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The Lurcher was bred in Ireland and Great Britain by the Gypsies and Tinkers in the 1600s. They were used for poaching rabbits, hares and other small creatures. It is never bred to a specific standard and is often not considered a breed, as the Lurcher is more a crossbreed: usually three quarters sighthound. The most common combinations are the Greyhound/Collie and the Greyhound/Terrier. A lurcher that is a cross between two sighthound breeds is sometimes called a "long-dog". The name Lurcher is derived name from the Romany word lur, which means thief. The Lurcher is rarely seen outside of Great Britain and Ireland, and is still common in its native land. The Collie crosses were often not large enough to do the work the Lurcher was intended for. Gypsies traditionally sneered at any Lurcher that was not predominantly Greyhound, since these "lesser" Lurchers were not as good at hunting and could not stand a full day's work of the hunt. The stringent training methods of the Gypsies are looked down upon in some Lurch circles, since the pups began working at six months old. Only the top-producing pups were kept; the rest were sold at traditional bargain rates. Today some breeding is carried out in a more systematic manner, with Lurchers bred to Lurchers to perpetuate the "breed's" prowess at rabbit and hare coursing.
Lurchers are dignified and gentle - they are at home by fell, field or fireside. Lurchers make wonderful, loyal family pets.