As part of my ongoing dog training education, I am currently completing the LLAAI (Lauren Langman Accredited Agility Instructor) Level One along with my instructing team. One of the tasks I was assigned was to research a particular breed or group of dogs, as it's obviously important for instructors to have a good knowledge of the dogs we are presented with in a training class.
You can probably guess from the title of this post which type of dog I was given to investigate further - yes that's right, that loveable rogue that is the Lurcher. Here are some key facts from my presentation that you'll want to know when deciding whether a Lurcher is the dog for you:
What is a Lurcher?
- Lurchers are not a pure breed, but generally a cross between a sighthound and any other non-sighthound breed
- Coat type and colour is therefore variable
- The usual cross is a sighthound with a pastoral dog or terrier, but this is determined by what the breeder is after in the puppies they're breeding
- Collie crosses are popular and perhaps the most well-known Lurcher types
- The Lurcher's original role was to poach rabbits, hares and game birds for his master
- They were generally bred for intelligence and speed
- Lurchers have a lifespan of anywhere between 12 -15 years
What sort of temperament can I expect from a Lurcher?
- This is hard to gauge without knowing a Lurcher puppy's parentage
- Generally speaking those following the sighthound side of the family will be fairly lazy but with a keen eye for movement
- Lurchers were generally bred to work as hunting dogs that could chase and kill their prey - potentially a problem if you already have cats or small animals
- Collie crosses will require good and careful socialisation to help raise a confident and well-adjusted adult dog
- It is worth research the breed characteristics of the non-sighthound parent to know what you might expect from other crosses
I am lucky enough to teach a varied bunch of Lurchers in my training groups - these dogs do well at both general dog training and life skills, as well as dog agility with our sister company Dervish Agility. They are quite tall dogs, but are lean and built for racing as per their sighthound history.
Lurcher puppies can be found advertised on the internet, or adult lurchers can be found advertised in rescue centres online - both type specific and general dog rescue centres. I will share my thoughts on what to look for in a breeder in another post, as finding the right puppy from the right breeder can make a big difference in the sort of adult dog they will grow into.