It is fabled that in the 14th, 15th and early 16th century the English and Scottish governments banned commoners from owning sight-hounds, such as Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and Greyhounds, though no documentation from the time can be found to verify this. It is thought that Lurchers may have been bred with dogs such as Border Collies and various terriers to avoid legal complications during this time.
Generally, the aim of the cross is to produce a sighthound with more intelligence, suitable for 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 this purpose, given the Lurcher's combination of speed and intelligence.
Similar in size and structure to a Greyhound, the Lurcher is lean and athletic with long legs, a deep chest for enhanced lung capacity aiding stamina, small, high-set ears and a defined muzzle. Unlike a Greyhound, the Lurcher coat is typically longer, as inherited from the Collie crosses. There is no breed standard when it comes to coat colour, due to the fact there is no standard breed pairing, although a Long-Haired and a Short-Haired variety are recognised. When it comes to shedding, some Lurchers will shed a lot, while others will shed little.
Contrary to popular belief, the Lurcher is an amiable, relaxed and gentle breed, with a quiet temperament that enjoys regular human contact. Like the Greyhound, the Lurcher is neither aggressive nor highly strung, but docile and dependable towards its owners. A good, obedient dog that learns commands fast. Compatible with children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually, the breed is low maintenance and makes a great addition to any home setting. They are good for outdoor type families and have a life expectancy of approximately 12-15 years when shown appropriate love and care. They require less exercise than might be thought and within the home are normally quiet and calm, and love nothing more than being lazy stretched out on a sofa! They need at least one walk a day though, preferably two of half an hour. Although they also love nothing more than running free at speed, they need to be in a safe enclosed area as their natural instinct is to chase small game such as rabbits and they may run into a road or other danger. So they do need to be kept on the lead unless in an enclosure.
To sum up, Lurchers potentially make for excellent family dogs, as they are kind, calm, gentle, and love affection from people of all ages. Lurchers do like to play ball and other games with children, and they are inquisitive and like to be involved in things, but they usually run out of energy long before the kids will!. They are usually very good with other dogs as they have a non-defensive nature, although not all will be good with cats depending on their upbringing.