never ever find another Daisy, she is my dog in a million and I love her to bits!!

Lurcher handler (1/2 greyhound, 1/4 collie, 1/4 whippet):
They are bloody hard work!
(This handler found the dog difficult to train and would not recommend a lurcher of this breeding for agility.)

Sharon Footitt (Lurcher/collie):
Brilliant second dog for those of us who are a bit unsure about getting a collie. Not as loopy as WSD but just as fast.

Stacey:
I adopted a lurcher a few months ago. She is the most sweet tempered, well behaved dog I have ever known. She is beautiful to watch, she has speed and grace. She makes my life complete!! If I was ever to consider adopting another dog, it would definitely be a lurcher!!

Barbara Bullock (Border collie lurcher cross):
I have been teaching him to jump and weave, but having been to an Agility show I fear I have been doing it all wrong. I am desperately trying to find a local group to teach me how to train him properly. He is so fast and loves to please I think he would be perfect if I can keep his excitement levels down. He tries to guess what I want him to do next rather than listening to me when he gets excited.  

Shaun Jackson:
I have a Lurcher (whippet X Doberman we think). She is very fast and can turn on a sixpence. She has joined the Lurcher Dog Agility League.

Lurcher Handler:
Lurchers are excellent for agility but watch the cross I have 1 x lurcherxGSD (excellent), 1 x beardie x greyhound (looking promising) and 1 x bedlington x greyhound (never interested in the slightest!)

Kay Oxley
My little lurcher is a delight and has managed lots of top 10 Starter places this year. She is sweet, willing and incredibly athletic. The only consideration is that - like lots of lurchers - she has limited concentration and would be very easy to overtrain. The only reason I am not going for another one is that my pure bred kelpie (a flaming nightmare to train!) has got so far under my skin with his character, intelligence and 'kelpie traits'(nothing to do with agility) that I can't imagine having any other breed in future, but this is in no way detrimental to the lovely lurchers

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