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Harrier vs Beagle: Which Dog to Choose?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Harrier vs Beagle

You may find it difficult to choose between a Harrier and a Beagle due to the similarities between the breeds. Both the Harrier and the Beagle share the same ancestry to England. While the Harrier is a much older breed, both of these purebred hound breeds have histories as hunting dogs. Today, that instinct to hunt remains evident in both the Beagle’s and the Harrier’s willingness to give chase and their tendencies toward wanderlust.

As a pet, Harriers and Beagles are high-energy dogs that are kid-friendly and well-suited around the elderly and families with multiple dogs. They both require minimal grooming, shed moderately, barely drool, and are easy to train.

To help you decide which dog to choose, we’ll cover the distinct differences that set Harriers and Beagles apart. We’ll highlight the variations in appearance, especially in size between the two dog breeds, and we’ll contrast each one’s overall temperament and health.

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Visual Differences

Harrier vs Beagle side by side
Photo Credit: Left – evaleenage, Shutterstock; Right – 825545, Pixabay

A Quick Overview

The Harrier and the Beagle have a lot of similarities, but they do have their set of unique characteristics. Let’s break it down.

  • Average Height (adult): Up to 2o inches
  • Average Weight (adult): Up to 50 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 50+ min/day
  • Grooming needs: Low to moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Excellent, intelligent
  • Average Height (adult): Up to 15 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): 20–25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 40+ min/day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes, highly social
  • Dog-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Excellent, highly intelligent

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Why Should You Choose a Harrier?

Harriers have a fairly easygoing personality and are ideal for a first-time dog owner. Beagles, on the other hand, tend to be stubborn. Harriers are a less popular dog breed, which makes them less expensive to buy. As a show dog, Harriers have been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1885. However, the AKC is the only agency to recognize this breed.

Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

More Dog to Love

Harriers are twice as large as Beagles. While they tend to eat more, this breed is less likely to gain too much weight. They average 50 pounds and stand at a shoulder height of about 20 inches.

Easier to Groom

Harriers have a short, shiny coat that comes in dual-color and tricolor combinations featuring white, tan, red, lemon, and black. Unlike Beagles, which shed more intensely in the spring and require frequent removal of excess hair, Harriers only need to be brushed once a week with a soft bristle brush.


Harriers are an active breed with an outgoing, friendly, cheerful temperament. They are less sensitive than Beagles and can be rather sociable. If you like your dog to give you some space, Harriers offer an average amount of affection. However, this dog breed prefers you to be home with them, but they’ll gladly accompany you wherever you go. On the other hand, Beagles tend to suffer from a high level of separation anxiety.

Tolerant and Quiet

This tolerant dog breed adapts well to lifestyle changes and if you change your living environment. However, energetic Harriers are not ideal for apartments. Also, Harriers like Beagles do not make good watchdogs. However, you may appreciate that compared to Beagles, who are constantly exercising their vocal cords, Harriers rarely bark.

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Why Should You Choose a Beagle?

Beagles currently rank sixth out of the most popular dog breeds for good reason. The Beagle’s loving, affectionate, and playful personality makes them wonderful pets and fantastic family dogs. They have a face that’s hard to resist with big brown or hazel eyes and low-set, long, hound ears.

Image Credit: Nick115, Pixabay

Recognized Dog Breed Worldwide

Beagles have been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1885 and are a recognized dog breed throughout worldwide organizations. Beagles are a smaller breed than Harriers weighing between 20 to 25 pounds and averaging a shoulder height of about 15 inches. Despite tending to become overweight, Beagles generally eat less. Beagles have a double coat that requires regular brushing and comes in attractive colors of lemon, red and white, and tricolor.

Lovable, Loyal, and Intelligent

Beagles make lovable and loyal companions. They’re much better suited than Harriers to work as service and therapy dogs. Beagles have a higher level of intelligence, which enables them to perform as search-and-rescue dogs, detection dogs, and boat dogs.

Healthier than Harriers

Beagles are healthier with less frequent health issues and tend to live longer than Harriers. Beagles have a 12–15-year lifespan compared to Harrier’s 10–12-year lifespan.

Playful and Social

Beagles are a fun breed to own as a pet. They love to interact with their owners. While not as energetic as a Harrier, Beagles are curious, active, and eagerly look forward to plenty of playtime.

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When choosing between a Harrier and a Beagle, know that whichever dog breed you choose, you’re bound to gain a wonderful pet. Your deciding factors may come down to the size difference or the varying lifespan between these two dogs. Temperament may influence your decision, with the Harrier being tolerant and outgoing yet less affectionate as compared to the more loving companionship of the occasionally stubborn Beagle. Either way, both the Beagle and the Harrier have much to offer as wonderful family dogs.

Featured Image Credit: (L) SilverFoxStudio, Shutterstock | (R) Milli, Unsplash

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