What is a Lurcher?

What is a Lurcher?
A Lurcher is a cross between a working dog and a sighthound, bred to add intelligence to a fast dog.

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.

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Lurchers Today

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 shapes and come in an array of colours. So they are suitable for all homes and environments.
  • Lurchers are very people friendly and good with children.
  • Lurchers are gentle and trusting, calm, sensitive, and generally obedient.
  • Lurchers do not need huge amounts of exercise – two 40 minute periods are fine for most of them – although they will take more if you are able to provide it.
    (Greyhounds are happy with 20 minutes twice a day.)
  • They just love to sleep and relax, preferably somewhere soft!

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.

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