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American homes and gardens - Volume 9 -
The Scottish Deerhounnd by T C Turner 1912



OF the aristocrats of the canine race there are none of them more worthy of this distinction than the Scottish Deerhound. Here we have one of the oldest known dogs; valued most highly and kept extensively in the early days. Yet for a period the hreed dropped almost into obscurity. I am glad to say that of late years his rising popularity bids fair to make him as well known and as much sought after as he deserves. The canvases painted by Sir Edwin Landseer have done much to make him famous. They show him in every variety of attitude, for the great artist has many times depicted the Scottish Deerhound as sharing the sorrows as well as the pleasures of his master. He was frequently part of the falconry equipment ot the old barons, and history records him as having often been the companion of kings and emperors. A particularly fine breed of Scottish Deerhounds existed in the kennels at Windsor Castle, and were most highly esteemed by the late Queen Victoria.

In the early days, deer-stalking was the sport of princes, and, as the name implies, the Deerhound was used for tracking and running down such game. But later, when deer became fewer in Scotland and England,it was only natural that the Deerhounds should become less popular than they had been in days of old. In general appearance the Deerhound is of the Greyhound type, but of stronger and heavier build. His coat is harsh and wiry, varying in length from one to three inches, and his best color is what might be called a blue-brindle. The average dog stands between twenty-eight and thirty inches high. In disposition he is gentle, affectionate, obedient and faithful, dignified in appearance, and a good guard. In fact, he is all that could be desired for a companion and pet, especially so where space will permit the keeping of such a dog, for with him, as with all dogs of his size, they should only be ke] t where free access to at least a large lawn can be had. Their long limbs preclude them from being kept where the smaller breeds, such as toys or even terriers, will do well. The Deerhound should have a long body and muscular shoulders, a larger and coarser head than the Greyhound, with larger and more powerful jaws, made more striking by the coarse hair covering them. There should be no fullness of jaw below the eyes. The nose should be black, the ears small, carried a trifle high and coated with a fine short soft hair. The eyes hazel or blue, although a recent English winner has unusual eyes that almost match the color of the coat. The neck should be long, but of good strength. The chest deep and a little wider than that of the Greyhound. The loins powerful, the legs straight and bony. The feet longer or less cat-like than those of the Greyhound, and strong in bone, to enable him to stand rough travel. The color varies—fawns, grizzly and brindle, but the darker shades are preferable. There should be no sign of white upon the body. However, a small white star on the chest is not a defect. The Deerhound should also possess the faculty of tracking by scent, as well as by sight.

There is, perhaps, no breed of dog more in keeping with the landscape of the wooded estate than the Deerhound. He seems to belong to oak forests and just the sort of animal one would choose for a home in the woodland. He is, too, an excellent type to select in the choice of a single (106: for the small place, that is to say for the country home which contains enough area to give him a spot to romp in but which, perhaps,; is not of sufficient extent to make the keeping of many dogs advisable or desirable.

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