6 May 2013

Lurchers and Tumblers

Kath responded to my post on 4 May 2013 03:41
'I guess you know that lurchers used to known as "Tumblers" years ago.'
Well I didn't and neither did Dad, so I set him on finding out more...

Hi, Bert's Dad here. I was fascinated by your reference to Tumblers Kath, we use the term with Bert because of the way he tumbles into his quarry [his friends] in an attempt to knock them off their feet, little knowing that there was some truth to the description!
So I've done a bit of Googling and found this goldmine of information at http://www.lurchers.org.uk ~ a site "...dedicated to "THE LURCHER & TUMBLER WELFARE & BREED CLUB".
Here's are a few snippets from the history section of the site:
The Lurcher and Tumbler types of athletic hunting dog's function was to provide meat for the cooking pot, by using a combination of stealth, brain, nose agility and speed. They hunted by both scent and sight being more fundamental and ancient than the specialist pure Sighthounds. They have occurred throughout the whole world since time immemorial.
Originally, the same dog would be called a Greyhound or Lurcher depending upon whether owned by a Norman Lord or an outlaw. It is the modern Greyhound which has moved away from the original type by becoming a pure Sighthound sporting dog.
There are no accurate historical references to Lurchers or Tumblers, because their function was illegal and their outlaw masters illiterate...
The descriptions ( because that's what they are) Lurcher and Tumbler originally differentiated between two styles of taking their quarry employed by stealth poaching dogs, whose function was to fill the cooking pot. The penalty for detection was execution for man and dog. Sagacity, loyalty and trainability were indispensable and they resided, out of sight, inside the dwelling as part of the family.
So thanks for the lead Kath, it's great to find out a bit more about this ferocious beast we keep hidden away in the house!


  1. How interesting, thanks for sharing. I also read that a lurcher who did not bark was highly prized, so as not to give away their owners whereabouts. I must say my older dog and my friends lurchers do not bark hardly at all. The old lurchermen developed the rough coated lurcher, like ours, so they could go into the brambles and not get scratched or cut.

    Yes Bertie looks very fierce ha ha

    Love from Ellie and Roobarb (one laying in the sun, one eating lunch in bed!).

  2. That is so interesting. It's amazing what we can find out about our dogs, especially now with the internet.

  3. I didn't know the name tumbler either! Well done Kath for educating us all :)

  4. How interesting especially the part about them being outlaws. Maybe thats why they always look furtive and slinky! I have always loved lurchers and its after searching for a dog that looked like mine (Scruffy) after he died that I ended up with Spinoni (very different I know, but still scraggy and scruffy!!) Lily. xxx