Lurchers are mixed breed dogs. They consist of a sight hound crossed with another breed or breeds, most commonly Herding or Terrier types. Thus you may find a Greyhound/Collie or an Irish Wolfhound/Old English Sheepdog combo. Or maybe a Whippet and a Norfolk Terrier or a Saluki and a Norwich Terrier. The possible combinations are mind boggling!
The dictionary definition: lurcher (LUR cher) noun
-British a crossbred dog used by poachers
-Archaic a sneak thief
Lurchers first appeared in the British Isles. Back in medieval days, laws prohibited commoners from owning purebred dogs. Since they needed dogs to assist in hunting, commoners developed the Lurcher.
Many Lurchers helped their owners to poach game such as hares and rabbits (and perhaps the king's herd of deer). The penalty for poaching was severe. So naturally a fast dog was especially handy.
Bands of Gypsies made use of Lurchers but some considered only the short haired Lurcher acceptable as that indicated a predominance of Greyhound blood. The overly hairy dogs were deemed "lesser" due to a belief that they lacked the speed and endurance that the Greyhound based Lurcher possessed.
Today's Lurchers are typically bred by mating Lurchers to Lurchers. Coursing is illegal now in many countries including England and Scotland. But Coursing Clubs remain active elsewhere where Lurchers are big winners in coursing events. When not enjoying a good run, modern Lurchers enjoy couch time with their people.
Not surprisingly, there is no breed standard for the Lurcher. Personality, coat type, size and such will vary widely based on what breeds are in the mix. It's a good bet however, that a Lurcher will be inclined to chase critters he sees. Also, the sweet gentleness of the average sight hound is bound to be present, as is lankiness and a deep chest with big lung capacity vital for heavy duty running.
For more information on Lurchers and some cool photos and artwork, visit: