The lurcher is a type of dog originating in Ireland and parts of Great Britain .While not a pure breed, it is generally a cross between a sighthound and any other breed, usually a pastoral dog or terrier, dependent on the attributes desired by the breeder; originally stealth and cunning. Collie crosses are popular, given the working instinct of a sheepdog when mated with a sighthound gives a dog of great intelligence plus speed - prerequisites for the hunter/poacher. In the USA midwest, crosses with large scent hounds are fairly common.
The coat type too will again be variable dependent upon the crosses involved . As one would expect, types range from short and smooth like that of the greyhound, to slightly longer and thicker like that of the boxer, to the extreme rough and broken - like that of a border terrier, for example.
Many meanings of the word 'Lurcher' have been suggested: From the Romany words for "lur" meaning thief and "cur" meaning a mixed dog breed, or from 'Middle English, from lorchen, to lurk, perhaps from lurken.
A lurcher need not contain greyhound in any form whatsoever, for instance a Saluki x Collie, or a whippet x terrier are lurchers. They need not be first crosses either.
HistoryIt is fabled that in the 14th and 15th century the English and Scottish governments banned commoners from owning sight-hounds, like Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and greyhounds. These "facts" are not verifiable by producing documents from the time. It is thought that lurchers may have been bred to avoid legal complications during this time perhaps but this of course is a guess at history. Generally, the aim of the cross is to produce a sighthound with more intelligence, a canny animal suitable for the original purpose of the lurcher, poaching rabbits, hares, and game birds. Over time, poachers and hunters discovered breeding of certain breeds with sight-hounds produced a dog better suited to purpose given their combination of speed and intelligence.
- Lurchers as pets
- Amateur sports