What is a Lurcher?
The Origin of Lurchers
A Lurcher is not a breed of dog but is a type of hound that results from cross breeding a Sighthound with another type of working dog such as a Collie or Terrier. The Lurcher is unique to Ireland and Britain and has been with us a very long time. The development of the Lurcher as a ‘type’ of hound is thought to originate from the time when only Noblemen were permitted to own pure bred Sighthounds such as the Greyhound, Saluki, Deerhound, Whippet and Wolfhound. The punishment for a Commoner for possessing one of these types of hounds was death. So the Lurcher was born to fulfill the need for the Commoners and Poachers for a fast and efficient hunting companion.
Historically, Sighthounds (also known as Gazehounds), have been bred for coursing and racing; Salukis were the trusted companions of the Bedouin, who believed this gentle and sensitive canine is superior to all other animals and hence named it the 'Hound of God.' Funnily enough, Salukis share these beliefs.
Sighthounds have been known to reach an astonishing 50mph!
Lurchers share many of the Greyhound’s traits. They are very affectionate, and love human company. They're also very, very clever – along with German Shepherds and Border Collies, Lurchers were used as messenger dogs in both World Wars.
Lurchers have recently become very popular as pets which is great news for all of us involved in Lurcher rescue! This is for many reasons, amongst them are…
- Lurchers come in all shapes and sizes from the small Whippet to the large Deerhound and all sizes in between. Their personality will depend on their particular “cross”.
- Lurchers can have many different coat types and come in an array of colours.
- With their magnificent and elegant snouts, and long, lithe bodies, they just ooze sophistication and charm. Then there are the Saluki's of course... with their perfect 70's eye-liner, feathers and aloofness, the Saluki really puts BIBA models to shame.
- Contrary to popular belief, Lurchers do not need tonnes of exercise. Two 40 minute periods are fine, Greyhound will take even less (two 20 minute plods). All the more time for sleeping.
- Did someone say sleeping? Give them a sofa or a bed and they're happy. Give them both and they are in Heaven.
Lurchers and Cats
We are often asked if Lurchers, Greyhounds and other Sighthounds can successfully live in a home that has cats. The short answer is that some can and some can’t. It is an individual thing. Sighthound puppies and some Lurchers that have not been worked are the best candidates to home with cats.
Where possible, we try to place likely cat friendly hounds in a foster home with a cat. Placing them in cat containing foster home allows us to fully test how the hound will accept and react to a cat in a home setting.
Lurcher SOS hounds that have been tested in a home with cats are termed as cat trainable and are deemed suitable to live in a home with cats, provided some precautions are taken by the new owner at the start of the adoption until the dog and cat know each other (eg muzzling, just in case). We will advise new owners on how to properly introduce their new hound to their cat. Any Lurcher SOS dog that is cat trainable will have that fact noted in their write up. If it doesn’t say cat trainable in the information about a particular hound, then that hound is NOT cat trainable so if you have a cat, do not apply for one of our dogs unless it says cat trainable, cat workable or cat friendly against their name.