Harrier vs Beagle: What’s the Difference?
by Jessi Larson
When welcoming a new dog into your home, it can be hard to decide which breed to choose. In the Harrier vs Beagle debate, how will you know which one better fits what you’re looking for in a dog?
Both breeds have qualities that make them great pets. They also have key differences to be aware of.
When it comes to the Harrier vs Beagle, here’s everything you need to know.
Harrier vs Beagle
Both originally bred for hunting, how do Harriers and Beagles hold up as family pets?
To fully understand how the two breeds compare, we’ll review their appearance, temperament, training and grooming needs, and overall health.
This will give you a full picture of the Harrier vs Beagle.
Based on their looks, it’s easy to see how people can confuse Harriers and Beagles.
Despite sharing similar colors and markings, Harriers are larger than their Beagle counterpart. They typically stand between 19-21 inches tall at the shoulder and have large, low-hanging ears.
Female Harriers weigh between 41-45 pounds while males can weigh as much as 56 pounds.
Their coat is short and velvety, making it easy to make out the muscular build of this working hound. The breed is most known for their tricolor appearance, but can also be found in white, cream, gray, fawn and black.
Beagles, on the other hand, are considerably smaller. On average, this petite hound stands between 13-15 inches tall and weighs around 20-30 pounds.
Like the Harrier, Beagles also have a short coat. However, since it’s water-repellent, the breed’s fur is more coarse and doesn’t share the same velvety feel that the Harrier has.
When it comes to color variety in the Harrier vs Beagle comparison, Beagles are the clear winner. In addition to tricolor, the breed can be found in red and white, brown and white, lemon and white, chocolate tricolor, white and tan, orange and white coloring.
Harriers have great temperaments, which make them a solid contender if you’re looking to own your first dog!
Outgoing and friendly, Harriers are sociable dogs that prefer to spend time with their humans. They are incredibly people-oriented, so they will always be excited to come with you wherever you go.
When you can’t take them along, Harriers can handle being left alone until you come back.
In addition to the above, the breed is also known for being docile, cheerful and loving.
As for Beagles, they are most often described as being curious, friendly and merry.
These dogs are happiest when they’re with their humans, and they make great service and therapy dogs.
Unlike Harriers, Beagles have a tendency to develop separation anxiety when left alone, which can make leaving home hard for pet owners.
While they are still an active breed, Beagles are known for being less energetic than Harriers.
As is the case with a number of hound dogs, Harriers are an independent breed. This increased independence means Harriers can be stubborn during training.
When training, owners should remain consistent and patient, remembering that their hound temperament may make them bullheaded, but also incredibly smart.
These dogs respond best when they are being directed by calm, yet firm leadership and are relatively easy to train. Beyond general obedience, Harriers can be trained to track and rally.
Beagles are agreeable when it comes to training and benefit from early obedience classes while they’re young.
They do best when they receive positive reinforcement and understanding from their trainers.
When comparing the Harrier vs Beagle, it’s the Beagle that has a higher intelligence level, which is why the breed is used for search-and-rescue and bomb detection.
Because of their short, velvety coat, Harriers require very little grooming and only shed every so often.
The breed does well with a weekly brushing using a soft-bristle brush. Nails should be kept trimmed, but these are often naturally worn down from activity.
Beyond that, the occasional bath and ear-cleaning is all that’s needed of the breed.
On the other hand, Beagles have slightly greater grooming needs than Harriers.
It’s best to groom your Beagle at least 2-3 times a week with a medium-bristle brush. This will keep the coat looking nice and promote new hair growth.
Like the Harrier, Beagles only require a bath when the need arises and benefit from regularly trimmed nails.
In general, Beagles shed more than Harriers, with their main shedding season being in the spring.
Harriers are a hardy breed that don’t face many health problems when cared for correctly.
Buying from a responsible breeder will ensure that proper health screenings take place before a puppy goes to its new family.
Once home, Harrier ears should be checked for signs of infection weekly and their teeth should be brushed on a regular basis. Beyond that, routine veterinary checkups are all that is needed to keep a Harrier healthy.
Beagles have many of the same health needs as Harriers, including regular ear checks and teeth brushing.
However, when comparing the Harrier vs Beagle, it’s the Beagle that is predisposed to a greater variety of health complications. Some of these complications include epilepsy, hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia.
When buying your Beagle, going through a responsible breeder will ensure that your dog is screened for such health concerns.
Harrier vs Beagle: Final Thoughts
Harriers and Beagles both have the potential to be great pets. By focusing on what you desire in a dog and what’s important to your lifestyle, you’ll find yourself drawn to one breed over the other.
The Beagle is incredibly popular and consistently in the top 10 dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). You’ll have no problem finding a Beagle breeder or rescue.
The Harrier, on the other hand, is much rarer and less popular, even though they make wonderful pets. It may be harder to find a Harrier breeder, but the effort will result in a unique and amazing new pup.
No matter which one you choose, you will end up with an energetic, loving companion for years to come!
Harrier vs Beagle Bonus Tip: How to Pick the Right Dog
When you’re looking for a dog but don’t know what breed to get, these nine easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.
This guide will help you in the Harrier vs Beagle debate and give you a clearer idea of which one is for you.
1. Why Do You Want a Dog?
First things first, let’s talk about why you want a dog. This will guide you more than you realize!
For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want an energetic and enthusiastic dog who fits your active lifestyle?
Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.
2. What Type of Dog Did You Have Growing up?
Believe it or not, the dog (or dogs) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of dog you want when you’re older.
That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of dog by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of canine they were conditioned to growing up.
3. Do You Have Any Allergies?
Dogs can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that make it easier for allergies sufferers.
Always learn more about the breed before bringing it into your home.
4. Who’s in Your Household?
Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.
Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?
This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the household.
Fortunately, in the Harrier vs Beagle debate, both are good dogs in different ways.
5. Where Do You Live?
As you think about which dog breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.
It goes without saying that certain breeds just aren’t cut out for small spaces. For example, a Great Dane in a tiny apartment would be a disaster!
Also, certain dogs, including both the Harrier and Beagle, need to be in an enclosed space if let off the leash. With their sharp noses and hunting dog instincts, these dogs could run off in an instant.
6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?
Dogs are A LOT of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But some dogs require much more effort than others.
Potential pup parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a dog, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the dog.
Before making a decision regarding the Harrier vs Beagle, make sure you understand their instincts and how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll require.
7. What is the Dog’s Temperament?
Just like appearance, a pup’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a dog will act based on their breed instincts.
Both the Harrier and Beagle have great personalities. The Harrier is a sweet and social dog with a bit of a stubborn side. Equally charming and lovable, the Beagle is less headstrong but does struggle with separation anxiety.
8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?
Owning a dog isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Especially for some of the rarer canines.
Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before making a commitment.
Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and other expenses like daycare or boarding.
9. Breed Finder
And finally, try out our online breed selector and get a list of the best breeds for you and your lifestyle.
It allows you to enter details like where you live, who’s in your house, your climate, what size of dog you’re looking for and more. You’ll receive a list of breeds that will work for you.
This could settle the Harrier vs Beagle debate once and for all.