|Other names||Poacher's dog|
|Origin||Great Britain and Ireland|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
A lurcher is a crossbred dog resulting from mating a greyhound or other sighthound with a dog of another type such as a herding dog or a terrier. The lurcher was for hundreds of years strongly associated with poaching; in modern times, it is kept as a hunting dog or companion dog.
Lurcher is an old English term for a crossbred dog; specifically, the result of mating a sighthound with a dog of another type, typically a working breed. The term was first used with this meaning in 1668; it is considered to be derived from the verb lurch, apparently a variant form of lurk, meaning lurk or steal.
In England from 1389, the right to keep a dog of any kind used in hunting was limited by law to those qualified by possessing lands, holdings, or income worth more than ten pounds per annum; in other words, royalty, nobility, the gentry, and the wealthy. This law, though repeatedly modified, remained in force until 1831.
In the nineteenth century, the word was used to describe some rough-haired regional greyhounds, which were banned from competition by coursing clubs such as Swaffham and Newmarket, due to the perception that they cut "turns" to kill instead of working the hare to gain points.
A lurcher is a cross, generally between a sighthound and a working dog breed. Generally, the aim of the cross is to produce a sighthound with more intelligence, a canny animal suitable for poaching rabbits, hares and game birds. Over time, poachers and hunters discovered that the crossing of certain breeds with sighthounds produced a dog better suited to this purpose, given the lurcher's combination of speed and intelligence.
Lurchers were traditionally bred in England to assist poachers in hunting rabbits and hares. Around the world they are kept as sporting dogs and family pets, or to compete in sports such as lure coursing and dog racing. In the United States they may compete in lure coursing events through the AKC and the UKC. Cross-breeds are not registered and formally recognized by any major kennel club. In North America, the Canadian Kennel Club can deprive individual members of their club rights if they have been proven of crossbreeding any breed as in creating lurchers; in the USA lurchers can be registered with the North American Lurcher and Longdog Association.