Hunting has been a necessity as long as animals have lived on this Earth; for some, hunting was the sole means of feeding themselves and their family. As humanity evolved and became more technologically advanced, hunting also became a sport; men were interested in the hunt, not for their dinner, but to feel the rush and satisfaction that a chase provided. Hunting also had a primeval appeal, reminding mankind of its early days. Hunting, as both a necessity and a sport, has been so important that man has developed a variety of animals to accompany him on the hunt. One of man's most faithful hunting companions is, of course, the dog; there exists a large number of dog breeds that were developed as hunting dogs. Some breeds are specialized in hunting a particular type of game, while other breeds are more general. Some breeds hunt in a very specific way or do a very specific job, while others were developed to fulfill a multitude of roles.
As hunting with hounds gained popularity, there was a certain period of time when only the nobility was allowed to participate in this sport. The nobles owned all the land, they were able to afford the hounds and they were able to afford the horses on which they followed the hounds. Poorer people were systematically shut out of hunting events, seen as simply another of the many privileges of wealth. As times changed, though, the sport of hunting was opened up to all classes of people; poorer individuals got their hands on some dogs and started perfecting breeds that would suit their needs. The Harrier was one of these breeds. While Foxhounds and foxhunts were the domain of the rich, hare hunts became one of the favorite pastimes of the poor; the Harrier was developed to hunt hares. Most importantly, the Harrier moved at a slower pace than the Foxhound and so could be followed on foot; this was a wonderful trait, as poorer individuals could not afford horses to follow the swifter Foxhound.
As with many hounds, Harriers worked very well in packs and hares were more easily hunted with a good pack of dogs. While single individuals could not afford to purchase and maintain a pack of Harriers, pack hunting of rabbits was extremely common. Indeed, the practice of forming "scratch packs" was developed so that all could enjoy hare hunting. A scratch pack was a pack composed of dogs with different owners. If a man felt like hunting, he would inquire as to when the next hunting party was being organized; he would show up on the designated day and include his dog in the pack. Because of this practice, Harriers had to be very friendly both towards strange people and to strange dogs; if a dog showed aggression towards humans or other canines, he would cause problems during the hunt and would not be included.