The Lurcher is not a recognised breed but a mixture of breeds. Typically a Lurcher is a combination of a sighthound (often a Greyhound) and another type of working dog, thereby creating a dog with a combination of speed and intelligence. All sorts of combinations are possible in creating a Lurcher: Salukis, Whippets, Border Collies, Retrievers, and different types of Terrier. The Lurcher’s coat will vary depending on the parent breeds. He was once known as something of an outlaw or poacher’s dog but nowadays lives mostly as a companion dog. It is essential that a Lurcher is allowed to run free and ideally should be given frequent opportunities for high energy runs. He is not suited to town life. Typically he is a loveable rogue, smart, sensitive and loving.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPSTBC
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
Gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) (Bloat/Torsion) (the stomach fills with air and rotates causing vomiting and pain – urgent veterinary treatment is needed) Associated with deep chested breeds.
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Ivermectin sensitivity (MDR1) (Lurchers with Collie ancestry).
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Large Lurchers, especially those including Deerhound as well as Greyhound may have heart problems. Most common is Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in which the heart muscle becomes enlarged and weakened. Affects middle aged dogs.
- Ivermectin sensitivity (in Lurchers with Collie ancestry)
- Sodium pentothal anaesthetic sensitivity (common in Greyhounds)
- Cancer: Osteosarcoma (bone cancer – common in Greyhounds and Deerhounds)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: