Lurcher
Overview
 


The lurcher is a type
Dog type
Dog types are broad categories of dogs based on function, with dogs identified primarily by specific function or style of work rather than by lineage or appearance....

 of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 originating in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and parts of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

. While not a pure breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

, it is generally a cross between a sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 and any other breed, usually a pastoral dog
Pastoral dog
A pastoral dog is any individual dog of any breed or type used for mustering, guarding or otherwise managing livestock.Pastoral Dog might refer to the:...

 or terrier
Terrier
A terrier is a dog of any one of many breeds or landraces of terrier type, which are typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs. Terrier breeds vary greatly in size from just a couple of pounds to over 70 pounds and are usually categorized by size or function...

, dependent on the attributes desired by the breeder; originally stealth and cunning. Collie
Collie
The collie is a distinctive type of herding dog, including many related landraces and formal breeds. It originates in Scotland and Northern England. It is a medium-sized, fairly lightly built dog with a pointed snout, and many types have a distinctive white pattern over the shoulders. Collies...

 crosses are popular, given the working instinct of a sheepdog when mated with a sighthound gives a dog of great intelligence plus speed - prerequisites for the hunter/poacher.
Encyclopedia


The lurcher is a type
Dog type
Dog types are broad categories of dogs based on function, with dogs identified primarily by specific function or style of work rather than by lineage or appearance....

 of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 originating in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and parts of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

. While not a pure breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

, it is generally a cross between a sighthound
Sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 and any other breed, usually a pastoral dog
Pastoral dog
A pastoral dog is any individual dog of any breed or type used for mustering, guarding or otherwise managing livestock.Pastoral Dog might refer to the:...

 or terrier
Terrier
A terrier is a dog of any one of many breeds or landraces of terrier type, which are typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs. Terrier breeds vary greatly in size from just a couple of pounds to over 70 pounds and are usually categorized by size or function...

, dependent on the attributes desired by the breeder; originally stealth and cunning. Collie
Collie
The collie is a distinctive type of herding dog, including many related landraces and formal breeds. It originates in Scotland and Northern England. It is a medium-sized, fairly lightly built dog with a pointed snout, and many types have a distinctive white pattern over the shoulders. Collies...

 crosses are popular, given the working instinct of a sheepdog when mated with a sighthound gives a dog of great intelligence plus speed - prerequisites for the hunter/poacher. In the USA midwest, crosses with large scent hounds are fairly common.

Description

Appearance
Lurchers, given their breeding to purpose, can be as small as a whippet
Whippet
The Whippet is a breed of dog in the sighthound family. They are active and playful and are physically similar to a small Greyhound.- Description :...

 or as large as a deerhound; but most, as a result of their keeper's requirements and thus breeding, are of a size similar to that of the greyhound
Greyhound
The Greyhound is a breed of sighthound that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, and the breed has also recently seen a resurgence in its popularity as a pedigree show dog and family pet. It is a gentle and intelligent breed...

.

The coat type too will again be variable dependent upon the crosses involved . As one would expect, types range from short and smooth like that of the greyhound, to slightly longer and thicker like that of the boxer, to the extreme rough and broken - like that of a border terrier, for example.

Temperament
Temperament is also variable, again dependent on parental influence. As could be expected, lurchers with dominant sighthound attributes have similar temperaments - often fairly lazy with a good eye - however, accordingly, others are influenced by their other, often more tractable, biddable, and slower parent.
As with all dogs, temperament will be modified by socialising the puppy.

Many meanings of the word 'Lurcher' have been suggested: From the Romany words for "lur" meaning thief and "cur" meaning a mixed dog breed, or from 'Middle English, from lorchen, to lurk, perhaps from lurken.

A lurcher need not contain greyhound in any form whatsoever, for instance a Saluki x Collie, or a whippet x terrier are lurchers. They need not be first crosses either.

History

It is fabled that in the 14th and 15th century the English and Scottish governments banned commoners from owning sight-hounds, like Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound is a breed of domestic dog , specifically a sighthound. The name originates from its purpose rather than from its appearance...

s, Scottish Deerhound
Scottish Deerhound
The Scottish Deerhound, or simply the Deerhound, is a breed of hound , once bred to hunt the Red Deer by coursing.- Appearance :The Scottish Deerhound resembles a rough-coated Greyhound. It is however, larger in size and bone...

s, and greyhounds. These "facts" are not verifiable by producing documents from the time. It is thought that lurchers may have been bred to avoid legal complications during this time perhaps but this of course is a guess at history. Generally, the aim of the cross is to produce a sighthound with more intelligence, a canny animal suitable for the original purpose of the lurcher, poaching rabbits, hares, and game birds. Over time, poachers and hunters discovered breeding of certain breeds with sight-hounds produced a dog better suited to purpose given their combination of speed and intelligence.

Modern roles

Lurchers as pets
The modern lurcher is growing from its old image of disrepute to heights of popularity as an exceptional family dog, and many groups have been founded to rehome lurchers as family pet
Pet
A pet is a household animal kept for companionship and a person's enjoyment, as opposed to wild animals or to livestock, laboratory animals, working animals or sport animals, which are kept for economic or productive reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful...

s.

Hunting/coursing
The lurcher has as many varied uses as types can be crossbred, but generally they are used as hunting dogs that can chase and kill their prey. Most lurchers today are used for general pest control, typically rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s, hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, and fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es, although some of the larger types have been successfully used on bigger game like wild boar and deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

. Lurchers can be used for hare coursing
Hare coursing
Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with greyhounds and other sighthounds, which chase the hare by sight and not by scent. It is a competitive sport, in which dogs are tested on their ability to run, overtake and turn a hare, rather than a form of hunting aiming at the capture of game. It has a...

, although most hare coursing dogs are greyhounds. Sighthound heavy lurchers move most effectively over open ground, although different crosses suit different terrains, indeed many crosses are specifically engineered for the purpose of working cover. Unfortunately, some breeders kill or turn loose lurchers that are not successful hunters or have physical or behavioral problems.

Amateur sports
Sighthound heavy lurchers excel at sports like lure coursing
Lure coursing
Lure coursing is a sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. Competition is usually limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds.-Lure course:...

 and dog racing which are very popular in areas with little available hunting, or for people who dislike hunting. In the USA lurchers are eligible to compete in lure coursing events sanctioned by the National Lure Coursing Club.

Lurchers have also proven to be very good at dog sports such as obedience and agility, where they are becoming increasingly popular due to their speed and willingness to please. Again it must be stressed that this will entirely be dependent upon cross.

In addition, lurchers are appearing in Alaska
Alaskan Husky
The Alaskan husky is not a breed of dog rather it is a type or a category. It falls short of being a breed in that there is no preferred type of and no restriction as to ancestry; it is defined only by its purpose, which is that of a highly efficient sled dog...

. Sled-dog breeders are breeding sighthounds with their sled dogs to produce a faster dog. Often in the first generation, pups that do not have the coat or temperament to create a good sled dog candidate are adopted out to new non-mushing homes.

Recognition and Registration

Because lurchers are not purebreds they are not recognized by any of the major kennel clubs although the acronym HJCK serves in some circles: Hunt Jump Catch Kill. However, the North American Lurcher and Longdog Association was recently created to serve as a registering body for lurchers and longdog
Longdog
A Longdog is a type of dog; it is a crossbreed between two sighthounds . They are distinct from the Lurcher which is a cross between a sighthound breed and a non-sighthound breed...

s in the United States and Canada.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK