Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, and Show Preparation
By William D. Drury 1903
(Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound in collaboration with R Hood Wright and G. W. H ickman)
THE IRISH WOLFHOUND
Probably no dog has been the subject of so much contention or misapprehension as Ireland's historic hound. This has been due in great part to the exaggerated statements respecting the size to which it, in some instances, attained. Its early history is also enshrouded in mystery, and we are apparently, in the twentieth century, no nearer a satisfactory solution of it than we were in the seventeenth and even earlier times. Oliver Goldsmith, who was not distinguished, as a naturalist, by strict accuracy, was certainly very far wrong in stating that the Irish Wolfhound attained to a height of 4ft., as we measure dogs and horses—that is, from the ground to the level of the top of the shoulders; though a tall, long-necked, and long-headed dog, with his snout held pointing up in air, might reach very near that height. That, however, would be a totally misleading way of taking and stating the dog's height.
Doubtless the size of the Irish Wolfhound has also been exaggerated by the use of loose expressions; but that he was the giant of his race, so far as these islands are concerned, there appears to be very good grounds for believing. That there should have been, by many, a strong desire entertained to save from utter extinction so noble a breed, is most natural. The astonishing matter is that so few persons comparatively have taken practical steps towards its resuscitation, for if the breed did not altogether cease to exist early in the eighteenth century, it went dangerously near to extinction. That much even its most enthusiastic admirer, Captain Graham himself, admits when, in the previous Edition of this work, he says: "That in its original integrity it has apparently disappeared cannot be disputed; yet there can be little doubt that so much of the true breed is forthcoming, both' in the race still known in Ireland as the Irish Wolfhound (to be met with, however, in one or two places only) and in our modern Deerhound, as to allow of its complete recovery in its pristine grandeur, with proper management, in judicious hands." It is easy to see from this the theory of Captain Graham with regard to the breed; but whether or not there really existed a sufficiency of the original blood on which to rebuild the breed " in all its pristine grandeur," is still a vexed question. We have not the space to enter into all the interesting points that Captain Graham raises in his well-thought-out monograph. Here we are chiefly concerned with the dog as we know it now, rather than as it was some centuries ago. Before, however, leaving this part of the subject, we will quote another passage or two that Captain Graham has written in support of his theory that in the modern Deerhound lives the Irish Wolfhound of old:—
"That we have in the Deerhound the modern representative of the old Irish dog is patent; though of less stature, less robust, and of slimmer form, the main characteristics of the original breed remain, and, in very exceptional instances, specimens 'crop up' that throw back to, and resemble in a marked manner, the old stock from which they have sprung. For instance, the dog well known at all the leading shows as Champion Torunn (now for some years lost to sight), although requiring a somewhat lighter ear and still more massive proportions, combined with greater stature, evidently approximated more nearly to his distant ancestors than to his immediate ones. The matter of ear alluded to here is probably only a requirement called for by modern and more refined tastes, as it is hardly likely that any very high standard as to quality or looks, was ever aimed at or reached by our remote ancestors in any breed of dogs. Strength, stature, and fleetness were the points most carefully cultivated—at any rate, as regards those dogs used in the pursuit and capture of large and fierce game.
It is somewhat remarkable that, whilst we have accounts of almost all the noted breeds, including the Irish Wolfhound, there is no allusion to any such dog as the Deerhound, save in writings of a comparatively recent date.
The article or essay on the Irish Wolfhound written by Richardson in 1842 is, it is supposed, the only one on this subject in existence; and whilst it is evident to the reader of it that the subject has been most ably treated and thoroughly sifted, yet some of the writer's conclusions, if not erroneous, are at least open to question. It is a matter of history that this dog was of very ancient origin, being well known to, and highly prized by, the Romans, who frequently used him for their combats in the arena; and also that he was retained at home, in a certain degree of purity, to within a comparatively recent period, when, owing to the extinction of wolves, and, presumably, to the indifference and carelessness of owners, this most superb and valuable breed of dog was unaccountably suffered to fall into a very neglected and degenerate state.
From the general tenor of old accounts we have of this dog's dimensions and appearance, it is to be gathered that he was of considerably greater stature than any known race existing at present, and, apparently, more than equal to the destruction of the wolf.
It is an incontestable fact that the Domestic dog, when used for the pursuit of ferocious animals, should be invariably larger, and apparently more powerful, than his quarry, as the fierce nature, roving habits, and food of the wild animal, render him usually more than a match for his domesticated enemy if only of equal size and stature. We know that the Russian Wolfhound, the equal in stature to the wolf, will attack him single-handed; but he ought not to be allowed to do so, as he would almost invariably be worsted in the combat.
The Irish Wolfhound, being used for both the capture and despatch of the wolf, would necessarily have been of Greyhound conformation, besides being of enormous power. A heavy dog, such as a Mastiff, would be equal to the destruction of a wolf when caught; but to obtain a dog with Greyhound speed and the strength of the Mastiff, it would stand to reason that his stature should considerably exceed that of the Mastiff—one of our tallest as well as most powerful breeds. The usual height of the Mastiff does not exceed 30m. ; and, arguing as above, we may reasonably conclude that, to obtain the requisite combination of speed and power, a height of at least 33m. would have to be reached. Many writers, however, put the stature of the Irish Wolfhound down as far exceeding that."
Mr. G. W. Hickman, who has equally devoted time and ability to an examination of the subject, suggests that—
"There is not a particle of direct evidence to identify the Irish Wolfhound with the Deerhound, and such evidence as we have goes in the opposite direction. Until some time in the 'thirties' of the past century all the naturalists who described or depicted the Irish Wolfhound concurred in representing it as an animal of a certain kind, both in their descriptions and their pictures. But about the time mentioned, a Mr. Hatfield, who appears to have been prompted by that desire for starting new theories and demolishing old-standing beliefs which actuates men of science, read a paper before one of the Dublin philosophical societies, in which he departed from all existing ideas, and enunciated views which suggested—as it seems—to Richardson his enlarged Deerhound theory. Richardson, who admits that he had previously entertained the orthodox views, in accordance with the existing evidence, appears to have had an accommodating mind, and to have considered that evidence equally applicable to 'the new departure,' which he hastened to advocate. The theory of Richardson and his followers is merely one of conjecture and inference. The practice of these writers has been to start with a theory, and to adapt their evidence to it, instead of deducing their theory from the existing evidence. They pick out such passages as suit their views, with more or less of misquotation, draw their own inferences from them, and totally ignore all the authorities that are opposed to them.
No doubt what first suggested the identification of the Irish Wolfdog with the Deerhound was Macpherson's 'Ossian,' and the accounts in the Fingalian legends of the marvellous doings of the hero's 'white-breasted,' 'hairy-footed' Bran, and others. As Ireland claimed some common property in this legend, Irish amour propre seized the idea of associating with their already extinct and almost mythological Wolfdog—as harmonising with his traditional gigantic size—all the glamour and poetical colouring belonging to the dogs of 'Ossian.' But as it is a matter of doubt with some 'if'—as Gibbon says—' we can with safety indulge the pleasing supposition that Fingal lived and Ossian sung,' there is no value in such an argument; and even granting that there is foundation for those legends, it is absurd to draw any conclusions as to the gigantic character of the dogs from the poetical exaggerations of mere legends; whilst their rough coats would only be an instance of the 'local colouring' supplied by the bards from the dogs they were accustomed to, as no one disputes that the Deerhound, or rough Greyhound, was a common dog enough in olden times. The Ossianic argument may therefore be put aside."
Having given some opinions of the two principal modern writers upon the early history of the Irish Wolfhound, the one a supporter of the theory that the ancient dog survives in a modified form in the Scottish Deerhound, and the other a great opponent of such a theory, we now pass on to the writings of a still more recent date— 1897. In that year an Irishman, the Rev. E. Hogan, issued an interesting little work entitled "The Irish Wolfdog."* This gentleman's opinions in the main coincide with those of Captain Graham, though the arguments in support of them are not always very conclusive. In tracing the descent of the modern Wolfdog, he writes :—
"Friend and foe say he has the Highland Deerhound strain. Now, the Deerhound has the old Irish Wolfdog blood. Therefore the modern Wolfdog has it also. . . . Taking for granted that the Irish Wolfdogs and Scotch Deerhounds were the largest, most notable, and among the most ancient dogs of their respective countries, I say, whereas it is certain (1) that the Irish conquered Scotland centuries ago, and (2) that they took their wolf, boar, and deer-hunting Greyhounds with them, it follows that the Scotch Deerhounds are descended from these Irish dogs. . . . Centuries ago Irish warriors, then called Scots, conquered and colonised Caledonia, gave their name and language and its kings to that country, and kept up a long and constant communication with Ireland. . . . Now, these Irish warriors came from a land famous for deer-hunting, as Bede informs us, the inhabitants of which were ardent in the chase of stags and wolves. . . . Being hunters, then, those warriors took their big Greyhounds with them to 'Caledonia stern and wild,' and kept up the breed for hunting, being able through their close connection with Ireland for centuries to import dogs from thence if necessary. In that case, as the wolf-hunting Greyhound of the seventeenth century was descended from the dogs that remained in Ireland, so the Deerhound was descended from the old Irish dogs that were exported. Hence we find that the Highland Deerhounds were called Irish Greyhounds, as the Highlanders are called Irish (Gaels) and their language Irish (Gaelic)."
* "The History of the Irish Wolfdog," by the Rev. Edmund Hogan, S.J. (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son).
The opinions above quoted by no means exhaust those put forth with regard to the early history of the breed by the more modern writers. With the exception perhaps of Richardson (of whom Captain Graham is a disciple), who wrote in the "forties," they may be regarded as the chief.
If we look for enlightenment in the writings of the older authors, we find little; indeed, rather is it a case of confusion worse confounded. In some descriptions seem grossly exaggerated; while in others they are lacking in those essential details that, if forthcoming, would have helped us with greater accuracy to piece together the unwoven threads of history. Take, for instance, the coat, which is one of the most debatable of all points in connection with the hound. Was it a rough or a smooth coat? The weight of evidence is in support of the latter. Nor is there more unanimity among, or greater assistance from, the artists of the time. Bewick depicts a smooth dog, as did Lambart some four years later; but whereas the former shows a dog of Greyhound type, the latter's depiction more closely approximates to the Mastiff. Reinagle, a Royal Academician and a contemporary of Bewick, illustrates in the "Sportsman's Cabinet " a dog that is quite out of harmony with the description, which applies to a Great Dane-like animal. It must, however, be confessed that Reinagle's picture (Fig. 35) accords more with the popular creation of the Irish Wolfdog than anything that we know. It has been suggested that Reinagle's is a fanciful creation rather than a representative picture of the Wolfhound of the time—a time, be it noted, that accords with that in which Lord Altamount's dogs were supposed to be in existence.
By some the Irish Wolfhound is thought to have disappeared with the last Irish wolf—somewhere about 1710; but in a work on "Canine Madness," by Dr. James, and published in 1733, he refers specifically to an Irish Wolfhound of uncommon size. The dog attacked his owner's child, and would have killed it but that he wore a garland; this, the author explains, consisted of two cross-hoops, that were hung before a dog's fore legs to prevent him from sheepworrying or being otherwise mischievous.
Whether the modern Irish Wolfhound is to be regarded in the future as containing sufficient of the blood of the old Wolfdog to be considered but a resuscitation, or whether it is to be judged in the light of a new creation (and we are personally of this opinion), will probably never be satisfactorily determined. One thing, however, is certain—that to Captain Graham, of Rednock, Dursley, belongs the chief credit of either creating or resuscitating the breed. This he began in 1862 with the two hounds Faust and Old Donagh, the latter bred by Mr. Baker, of Ballyrotune Castle, Kilkenny.
Other dogs that played an important part in the resuscitation were Young Donagh, Islay, Swaren I., Brenda, Oscar, Wolf, and Torunn. In the process Great Dane, Deerhound, and later Russian Wolfhound blood have commingled with what is supposed to have remained of the original Irish Wolfhound, and the dog as we know it to-day has been gradually evolved, though close upon half a century has been occupied in the work. Even now the Irish Wolfhound Club and those outside its pale that are interested in the breed, cannot afford to rest upon their oars. There is yet a great deal more to be done before that uniformity of type so desirable in any breed is obtained. One is impressed with these divergencies of type at each gathering where these magnificent hounds are brought together in any number, and probably this will continue until the rival sections of the Fancy are united in a common cause and one type only is recognised. If one looks carefully at the family tree of the majority of present-day champions the particular blood favoured will be at once apparent, and it is this probably that is responsible for the difficulty experienced also in the rearing of present-day whelps. To stamp the progeny with the chief characteristics of the Brian II. type of dog considerable in-breeding has been resorted to this last five or six years, and with the inevitable result in such cases—weakness of constitution. Many Irish Wolfhound breeders swear by the O'Leary type of hound in preference to Brian II., but the infirmity that the former suffered from probably prevented the dog being used as much at stud as he otherwise would. At the present time there are not lacking plenty of splendid material on which to set to work and still further perfect the magnificent hound that Captain Graham, Colonel Gamier, Mr. Crisp, Mr. Hood Wright, the Hon. Miss Dillon, Mr. Angelo, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Compton, Mrs. Gerard, and a few others have worked so assiduously for.
We will now consider the Irish Wolfhound as a companion and personal guard, as the day has long passed since he can be utilised for any other purpose in these islands. He may, perhaps, be casually employed in other countries as a big-game dog; but in hot countries, whatever his suitability as regards activity and courage, he probably would not be able to live the year through. In India, at any rate, the closely allied Scottish Deerhound has often been tried, and though for a part of the season the sportsman has found him useful, yet when the hot weather arrives the dog has had to migrate from the plains to the hill country: And this doubtless would be necessary in the case of his bigger relative the Irish Wolfhound.
As a companion and personal guard we hold this hound in high repute, and for either a lady or a gentleman he is eminently suitable. Dignified and quiet of manner, though of immense strength, may truthfully be written of the Irish Wolfhound; added to which he boasts an excellent temperament. As is the case with all the Greyhound family, they are big dogs but not bulky ones, and they may therefore be kept where the St. Bernard, Mastiff, and suchlike huge-framed varieties could not be tolerated. We have often known the dog brought up in a house " quite as one of the family," and any one who has noticed an Irish Wolfhound "curled up" on he rug or under the table cannot fail to be struck with the comparatively little room that he then occupies.
For following a trap, if the pace be not too great or the distance too long, the Irish Wolfhound is admirably suited; while he is one of the very few breeds that may be taken by a lady cyclist on a lonely road. In fact, we can conceive no better dog for a lady's companion than a really well trained, good-tempered specimen. Our only wonder is that a dog having so many good qualities has not found a more numerous following. Doubtless some of this
lack of appreciation of the breed is due to the fact that, so far as outward appearances go, the Irish Wolfhound, as judged by the "man in the street," has none of the personal attractions that go such a long way towards "making" a breed; nor has he been "boomed" to anything like the extent that some breeds have. Where good qualities lie hidden under a somewhat rugged exterior it is always a difficult and uphill task to get the merits of a variety properly recognised. It is this undoubtedly that in a great measure has helped to keep the Irish Wolfhound in the background. The more's the pity. His day will, however, assuredly come. Forty years of patient work in connection with the evolution of the breed have been absorbed, and with little monetary reward for those who have laboured so long. Still, breeders have manfully stuck to their recreated or regenerated animal, and at the present day are even more enthusiastic over the noble hound than they were in the early "sixties." Fig. 36 is an excellent type of present-day Irish Wolfhound, and a great winner upon the show-bench.
It has already been suggested that the Irish Wolfhound makes an excellent companion and guard. The variety, however, is not one to be confined to a lonely backyard, chained to an apology for a kennel. With this and similar breeds the chain should be practically unknown, save that the hound, like any other, should be acquainted with both collar and chain. No young puppy should ever be chained if straight limbs and decent body-conformation are sought. Plenty of exercise is required for all the members of the Greyhound family, and road-walking exercise is especially beneficial for hardening the pads. If, in addition to this, young dogs can have access to a meadow, preferably with a hill, this will soon develop them to the full.
The kennels should be well positioned, roomy, light, and well ventilated. If a range of kennels be not required and a nice loose box is vacant, this will make a capital home for the average Wolfhound when it is necessary to restrict him in any way. The more, however, that such a dog, when required as a companion and guard, is allowed to associate with the owner and his family, the more useful is it likely to become. Seclusion and chaining, when carried to excess, either mean a savage or a broken-spirited animal—the one a nuisance and a source of danger, and the other a canine fool.
Although with all large breeds it is most desirable to start with a puppy, yet the novice would do well not to purchase one that is too young. As a matter of fact, the Irish Wolfhound up to the age of four or five months is more than ordinarily delicate or susceptible to certain ailments incidental to that period of a young dog's life. Distemper, and the complications that follow, claim a good many victims. It will, therefore, be politic to look out for a puppy that is some six months old. Breeders of repute always have in their kennels puppies which, while they just miss being show specimens, nevertheless make first-class companions and guards. The Irish Wolfhound is not mature until two years old.
The Irish Wolfhound is another of the varieties of British dog that vary much in colour as puppies. They may not show such a marked.difference as do the Airedale or the Yorkshire, but it is sufficiently so to be worth recording. We have it on no less an authority than Mr. Hood Wright that the really blues are born black, while the slates are born that colour. There is always a tendency, he says, for them to get lighter. In support of this he instances the case of his old bitch Champion Selwood Callach. She was as black as her brother Champion Selwood Dhouran at birth; at the age of six months she was a medium shade of fawn grizzle, while her brother remained black. Mr. Hood Wright also states that he has known of a case of a red-fawn dog (but one with a blue skin) that after he had attained the age of two years became a blue. The dog was sold as a fawn, but the next time that the late owner met the animal he was an undoubtedly natural blue.
In selecting a puppy, the head-points, as noted below, should be carefully considered, especially as to length, position, and size of ears. The head as a whole must not promise to be too Deerhoundy on the one hand, or Great Dane-like on the other. Other points that should be looked for are a deep chest, straight legs, large, rounded feet, a long neck, and of course a well-arched loin.
Of late Irish Wolfhound type has been freely criticised in the Press, and the more practical fanciers have advocated a readjustment of points, as it were, with a view to strengthening those characteristics that appear weak. With that end in view a most commonsense letter appeared in Our Dogs over the simple nam de guerre of " Breeder." In it the writer not only suggests a suitable scale of point-values for the breed, but also gives an idea of how an ideal hound should be made up. The description therein given so closely accords with our own that we give it for the benefit of those that are beginning :—
Height, 34m.; weight, 140Ib.; girth, Min. ; head, 14m., avoiding the broad forehead, and with strong muzzle. Eyes small and dark. Ears neatly tucked and cocked. Body long, deep, and supple. Tail long and lashing. Neck clean and arched. Hocks well let down, and without a suspicion of "cow." Legs like parallel rulers. Coat rough and wiry. Beard and eyebrows plentiful. Colour, any met with in the Uccrhound. Muscular all over, of course.
The Irish Wolfhound boasts an excellent club to watch over its interests, and the following is the description of the breed as drawn up by that body :—
General Appearance.—The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble. Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity.
The Minimum Height and Weight of dogs should be 3lin. and I20lb.; of bitches 28in. and 90Ib. Anything below this should be debarred from competition. Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average from 32m. to 34m. in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage, and symmetry.
Head.—Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised, and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle long and moderately pointed. Ears small and Greyhound-like in carriage.
Neck.—Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap, or loose skin about the throat.
Chest. —Very deep. Breast wide.
Back.—Rather long than short. Loins arched.
Tail.—Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.
Belly —Well drawn up.
Forequarters.—Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.
Leg.—Fore-arm muscular, and the whole leg strong and quite straight.
Hindquarters.—Muscular thighs and second thigh long and strong as in the Greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.
Feet.—Moderately large and round, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Toes well arched and closed. Nails very strong and curved.
Hair.—Rough and hard on body, legs, and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw.
Colour and Markings.—The recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any colour that appears in the Deerhound. [Captain Graham states that he has seen several perfectly black-and-tan Deerhounds ]
Faults.—Too light or heavy a head, too highly arched frontal bone, large ears and hanging flat to the face ; short neck ; full dewlap; too narrow or too broad a chest; sunken or hollow or quite straight back; bent fore legs ; overbent fetlocks; twisted feet ; spreading toes ; too curly a tail ; weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle; too short in body.
The following scale of point-values have been suggested by "Breeder" in the paper above named :—
THE SCOTCH DEERHOUND
From his superior size and rough coat the Deerhound has a more imposing appearance' than his refined brother the Greyhound, and many would place him at the head of the family. He is frequently referred to as the Staghound. It is well to note this, to prevent confusion, as in England the Staghound is a totally different dog, hunting by scent alone, and often simply a large Foxhound. He is also named the Rough Greyhound, and the Northern, or Fleethound.
Blome, writing of the various hounds of his time, after describing the deep-mouthed hound, says: "For the Northern, or Fleet-hound, his head and nose ought to be slenderer and longer, his back broad, his belly gaunt, his joynts long, and his ears thicker and shorter— in a word, he is in all parts slighter made, and framed after the mould of a Greyhound." It is, however, uncertain whether Blome here meant to describe the Deerhound, or the light-built and swift Foxhound of the North, which, by comparison with the slow, deeptongued, Southern hound, approached to the Greyhound form.
In that much-valued work the "Sportsman's Cabinet" no mention is made of the Scotch Deerhound, and the Staghound described and illustrated by Reinagle is a pure modern Foxhound.
Richardson, a well-known authority on dogs, writing nearly sixty years ago, gave it as his opinion that the Irish Wolfhound was the ancestor of the Highland Deerhound, an opinion not by any means well supported; this question, however, is discussed at some length in the chapter on the Irish Wolfhound. Equally open to doubt are the crosses suggested by some as having been resorted to in order to prevent the Deerhound from dying out—and particularly those of the Foxhound and Bloodhound.
In treating of the Deerhound, "Stonehenge," who is usually careful and accurate, says: "On carefully examining the description given by Arrian, no one can doubt that the dog of his day was rough in his coat, and in all respects like the present Scotch dog." On the contrary, Arrian is very clear on this point, showing he was well acquainted with both varieties, for he says: "The hair, whether the dog be of the rough or smooth sort," etc. This is quoted in support of the views of a common origin for all the members of this group. "Idstone" is "inclined to think it is an imported breed"; but he gives no reason for thinking so, and declares it "is one of the oldest breeds we have."
Sir Walter Scott did much to draw attention to the breed, and the description of the Deerhound he puts in the mouth of the Knight of Gilsland has never been equalled, and no article on the breed is complete without it: "A most perfect creature of heaven; of the old Northern breed—deep in the chest, strong in the stern, black colour, and brindled on the breast and legs, not spotted with white, but just shaded into grey—strength to pull down a Gull, swiftness to cote an antelope."
Of present-day writers none are better qualified to speak than Mr. G. W. H ickman, who has devoted so many years to the practical study of the race as a breeder and judge, and whose literary tastes have naturally led him to make, in addition, a study of its history.
Mr. Hickman's contribution to the last Edition of this work was one of the most interesting and instructive of the many to be found. It combined the historical and the practical in a manner not always, or indeed often, associated. The time that has elapsed since it was published has brought about some slight modifications and changes for the better in the breed as a whole; but Mr. Hickman's advice and words of warning are as sound and necessary now as they were then. We therefore unhesitatingly reproduce as much of the original article as our more restricted space will allow.
"The thing to be feared in connection with the Scottish Deerhound is that the breed, as its use gradually dies out in the Highlands, may lose all its character and quality, and thus be theorised into extinction.
Of late years many men have bred solely for size, and trusted to Providence for quality. The outcome of this has been that we have had on the show-bench animals wanting in all the grace, elegance, and symmetry which should characterise the Deerhound; with big, heavy heads, bulging out at the eyes; with blunt muzzles, nearly as thick at the nose as just in front of the eyes; with big, heavy, drooping ears, often heavily coated and fringed in addition; and with a large but overgrown and weak-looking frame and coarse but doubtful-looking limbs.
I do not say that most of our show dogs have been of this kind, but we have had several notable instances, whose success has been perplexing and disheartening to those who have kept the Deerhound for his proper work, and whose occasional patronage of shows has thus been alienated. This is the more to be regretted, as the use of the Deerhound in his native country is decreasing day by day; and in this fact we come to another of the chief causes which have been prejudicial to the breed, and will be still more so unless care be taken not to lose sight of the purpose for which it was used. As soon as the Deerhound begins to be regarded solely as a show dog, then will the breed be in imminent danger of losing its character; but as long as an animal is bred and used for a practical purpose, so long can reference be made to the product which is found best suited to such requirements.
'Man,' says Darwin, 'closely imitates natural selection'; that is, man in breeding Greyhounds for coursing, Deerhounds for deerstalking, and St. Bernards for use in the snow, selects and breeds from those specimens only which are likely to produce the requisite combination of qualities for his purpose. Thus each product becomes, as far as it can be, a naturally perfect animal for the designed purpose, inasmuch as there is always being applied the infallible criterion of utility and experience to test the results. In each case, mere appearance or outward form has not been the primary consideration with the breeder—the essential qualities are what he aims at; but, finding that those qualities are associated with certain outward characteristics, he is guided by the latter in his selection of breeding specimens. So each breed settles down into a uniform type, and this is maintained by the most rigid of all examiners—experience.
At this point, perhaps, in steps the fancier, or, the man who takes up the breed rather from its appearance than its practical qualities. At first he accepts what he finds, and does not get far away from the proper type; but presently, as he has no other means of testing his results, he lays down certain rules or points for his guidance, and very often attaches undue importance to some one of these that readily strikes the eye, forcing it unduly to the expense of, and out of its proper relation to, the rest; and as he does not apply the touchstone of a practical trial in its proper vocation to his production, he errs more and more in the direction of his arbitrary requirements, and the breed loses that harmony of combined qualities which constituted its original 'character,' and which had been kept in due relation by practical requirements.
That the Deerhound has suffered considerably from a mania for size is only too certain, and that it will suffer more yet is to be feared, unless judges will set their faces against allowing themselves to be influenced by mere size and bulk. In proof of my assertion, subjoined is an extract from a letter received, some quarter of a century ago, from a gentleman who bred and exhibited some of the best specimens when shows were in their infancy:
'Some twenty years ago, before shows began, there were two or three owners of the breed, and a few dogs might be called pure. The late Duke of Leeds had as pure blood of the old breed as any one. After shows were the fashion, great size, at the expense of other qualities, was considered necessary, and lately there has been much resort to crossing. I am an advocate for size myself, but speed must not be sacrificed to it. If you desire a true guide to tell whether a dog has been crossed, look at his ear first. If that is Small, and lies folded close to his head, like a Greyhound's, I should consider that a very great point in his favour as to his purity; but if his ears droop, and are large, no matter what his size and appearance were, I should be quite certain he had a cross somewhere. I consider size and shape before colour, and the purest dogs of old time had little white upon them—the less the better on the feet and legs; but colour is always a superficial matter, and can always be regulated as the breeder chooses. Size and Form, especially combining strength and great speed, are far more difficult to obtain.'
I can commend every word of the foregoing to the careful consideration of every admirer of the Deerhound, especially those with regard to the ear, as close observation has convinced me of their perfect truth, as I have invariably noticed, in those strains which have been notoriously crossed within a recent period, that, though they might pass muster in other respects, they had large, heavy, hanging ears.
As regards the size required in the Deerhound for work in the Highlands, there seems to be no doubt that a dog over 30m. at the shoulder would be useless. Indeed, one authority, whose family claim to have kept the purest breed in the Highlands, solely for work, for upwards of the last sixty years, puts the height at 26m. up to 28in. He says: 'Larger dogs may be good enough for racing, but for hard work, so far as my experience has gone, I always found an ordinary sized dog do his work much better.'
The following opinions of the two greatest authorities that could be produced, Lochiel and Horatio Ross, Esq., must convince even those who, by their arguments and aims, seem to think that the Deerhound can never be too large for his work. The former observes: 'Personally, I do not like dogs over 30m., and prefer them between 28m. and 30in. They get too coarse at a great height, and quite useless for real work. Great size too often depends on feeding, and if thus produced gives a coarse and soft dog, quite unsuited for the purpose for which he is intended.' The latter states, that for deerstalking a height of ' 28m. to 30m. is ample. A very large dog is never a good dog; he gets beat going up hill.' What is the use of theory against opinions like these?
The late Lieut.-Colonel Inge, who for many years possessed one of the most extensive deer forests in Scotland, and whose kennel of Deerhounds fetched large prices on their disposal at Aldridge's many years ago, was of the same opinion, and informed my father that large dogs were useless for deerstalking. I have had personal knowledge of five kennels of Deerhounds, kept for work alone in the Highlands, and from all connected with them I have always heard the same opinion expressed as to the uselessness of the very large dogs. In the case of three noted show dogs of late years, all about 31 in. high, and of another that created a sensation in America, I was informed by each of their owners that they were parted with because they were too big for work in the Highlands—and not one exceeded 31 in. at the shoulder, and three of them were symmetrical, and well made for big dogs. These three were (Old) Torunn, Bran (1st prize, Crystal Palace, 1872), and Sir Boriss. The remaining one was never exhibited in England. It will be recollected, perhaps, that McNeil's Buskar, the largest of the dogs which took part in the deer course described in the Appendix to Scrope's 'Deerstalking,' was only 28m. in height. Those who wish to see the original of Landseer's sketch will find it in the Bell Collection in the National Gallery. The animal certainly looks rather light in substance, but it is fair to call to mind that McNeil, referring to it, stated that the portrait scarcely gave a correct idea of the muscle and bone of the original; and this must have been so, as the dog girthed 32m., or 4m. more than its height, and few Deerhounds exceed, or attain to, this proportionate depth of chest. McNeil's dogs, as is well known, were used for coursing the deer in the Island of Jura, and from the very fact of the place being an island, the practice was not subject to the disadvantages which it would have been on the mainland, by driving the deer far away. Now, if McNeil's dogs, which did not exceed 28in. in height, were equal to the task of coursing and pulling down a cold (i.e. unwounded) stag, it seems reasonable to infer that a larger dog could hardly be necessary for deerstalking where it was only, or chiefly, used for the purpose of retrieving the wounded deer.
From the above remarks and authorities it will be gathered that very large dogs are of little use in deerstalking. It must not, however, be supposed that I would necessarily confine the show Deerhound within the same limits. Everyone likes a fine, upstanding dog, and a little extra height may, perhaps, be tolerated in a show dog; but what is deprecated is the awarding of a prize to a dog simply and solely because he is large, coarse, and bulky—in fact, for the very and only reason that he possesses those qualities which would entirely unfit him for the purpose which his names implies. Personally, I think dogs of 30in. tall enough for anything; and that, instead of trying to raise them beyond this, the efforts of breeders would be more usefully directed to improving their quality, and obtaining the requisite combination of strength and speed.
The causes of the disuse of the Deerhound in the Highlands are, as is pretty well known, the greater precision of modern rifles, and the great demand for, and consequent sub-division of, deer forests and shootings. Years ago, when the large Highland proprietors, or chieftains, held their vast tracks in their own possession, before they had begun to realise what a gold mine their barren hills and wild expanse of heather contained, it mattered little how much the deer were disturbed or how far they were driven. But now that forests, by subdivision, have become far more numerous, and as nothing frightens away deer more than chasing them with Deerhounds, the use of the latter has died away, and, indeed, is prohibited in many leases.
Another circumstance which threatens to seriously injure and coarsen the Deerhound is the modern craze that seeks to identify the Irish Wolfhound, long extinct, with a gigantic Deerhound. To attain the required standard, the Deerhound has been crossed with various large breeds, even, I believe, with the St. Bernard; but the results have not been satisfactory, as, though bulk and coarseness have been obtained, the height does not appear to have been increased. Some of the animals thus bred have found their way on to the show-bench as Deerhounds, and will certainly, with their mixed blood, do no good to the breed if they transmit the qualities for which themselves are conspicuous.
Having now seen what the Deerhound, in my opinion, was not, let us see what he is. He is doubtless the tall, rough Greyhound of ancient days, appointed, as Holinshed says, to hunt the larger beasts, such as stags and the like, and probably at one time as common in England as in Scotland. The disappearance of the larger animals in a wild state from'England at such an early period contrasted with Scotland would account for his being found in the latter country so long a time after he had totally died away here. There can, indeed, be no doubt, from the accounts of Caius and Holinshed, and those we get from others, that large 'shagg-haired' Greyhounds were used in England. This affords another inference against the theory of Richardson, for, if the Irish dog had been no more than a large, rough Greyhound, it would not have been in any way remarkable. It was clearly a specific animal, peculiar to Ireland, which merely rough Greyhounds evidently were not. The Russian Wolfhound is an analogous example of the tall, rough Greyhound of ancient days, yet I have never heard it claimed as an Irish Wolfdog.
Captain Graham, in 'The Book of the Dog,' says the earliest record of the Deerhound is that given by Pennant, in 1769, and elsewhere he founds thereon one of the chief inferences for his Wolfdog theory, 'that, whilst we have accounts of all the noticeable breeds from a remote period, including the Irish Wolfdog, we do not find any allusion to the Deerhound, save in writings of a comparatively modern date, which in a measure justify us in supposing that the Deerhound is the modern representative of that superb animal.' Now, if my theory is correct that the Deerhound is simply the tall, rough Greyhound used for hunting the larger game, this apparent want of allusion is explained, as we have plenty of references to such Greyhounds. It is remarkable that, to this day, the Deerhound is often called 'a Greyhound' by the Highlanders. A gentleman informed me, some years ago, that his forester always used the term 'Greyhound,' and I have letters from gentlemen in the Highlands in which the terms Greyhound, Staghound, and Deerhound are used indifferently; in fact, Deerhound is a term even now far less in use than Staghound.
We cannot, therefore, feel surprised if we do not meet the term 'Deerhound ' in old times, when we get mention of the Greyhound under the term of Highland Greyhound, or its equivalent. The 'Irish Greyhounds' mentioned by Taylor, in 1620, were most certainly Deerhounds; but, to save any quibbling on terms, I will now proceed to show that the specific word 'Deerhound' was used long ago, before any degeneracy from the Wolfdog can be supposed. In Pitscottie's 'History of Scotland,' published about 1600, occurs the following passage: 'The king (a.d. 1528) desired all gentlemen that had dogges that war guid to bring thame to hunt in the saidis boundis, quhilk the most pairt of the noblemen of the Highlandis did, sick as the Earles of Huntlie, Argyle, and Athol, who brought their deir houndis with thame and hunted with his majestic'
This authority is decisive, and completely shatters the last possible remnant of the chief argument for the identification of the Irish Wolfdog with the Deerhound. The inference that both were the same is met by the irresistible fact that the Irish dog was imported into Scotland when the Deerhound existed in large numbers, and at a period when it cannot have degenerated. The further inference of the Richardsonians, that with a change of occupation came a change of name, and that the name Deerhound was not used until very late times, when the Wolfdog had degenerated into the Deerhound, is shown to be utterly unfounded by the fact of the use of the name Deerhound three hundred years ago. The last pretence for such an inference is now destroyed.
In modern times the breed of Mr. Menzies, of Chesthill, is doubtless the oldest strain we have note of. A gentleman who knows the district well, and purchased a dog called Ossian at Menzies of Chesthill's sale some years ago, informed the writer that the family claimed to have had the breed pure for one hundred years. Ossian is the grandsire of my Champion Cuchullin.
Next in point of antiquity would come the strain of Mr. Grant, of Glenmoriston, for Captain Basil Hall, who described his dogs in 1848, and who therefore saw them, probably, a year or so before, mentions that Mr. Grant had kept the breed thirty years, which would take us back to about 1815 or so. I have never seen Captain Basil Hall referred to in relation to the Deerhound, though his account is highly interesting. He states that the first dog Glenmoriston had was sent him by Captain Macdonald, of Moray in the Braes of Lochaber. Having heard of a pure and beautiful bitch, celebrated for her great courage and lasting power, then the property of Mr. Mackenzie, of Applecross, Glenmoriston suggested to him that one of them should keep up the breed. Mr. Mackenzie declined, and the bitch became domiciled at Invermoriston, from which period—then about forty years ago—the breed had remained uncontaminated in those parts. Captain Hall then remarks that he had since learnt that Glenmoriston had relinquished the breed to Mr. E. Ellis, of Glengarry.
The breed of McNeil of Colonsay, described in Scrope's work in 1839, would be the next one of which we have any account. His dogs have been already described.
It may here be mentioned that Captain Hall states that he had two Glenmoriston dogs, and one from another source, and that he gave one to a friend in Ireland. It was, perhaps, some of the descendants of this latter dog that Captain Graham's friend mistook for Wolfdogs in the early part of the 'Forties' of this century. At all events, we see that Deerhounds had been sent to Ireland.
General Hugh Ross and Colonel David Ross had also a fine kennel in Glenmoidart some years ago, the remains of which, including Oscar, winner of first prize Birmingham in 1865 and 1866, passed into the hands of their relative Major Robertson, who, unfortunately, lost the stud records. I have no very distinct recollection of Oscar, but he has been described to me by the breeder of Morni—whose sire Oscar was—as a dog not over large, but with grand hindquarters and thorough Deerhound character. Colonel Campbell, of Monzie, was also noted for his kennel of Deerhounds some thirty years or more ago. I never saw but one actually bred by Monzie—an elegant yellow dog, called Rob, exhibited by Mrs. Cameron Campbell, at Birmingham, in 1870, good sized, and with plenty of character. Monzie's Gruamach, the sire of Lochiel's Torunn (afterwards belonging to Mr. Musters) and Pirate, is perhaps the best known of this strain. He was, doubtless, a very fine dog, and I may perhaps be permitted to mention, without being charged with egotism, that I was informed by a gentleman who has kept Deerhounds for work for nearly thirty years, and who was well acquainted with Monzie's dogs, and bred from them, that Gruamach and Morni were the two finest Deerhounds he had ever seen. The same gentleman informed me—horresco referens—that Gruamach, in his old age, was killed and eaten by his kennel companions! This is the worst blot on the Deerhound's character that I ever knew, and is almost incredible. In conversation, some years after, with the kennelman who had charge of the dogs at the time, he repeated the circumstance, with particulars. It appears that Gruamach had been the master of the kennel so long, that his younger companions rose one night in a body against his tyranny, and treated him as I have described.
Perhaps the happiest hit ever known in breeding show Deerhounds was made by my friend Mr. Pershouse Parkes when he sent Brenda, the own sister to Morni, to Mr. Musters's Torunn. The one litter contained such noted dogs as Mr. Musters's Torunn (the Younger), Mr. H. P. Parkes's champion bitch Teeldar, Lord St. Leonard's Hylda, and Mr. Lewis's Meg, all great winners on the show-bench at Birmingham and the other large shows. In addition to this, their blood, or that of their near relative Morni, is to be found in nearly every show dog of the present day.
As an example of the uncertainty in choosing a puppy in dogs like the Deerhound, it may be mentioned that Morni and his sister Brenda were the two selected by their breeder for weeding out from a litter of six. I selected the dog for a small sum, and the bitch was given away to a friend. The one grew up into Champion Morni, the most successful show dog of his day, though he retired at six years old; and the other became the dam and ancestress of more prize winners than any other bitch that can be mentioned. Such is luck. Allowance must be made for the fond prejudice of ownership, and perhaps a discount taken off accordingly; but I cannot call to mind a dog that combined in a greater degree than Morni the qualities of symmetry and strength: of a good height, and a greater proportionate length than is usually seen, he nevertheless possessed an extremely deep chest and enormous loin, with a wonderful breadth of hindquarters, a grand forearm, and yet withal a perfect Greyhound frame. There was, moreover, that appearance of quality and character which is so wanting in some specimens nowadays. One fault was ever found with him—viz. that his coat was too soft; but that arose from the way he was treated, in being made a pet of. Had he been kept out in a kennel, and roughed it, the coat would have been hard enough; and, as it was, it was hardness itself to that of most of the prize winners we have seen since. Morni had but few chances given him at the stud, his services being only allowed to a select few. He was chiefly used by a gentleman who bred dogs for work alone, and the few of his progeny that have found their way on to the show-bench have been odd dogs out of such litters. Nevertheless, every dog but one by him that has been shown has been a prize winner; and, what is more, the pups that were bred for work all showed themselves possessed of speed, courage, and all the qualities of the Deerhound in their vocation in the Highlands.
Lochiel's Pirate was one of the finest dogs I ever saw; he stood about 29m., had good bone, fine symmetry, and a hardish coat of a fair length, and altogether looked what a Deerhound should—a combination of speed and power. He was of the dark blue colour, so much prized, and so seldom seen. The Duke of Sutherland exhibited two very fine dogs of this colour at Birmingham in 1869, and a descendant of theirs, in the person of Lord Fitzhardinge's Tom, a powerful dog of like colour, took first at Birmingham in 1880. Another beautiful dog, in shape and symmetry, was Mr. J. Addie's Arran, a well-known dog some thirty years ago. He stood over 3oin. at the shoulder, had a wonderfully deep chest, capital loin, strong limbs of the best shape, and was of a dark blue colour, approaching black. His great failing was his want of coat, it being extremely scanty, especially on the head and legs. From the union with Mr. Parkes's Brenda he is the grandsire of that gentleman's Borva and Leona and of my Lord of the Isles, in all of which dogs some of his best qualities can be traced. Wallace, son of Arran, was a well-shaped dog, of but medium height, perhaps not more than 28in. For this reason, and from a deficiency of coat as a puppy, he was not destined to the show-bench, but given away. He afterwards, I am told, developed a splendid coat; but it was almost by a chance that Mr. H. P. Parkes bred from him, as he was thought not to have sufficient size. The result was, however, that his first litter produced some dogs of the largest size in Lord of the Isles, Mr. Parkes's Duncan, and Mr. Sherman's Haco. Duncan, whose loss Mr. Parkes never ceased to regret, though larger than I care for, was certainly the best-made giant I can call to mind. His owner states that he was 31in. in height, girthed 35in., and weighed 97lb., at thirteen months old, when he was exhibited for the first time. He then caught distemper and died, as so many puppies do. Haco was over 29in.. high at nine months old, when purchased by me for Mr. W. S. Sherman, of Rhode Island, and sent out to America. On his voyage out he was shipwrecked on his 'native' shore of Scotland, off the Mull of Cantyre; but after being transhipped he arrived safely at his destination, and won first prize at the great New York Show in 1881.
Wallace's second litter from the same bitch produced Mr. Parkes's Borva and his well-known bitch Leona, the latter one of the best of her time. Borva was a true Deerhound, a wonderfully fast dog and a magnificent fencer, and would have made a perfect dog for work. Owing, however, to his not being an overgrown animal, but only about 28in., he was not so successful as a show dog as he should have been.
Here we have the case of a moderate-sized dog like Wallace getting unusually large stock; showing that, if an animal has size in its breeding, it is just as likely to transmit size as one of its larger relations, thus giving encouragement to the plan, advocated by me, of not always selecting the largest and coarsest specimens of a strain in the hope of getting size merely because they are big, a system which simply perpetuates coarseness and clumsiness, very often unaccompanied by what is the chief aim. But if you breed from the smaller specimens of a large strain which possess character and quality, you will be nearly sure to get the latter, and very probably the size: 'a giant's dwarf may beget a giant.' Dr. Hemming's Linda, whose portrait was given in the First Edition of this work, was a splendid bitch, but her portrait was a mere caricature, and must have been taken in the last stage of decrepitude and decay.
It has been a matter of remark how much superior in late years the bitches have been to the dogs. For one good dog we can count three or four good bitches. Amongst the latter Dr. Haddon's Maida must not be forgotten. She was a grand bitch, with a fine coat, and would doubtless have been the greatest prize winner of her sex, had she not been killed in transit to the Alexandra Palace Show before she had got to her best. Mr. l'arkes's Teeldar and Leona were also of the highest class, and several others I might mention. Indeed, a long string of first-class ones could be given, beside which an equal number of the dogs contemporary with them would make a poor show.
The great fault of the show Deerhound of to-day is the want of length and Greyhound form, the coarse, thick muzzles, heavy ears, woolly coats, and want of quality, arising from breeding for size alone. A dog standing 30in. at the shoulder, girthing Min. to Min., and with a loin of not less than 24in.. round, should be the highest standard aimed at. The rest of our efforts should be directed to getting the highest combination of strength and speed with the greatest amount of character, aiming at improving the length to such a degree that the dog should, with all his size, have a long, low frame, rather than a tall, stilty one.
As companionable animals, Deerhounds cannot be excelled. Their chief drawback is their eagerness, when young, to chase any running object. If, however, they are taken out constantly, or reared amongst animals in the country, they soon become easily restrainable and capital followers. They are not quarrelsome, but when they get three or four years old will not stand any nonsense from other dogs. They are of a gentle and affectionate disposition, strong in personal attachment, and may safely be let run about the premises without any fear of their biting any lawful comer. They are delicate dogs to rear, and should never be shown as puppies unless they have had distemper.
The great difference in size between dogs and bitches of this breed has often been a matter of notice ; and, as has been often correctly remarked, the purer the breed the greater the difference. Crossing increases the height of bitches, but not so much so that of the dogs. I do not believe in crossing; but, if it be resorted to, the best cross, there can be no question, is that with the Russian Wolfhound, a very pure bred dog, and of an analogous breed. Improvement in Greyhound shape might certainly be looked for, and the chief defects to be expected are the soft, silky coat and the white colour. But plenty of material is at hand nowadays, if breeders will have the courage not to neglect good strains simply because they are not of very large size."
It must not be imagined that the breeders enumerated by any means exhaust the list of those who are entitled to rank as among the more noteworthy even. No article upon the Scotch Deerhound would be complete that did not give credit to the brothers Bell, of Forgandenny, for the many fine hounds produced within their kennels; or to the indefatigable Mr. Hood Wright, who has laboured so long for the breed whose cause he has chiefly espoused, and who, moreover, has shown all those practical qualities that go to make a successful fancier. Like the Bells, his name has been associated with a host of good dogs, of which Selwood Morven, that afterwards passed into the hands of Mr. Harry Rawson, Selwood Dhouran, and Selwood Boy are but a trio that come readily to mind. Mr. W. H. Singer, too, at one time owned and bred some noteworthy specimens, of which Champion Swift was the best known. Of other names writ large on the scroll of Deerhound fame, those of the Duchess of Wellington, Mr. W. Evans, Mr. G. E. Crisp, Mr. Morse Goulter, Mr. W. B. Gibbin, Mr. W. C. Grew, Major Davis, Dr. and Miss Rattray may be named. Fig. 37 illustrates Champion Selwood Dhouran, a dog that has had a most remarkable show-ring career. He stands over 31 in. at shoulder, and is by Champion Swift (30,617) out of Selwood Morag (37,981).
Mr. Hickman has already referred to the good qualities of the Deerhound as a companion, and he certainly does not at all colour the picture. Of recent years the Kennel Press has received many testimonials from ladies testifying to the full to the hounds' excellent qualities. What has been said in respect of the Irish Wolfhound as regards details of management, colour of puppies, etc., apply equally to the Scotch hound, which only needs to be better known to be more highly appreciated.
The following excellent description of the Scotch Deerhound was drawn up by Mr. Hickman and Mr. Hood Wright, and it received the approval of the Scottish Deerhound Club in 1892 :—
Head. —The head should be broadest at the ears, tapering slightly to the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to the nose. The muzzle should be pointed, but the teeth and lips level. The head should be long, the skull flat, rather than round, with a very slight rise over the eyes, but with nothing approaching a stop. The skull should be coated with moderately long hair, which is softer than the rest of the coat. The nose should be black (though in some blue-fawns the colour is blue), and slightly aquiline. In the lightercoloured dogs a black muzzle is preferred. There should be a good moustache of rather silky hair, and a fair beard.
Ears.—The ears should be set on high, and, in repose, folded back like the Greyhound's, though raised above the head in excitement without losing the fold, and even, in some cases, semi-erect. A prick ear is bad. A big thick ear, hanging flat to the head, or heavily coated with long hair, is the worst of faults. The ear should be soft, glossy, and like a mouse's coat to the touch, and the smaller it is, the better. It should have no long coat or long fringe, but there is often a silky, silvery coat on the body of the ear and the tip. Whatever the general colour, the ears should be black or dark-coloured.
Neck and Shoulders.—The neck should be long—that is, of the length that befits the Greyhound character of the dog. An over-long neck is not necessary, nor desirable, for the dog is not required to stoop to his work like a Greyhound, and it must be remembered that the mane, which every good specimen should have, detracts from the apparent length of neck. Moreover, a Deerhound requires a very strong neck to hold a stag. The nape of the neck should be very prominent where the head is set on, and the throat should be clean-cut at the angle and prominent. The shoulders should be well sloped, the blades well back and not too much width between them. Loaded and straight shoulders are very bad faults.
Stern.—Stern should be tolerably long, tapering, and reaching to within I Jin. of the ground, and about igin. below the hocks. When the dog is still, dropped perfectly straight down, or curved. When in motion it should be curved when excited, in no case to be lifted out of the line of the back. It should be well covered with hair, on the inside thick and wiry, underside longer, and towards the end a slight fringe not objectionable. A curl or ring tail very undesirable.
Eyes.—The eyes should be dark, generally they are dark brown or hazel. A very light eye is not liked. The eye is moderately full, with a soft look in repose, but a keen, far-away look when the dog is roused. The rims of the eyelids should be black.
Body.—The body and general formation is that of a Greyhound of larger size and bone. Chest deep rather than broad, but not too narrow and flat-sided. The loin well arched and drooping to the tail. A straight back is not desirable, this formation being unsuitable for going up-hill, and very unsightly.
Legs and Feet.—The legs should be broad and flat, a good broad fore arm and elbow being desirable. Fore legs, of course, as straight as possible. Feet close and compact, with well-arched toes. The hindquarters drooping, and as broad and powerful as possible, the hips being set wide apart. The hind legs should be well bent at the stifle, with great length from the hip to the hock, which should be broad and flat. Cow hocks, weak pasterns, straight stifles, and splay feet very bad faults.
Coat.—The hair on the body, neck, and quarters should be harsh and wiry, and about 3in. or 4m. long; that on the head, breast, and belly is much softer. There should be a slight hairy fringe on the inside of the fore and hind legs, but nothing approaching " the feather" of a Collie. The Deerhound should be a shaggy dog, but not overcoated. A woolly coat is bad. Some good strains have a slight mixture of silky coat with the hard, which is preferable to a woolly coat, but the proper coat is a thick, close-lying, ragged coat, harsh or crisp to the touch.
Colour.—Colour is much a matter of fancy. But there is no manner of doubt that the dark blue-grey is the most preferred. Next come the darker and lighter greys or brindles, the darkest being generally preferred. Yellow and sandy-red or red-fawn, especially with black points—i.e. ears and muzzles—are also in equal estimation, this being the colour of the oldest known strains, the McNeil and the Chesthill Menzies. White is condemned by all the old authorities, but a white chest and white toes, occurring as they do in a great many of the darkest-coloured dogs, are not so greatly objected to, but the less the better, as the Deerhound is a self-coloured dog. A white blaze on the head or a white collar should entirely disqualify. In other cases, though passable, yet an attempt should be made to get rid of white markings. The less white the better, but a slight white tip to the stern occurs in the best strains.
Height of Dogs.—From 28m. to join., or even more if there be symmetry without coarseness, but which is rare.
Height of Bitches. —From 26in. upwards. There can be no objection to a bitch being large, unless too coarse, as even at her greatest height she does not approach that of the dog, and, therefore, could not have been too big for work, as over-big dogs are. Besides, a big bitch is good for breeding and keeping up the size.
Weight.—From 85Ib. to 1051b. in dogs; from 65Ib. to 8olb. in bitches.
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