Can You Let Lurchers Off Their Leash?

by Sonya | Last Updated:   March 18, 2021

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As pet owners, we struggle with balancing wanting to keep our dogs safe while understanding that they need exercise – some of the best types of exercise is off leash running.

That helps the dog to burn way more energy than if they were on a leashed walk, but you also want to make sure that if your dog is off leash that you can still control their behaviors.

If you have a lurcher, this is even more important because they can be very fast dogs – if they get off leash, you may not be able to catch up to them!

The answer to if you can let your lurcher off their leash is a complicated one. If you are in an unfenced area, it is not recommended to let your dog off leash because they have an incredibly strong prey drive that is really hard to break if something catches their attention.

However, if you are in a fenced area that is safe, free from places they can get out and there are no leash laws in your area, you can let your dog zoom his little heart out, burning some of that enviable energy at high rates.

A pet Lurcher puppy dog bitch running on a beach, being chased by a labrador. Motion blur.

Can I Walk with my Lurcher Off Leash?

This is a really common question. After all, your dog has a lot of energy, and one of the best ways they can burn it off is by running off leash. However, you may want to think twice before you take your lurcher off his leash. This isn’t a no, but it is not a yes either.

Lurchers run fast and can see something they deem as prey from a far distance. If your dog gets in hunting mode and that instinct kicks it, it is really hard to break that concentration. They will get in the zone, laser-focused on their target, and take off at high speeds to achieve it.

Sure, you can break their concentration and they will again begin to listen to commands, but it is definitely a risk.

This instinct will drive lurchers to even slip their collars if they see something they want to catch. They have a very, very high prey drive, and that will override any training that you have given your dog in the moment. It may be really tempting to let your dog run off leash.

They run fast, and to see them run majestically at full speed is really beautiful and a great form of exercise to burn off those zoomies, but the risk of losing your dog is very high if you are letting them off leash in an unfenced area. They could get lost, get hurt, or even worse.

What Can I Do With My Lurcher?

One of the most common solutions to off leash walking with your lurcher is to find an enclosed space and let them off leash to run and zoom along. Oftentimes, one of the best places that lurcher owners use is a tennis court because it is big enough that your dog could get a good gait going but safe and enclosed.

There are rarely any hidden holes in the fences, so your lurcher won’t accidentally escape during their run. Some owners may need to get their lurchers used to running in this enclosure. It is not an instinctive practice for them, and oftentimes toys won’t cut it!

Show your dog what to do, and they will be off to the (figurative) races in no time.

There may be other places that are enclosed – fenced areas, yards, and more that are also ideal for off leash walking with your lurcher, just be sure to look for areas that your dog could escape.

Another benefit of tennis courts is that the fences are too high for dogs to jump over. If you are in a different enclosed place, make sure that your dog cannot jump over the fence. The last thing you want to do is to work hard to find an enclosed space only for your dog to jump the fence!

Some areas also have dog parks, which are areas that dogs can play off leash with other dogs. You may have to pay a fee to join the dog park, and your dog won’t be able to run full speed, but they can get some of that energy out by playing with other energetic pups like they are.

Best Leash Options For Lurchers

Because your dogs can move quickly, they can easily slip a collar if it is too loose. If they don’t but pull really hard, they could get injured. This could damage their throats because of the strength at which they pull or the strength at which you pull them back to try to get them under control.

For that reason, it is recommended to use a harness on your dog to hook your leash too. Your dog can still wear a collar – especially if the collar has a tag on it with identifying information.

As for the leash, you can use a long lead to give your dog a little bit more freedom. You will still be able to control them and not lose them, but they will be able to wander a bit further.

There are flexi leashes, but these can get caught on your dog and cause damage, so if you are walking your dog on a leash, you will want to be careful not to inadvertently harm them during the process.

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Leash Laws

Before you consider taking your dog off leash in a public place, even if it is enclosed, you will want to check your local leash laws to make sure that you aren’t violating any laws by doing so.

There are local mandates that may require dogs to be leashed in public areas, and by removing your dog from its leash, you could be facing legal trouble.

What is a Lurcher?

Lurchers are any types of dogs that are crossed with greyhounds. Because of this, they can be very fast dogs, though you will often get this speed in short bursts. Don’t let that fool you though – that means they can get far away fast before they lose energy.

Lurchers are sighthounds, so they have great eyesight. They can spot prey from a great distance and are stealthy.

They have a strong hunting instinct, and this can kick in when they spot a delicious rabbit or something else that they want to chase. It is hard to distract your lurcher once this instinct kicks in!

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, as fun as it is for your dog to be off its leash, exploring the world at a rush as it runs past at full speed, it is not recommended for several reasons. Your dog, no matter how much training it has, has very strong hunting instincts, if they see something they want to go after, they will.

Rabbits, people, other dogs – anything! If they are off leash, it will be really hard to keep them from taking off. They could get hurt or accidentally hurt someone else as they are trying to get to their target.

There are other solutions that you can help your lurcher to stay off leash, and they include having your dog run in tennis courts, other enclosed spaces, and in dog parks. While your lurcher won’t be able to run at full speed, they will still be able to have fun and burn off energy.

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.