Lurcher 1 (Jekyll)
Along with other athletic hunting dogs, the Lurcher’s original function was to provide meat for the cooking pot by using a combination of agility and speed. In fact being able to hunt by both scent and sight gives your Lurcher a real advantage over pure sight hounds like the Greyhound but it does mean that they can come with a VERY STRONG chase or prey instinct. Everyone who has a Lurcher will have had some experience of their dog simply taking off after a rabbit or squirrel and one of my own current Lurchers, a Greyhound x Collie cross (Tilly) ticks all the usual boxes. Rabbits, hares and squirrels along with deer, cats and foxes. I am intrigued by the instant trigger response on seeing a fox when no other dog breed or type elicits any response whatsoever but she can spot a fox almost a quarter of a mile away.
What this means is that when walking your Lurcher you MUST take this into account as, unless you have really spent a lot of time training as a puppy, there is very little you can do. I have tried to introduce her to the local cats and even the ones that have faced her down in a spitting fury haven’t deterred her one bit, so walking in public places you MUST keep your Lurcher on a lead at all times. I have a friend who’s border Collie has better road sense than most 8 year old children but all my Lurchers have had absolutely none whatsoever and would happily walk straight into the path of oncoming traffic to reach a friend on the other side of the road.
Hunting with dogs is illegal in the UK and while no one will really get too upset at the sight of your dog taking a rabbit or squirrel you must be aware that hunting Hares is now illegal and a very emotive subject. A few years ago on holiday in Norfolk we had been strolling along happily when Tilly spotted two hares about 1/4 mile away in a stubble field and immediately took off. The chase was equally fascinating and frightening to watch as the hare jinked and swerved, eventually escaping through a hedge. By the time it was over Tilly was easily half a mile away and when she eventually came back to my whistle I honestly thought she might die at my feet. She was bleeding badly from 4 nasty gashes on her legs from the sharp stubble and lay gasping for breath for a full 20 minutes to recover with her heart beating out of her chest. The rest of the holiday we did beach walks.
Of course you can exploit this trait in your pet by playing flyball or frisby which is Tilly’s particular favourite and if you can, do make an effort to take your dog to one of the many Lurcher shows that run around the country. Lurchers seem to have a very strong affinity with their own type and just love the opportunity to take part in races and other competitions.
Lurcher 2 (Hyde)
It’s still a commonly held belief that Greyhounds and Lurchers need far more exercise than other breeds of dogs and every Lurcher owner must have heard the line “How do you manage to keep your dog looking so well and slim you must be out walking all the time”. Lurcher owners know that as long as their dog gets a couple of decent walks everyday in a place with space where they can stretch their legs, it is perfectly happy. Lurchers are self regulating when it comes to exercise and while one day they are happy to mooch along stopping and sniffing every post on other days they just go bananas, tearing around in huge circles, chasing each other and every other dog that wants to be part of the game (zoomies). It is this behaviour that I love the most about Lurchers and it is simply a life affirming joy to see them running at full pelt.
So the bottom line is. Take them to places where they can run safely and they will exercise themselves.(beaches) If you live in a small flat in a city you probably will want something like a Pug instead.
The obvious result of all this high octane madness is that your Lurcher will sleep most of the time that it isn’t out, simply to recover. Also if you are going to be that beautiful, you needs LOTS of beauty sleep. All Lurcher owners know that their dog will seek out the warmest most comfortable place in the house to spend most of its time asleep. Look on The Lurcher Appreciation Society Facebook pages and you will get an idea of just how laid back a dog can be. So if you can’t make up your mind between a dog or a cat as a pet then get a Lurcher. I know I am slightly biased but I have had different breeds of dogs in the past so you must believe me when I tell you that the Lurcher is simply the best kind of dog you can get (except when they roll in Fox crap)