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 THE LURCHER

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smashygadge
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Registration date : 2008-10-26

PostSubject: THE LURCHER   Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:16 am

The Lurcher


2.1 The lurcher is not a ‘breed’ of dog, as defined by the kennel club, but a ‘type’ of dog. Sheardown explains that the lurcher is originally produced by cross breeding two different breeds; "The lurcher is an intentional cross between a long dog and a herding dog, or the offspring of parents so bred". Historically, the two breeds used were the greyhound and a herding dog, such as the border collie. This was because these were the breeds which were most readily available as breeding stock.

2.2 The origins of the modern lurcher may vary widely of cross matings between working breeds; collies, German shepherds, Australian heelers, bull terriers and Bedlington terriers; and a selection of sight hounds; greyhounds, whippets, salukis, deerhounds, and even the exotic borzoi or pharaoh hound have been advertised as the sire or dam in the ‘pups for sale’ columns in magazines such as The Countryman’s Weekly.

2.3 Some illustration of the wide variety of lurcher ‘types’, is provided by the National Lurcher & Racing Club’s leaflet: ‘The Lurcher & The Long dog’, (Appendix I). The leaflet also provides a useful overview of both the lurcher’s origins and it’s modern day role. It also offers a clear definition of the difference between a lurcher and a long dog. Briefly, whilst a lurcher is originally produced by cross mating two very different breeds of dog, ie; collie x greyhound, with the aim of retaining the speed of the latter and the stamina and tractability of the former . A long dog is originally produced from a cross mating between two pure bred sight hounds, ie; a greyhound x saluki.

2.4 The need for two distinct ‘types’, as recognised by the definitions of ‘lurcher’ and ‘long dog’, has evolved with the popularity of specialist hunters. The lurcher is most commonly used for catching rabbits and all round vermin control, whilst the long dog is highly regarded by as a supreme athlete by lurcher coursing enthusiasts. Although both are cross bred ‘running dogs’ and will henceforth be referred to as ‘lurchers’.

2.5 It is also important to note that lurchers are not only selectively bred for their working abilities. Most lurchers are also ‘family’ dogs, and must therefore be sociable and of sound temperament. It is widely known that lurchers are commonly placid, well behaved, friendly and obedient dogs.

2.6 That the lurcher / long dog can, and does, vary enormously in it’s type is evident. It may be rough or smooth haired, a single colour, brindle or pied. It may stand 18 inches at the shoulder, or it may stand at 27 inches. The popularity of all of the many varieties of lurchers is best demonstrated by a quick glance at a typical show schedule, Appendix II. That the schedules also contain a terrier show programme is testament to the close working relationship of both lurcher and terrier owners and their dogs. And, owing to the close working relationship, many shows also include a ferret schedule.

2.7 However, the reason for the variance is not only due to the original parentage of the individual dog, it is also due to lurcher x lurcher matings. It is interesting to note that first cross matings reliably produce similar pups of a particular type (Harmar - details of all references are provided at the end of the report), for example; the border collie x greyhound will always produce a smooth coated, more heavily built progeny. Lurcher x lurcher matings can produce a very wide variety of coat types, height, build and overall confirmation - even in pups of the same litter.

2.8 However, the reason for these matings, is exactly the same as for the original lurcher; to produce a type of working dog, of sound temperament, that will instinctively hunt the desired quarry on the type of terrain available to the dogs owner. The aim of all lurcher breeding is to produce dogs that are ‘fit for purpose’.

2.9 The report will show that the lurcher is one of the most commonly kept hunting dogs in Britain, and can be described as follows:

...an all rounder should take rabbits and hares, mark, work with ferrets, be a retriever, jump, be obedient, and be stock broken. But lurchers can also take rats,and sneak the odd pheasant or two...
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