Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
THE SCOTTISH DEERH0UND
by Leader (Melbourne, Vic) 13 October 1906
During the past few years there has been much discussion on the color and coat of the Deerhound, Some specimens exhibited at leading shows with white color provoked
considerable comment. It may interest breeders to read what Hugh Dalziel has to say on the questions of coat and color. He says: - Coat.- This is the much vexed question in the Deerhound, and where many of our English specimens fail, though I think the hardness required has been much exaggerated. The truth is, that much de pends on the length of coat. A very full coat is seldom very nary, though a shorter one of the same quality appears so, just as a month's beard would appear bristly compared to the same when full grown. But there is no doubt that the hair on the body, neck and quarters should be tolerably hard and wiry; that on the head and chest, and the fringe on the legs, is always much softer. There should be a. slight fringe on the inside of fore and hind legs, but the back of the hocks should be clear of rough hair. The Deerhound should be a shaggy dog, but not overcoated, and a ..profuse woolly coat is bad; in fact, such a coat is the most objectionable of all, even more so than, a silky one. Some of the best bred dogs, however, have a mixture of silky hair with the hard, and this, if the main coat is hard, is not so much objected to. The harder the coat the better, though very many well bred dogs have a softer coat than is quite desirable; a thick, coarse, close-lying, but ragged coat on the hack, is the sort that is liked. A smooth skulled dog is not liked, though there 'is no doubt some such are equally well bred. -'In preference to coat, . I would point out that M'Neil, in his account of his brother's dogs, which were all yellow, stated that there was another race in Lochaher of dark color, but more woolly coated. It is pretty certain that most of the softer coats arc in the dark colored dogs, and that in the yellow dogs the coat is generally much harder. Color.- Dark blue-grey, like a Skye Terrier, is the best and handsomest color. Next in estimation comes the darker and lighter greys, the darkest shades being preferred. The least liked are the washed-out looking fawns. In fact, the lighter colors have by some been, undeservedly, neglected or despised, and dark color made almost a crucial point. This is undoubtedly wrong. For my own part, I think a rich yellow dog, with black ears and muzzle, one of the most characteristic and hand some of Deerhounds, though all the best authorities prefer the dark grey. Yet the latter color is not the best for stalking. A gentleman of great experience informed me that "a light colored Deerhound, red or fawn, is in reality better for stalking than the true dark blue color. In choosing collies for tracking, or ponies, we like a dun or fawn color, as less visible." As has been observed, whatever the color of the dog, the ear should be dark or black, light colored dogs being preferred with black muzzles. White is not liked in the Deerhound - it is not a Deerhound color. I once saw a Deerhound perfectly white, but from his coat and appearance I do not think he was pure bred by any means.
We know, from Glengarry's own account, that lie had some Deerhounds quite white; but as lie crossed with all kinds of dogs, and especially with the Pyrenean Wolf or Shepherd dog, which is mainly white, this is no authority. Sir W. Scott's Maida, which was the result of a cross between a Pyenaen Wolf dog and a Deerhound bitch, was mostly white. Maida was no doubt a large dog, but he was certainly not much of a Deerhound. With the exception of an iron grey saddle on the back, extending half way down the thighs, and a similar patch on the head, lie was altogether white. Those who wish to see his portrait will find at least three - one in colors at Abbotsford, another in the picture of the Abbotsford family by Wilkie, and the third by Sir E. Landseer. In Wilkie's picture Maida seems almost smooth-coated, but in Landseer's he is represented as rough-coated. A Deerhound is in the same picture, showing the difference between the two. Anyhow, few Deerhound fanciers will, after seeing the portraits, care to trace back to Sir W. Scott's Maida.
White, then, is greatly objected to by- all the best authorities. -It's objectionable on the chest, and perhaps on-' the tips- of the toes, but the less there is the better.- A white tip to the tail in bad. A grey chest, which nearly all dark dogs have, must not be confounded with white. It must, be admitted, however,- that few dogs are without some little white on! the chest, though as the coat breaks up itj becomes very often merged in the grey. A white blaze on the head, or a white collar or white legs, should utterly disqualify: The following extract from the "Hand- Book on Deer Stalking" will show how the Deerhound . as used, and the necessity of his possessing great leverage power for going uphill. Anyone who wishes to realise the science and difficulties of real deer stalking is referred to this treatise, which is entirely practical, its author, Mr. Macrae, having been forester to the late Lord H. Beutinch. "A Deerhound has more advantage when slipped from below than from above the deer. If the ground is broken, dogs are apt: to fall when going downhill, and the deer has the advantage of being at liberty to take a straight course whenever he chooses; but when slipped from below, the deer is more or less exhausted before the dog , comes up to him, and the dog is all the better for getting a little warm by the time the deer turns from the.- hill, and has a good chance of intercepting him in the turn. . , , Unless a dog can take a deer in three or four minutes he will not take him at all. He may, by perseverance, make the deer turn on him, but he will not take him by speed."
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 runabout the premises without any fear of their biting any lawful comer. They are delicate dogs to rear, and should never, he shown as puppies unless they have had distemper. -The great difference in size , between dogs and hitches 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 hitches, 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 he looked for, and the chief defects to be expected are the soft, silky coat, and the white color. "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.
Ephemera, Misc Press articles, photos Index Page
Library Of Articles