Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)

About IWTLibraryBreed OriginsReserved For FutureAfghan Hound TimesReserved For FutureBreed StandardEphemera

Vero Shaw - The Illustrated Book Of The Dog 1891
(Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound)


IT is with a certain amount of diffidence that this essay is entered upon, as there is a widely- spread impression that the breed to be treated of is extinct. That we are in possession of the breed in its original integrity is not pretended ; at the same time it is confidently believed that there are strains now existing tracing back, more or less clearly, to the original breed ; and it also appears to be tolerably certain that our modern Deerhound is descended from that noble animal, and gives us a very fair idea of what he was, though undoubtedly considerably his inferior in size and power. Had it not been for these facts, the courage to write this chapter might have been wanting ; but they appear to be so clear to the writer, that he can proceed, with the feeling that most of his readers will perceive that he is amply justified in undertaking a history and description of this very magnificent example of the canine race that, indeed, may be said to have been its king.

There have been several very interesting and clever essays written on this subject. Two of the ablest and most valuable were written by Mr. A. McNeill of Colonsay, in 1838, and Mr. H. D. Richardson, in 1841. These treat exclusively of the Irish Wolfhound, though in Mr. McNeill's case it is more to show the identity of the breed with the modern Deerhound that he writes. Richardson, on the other hand, proceeds to show us that, though undeniably of the same stamp, the Irish dog was far superior in size and power, and that from him is descended, in these later days, the modern Deerhound. Both these authors have shown considerable ability and ingenuity in their arguments, and no one can deny that they are worthy of every consideration. Richardson would appear to be in error on some points, but in the main his ideas would certainly appear to be reasonable and correct. That Richardson was highly qualified to offer a sound and most valuable opinion on the subject is proved by the very admirable manner in which he has treated of and described almost every known breed of dog, whether British or foreign. That we have in the Deerhound the modern representative of the old Irish Wolfdog is patent. Of less stature, less robust, and of slimmer form, the main characteristics of the breed remain ; and in very exceptional instances specimens occur which throw back to and resemble in a marked manner the old stock from which they have sprung. It is not probable that our remote ancestors arrived at any very high standard as to quality or looks. Strength, stature, and fleetness were the points most carefully cultivated at any rate, as regards those breeds used in the capture of large and fierce game. It is somewhat remarkable 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 recent date, which would in a measure justify us in supposing that the Deerhound is the modern representative of that superb animal.

It is a matter of history that this dog was well known to and highly prized by the Romans, who, we are led to understand, frequently used him in their combats in the arena, for which his great size, strength, and activity, eminently fitted him. It has always been a moot point whether the Irish Wolfdog was, strictly speaking, a Greyhound, or was of a more robust form, approaching the Mastiff. Let us, then, proceed to investigate the question.

Richardson tells us that " Pliny relates a combat in which the dogs of Epirus bore a part. He describes them as much taller than Mastiffs, and of Greyhound form, detailing an account of their contests with a lion and an elephant." This, he thinks, suffices to establish the identity of the Irish Wolfdog with the far-famed dogs of Epirus !

Strabo describes a large and powerful Greyhound as having been in use among the Celtic and Pictish nations, and as being held in such high estimation by them as to have been imported into Gaul for the purposes of the chase.

Silius describes a large and powerful Greyhound as having been imported into Ireland by the Belgae, thus identifying the Irish Wolfdog with the celebrated Belgic dog of antiquity, which we read of in so many places as having been brought to Rome for the combats of the amphitheatre.

Sir James Warr, in his " Antiquities of Ireland," thus writes regarding the Irish Wolfdog about 1630 (?) : "I must here take notice of those hounds which, from their hunting of wolves, are commonly called Wolfdogs being creatures of great size and strength, and of a fine shape," &c.

Warr also gives as a frontispiece to his book an allegorical representation of a passage from the Venerable Bede, in which two dogs are introduced bearing a very strong resemblance to the Irish Wolfdog or Scottish Deerdog, in those days doubtless the same animal. The Venerable Bede was born 672, died 735.

We are informed by two very eminent authorities the Venerable Bede and the Scottish historian Major that Scotland was peopled from Ireland. We know that by the early writers Scotland was styled Scotia Minor, and Ireland Scotia Major, and it is scarcely necessary to make any remark as to the native languages of the primitive inhabitants of the two countries. The colonisation therefore of Scotland from Ireland under the conduct of Reuda being admitted, can we suppose that the colonists would omit taking with them specimens of such a noble and gallant dog, and one that must prove so serviceable to their emigrant masters, and that, too, at a period when men depended upon the chase for their subsistence ? True, this is but an inference, but is it not to be received as a fact when we find that powerful and noble dog, the Highland Deerhound, a tall rough Greyhound, to have been known in Scotland since its colonisation ? Formerly it was called the Wolfdog, but with change of occupation came change of name. In Ireland wolves were certainly in existence longer than in Scotland, but when these animals ceased to exist in the former country, the Wolfdogs became gradually lost. Not so in Scotland, where abundant employment remained for them even after the days of wolf-hunting were over. The red deer still remained, and useful as had these superb dogs proved as Wolfdogs, they became perhaps even more valuable as Deerhounds.

Richardson then goes on to show us, from Ossian's poems, that such dogs appertained to the chieftains regarding whose prowess, &c., he sings ; but the writer does not apprehend that any real value can be placed on Ossian's accounts prior to the date at which they professed to be issued in a collective form by Macpherson, viz., about 1770, as in the judgment of many persons competent to form a just opinion, those poems almost entirely owe their origin to the prolific brains of the supposititious translator. Ossian is supposed to have flourished in the third century.

In the ninth century the Welsh laws contained clauses entailing heavy penalties on any one found maiming or injuring the Irish Greyhound, or, as it was styled in the Code alluded to, "Canis graius Hibernicus," and a value was set upon them equal to more than double that set on the ordinary Greyhound.

" Camden," about 1568, says: "The Irish Wolfhound is similar in shape to a Greyhound, bigger than a Mastiff, and tractable as a Spaniel."

" Holinshed's," or rather Stainhurst's, description of Ireland, about 1560, contains this short account of the noble Wolfdog : " Ireland is stored of cows, excellent horses, of hawkes, fish, and fowle. They are not without wolves, and Greyhounds to hunt them bigger of bone and limb than a colt."

Gough, in his edition of " Camden," published 1789, has this passage on the Wolfhound : " Bishop affirmed that wolves still infested the wild and solitary mountains. Under the article of Greyhounds, Mr. Camden (writing probably about 1530-60) seems to place the Wolfhounds, which are remarkably large, and peculiar to this country."

In November, 1562, the Irish chieftain Shane O'Neill (possibly an ancestor of the Lords O'Neill, to be alluded to as owning Irish Wolfhounds later on) forwarded to Queen Elizabeth, through Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester, a present of two horses, two hawks, and two Irish Wolfdogs ; and in 1585, Sir John Perrott, who was Deputy of Ireland from January, 1584, to July, 1588, sent to Sir Francis Walsingham, then Secretary of State in London, "a brace of good Wolfdogs, one black, one white." Later still, in 1608, we find that Irish Wolf- hounds were sent from Ireland by Captain Desmond of Duncannon, to Gilbert Earl of Shrewsbury. When Sir Thomas Rowe was ambassador at the court of the Great Mogul, in the year 1615, that emperor desired him to send for some Irish Greyhounds as the most welcome present he could make him. The foregoing are from an article on the Irish Wolf- hound, by Mr. Harting, that appeared in Bailey's Magazine for September, 1879.

Ware is one of the few old writers (1654) who has said anything on the Irish Wolfdog, and his words are scanty. "Although we have no wolves in England, yet it is certain we have had heretofore routs of them as they have at present in Ireland. In that country is bred a race of Greyhounds, which is fleet and strong, and bears a natural enmity to the wolf."

Evelyn, about 1660-70, says : " The Irish Wolfhound was a tall Greyhound, a stately creature indeed, and did beat a cruel Mastiff. The Bull-dogs did exceedingly well, but the Irish Wolfdog exceeded ! " He was then describing the savage sports of the bear-garden.

Ray, about 1697, describing the Irish Greyhound, says: "The greatest dog I have yet seen, surpassing in size even the Molossus (Mastiff?) as regards shape of body and general character, similar in all respects to the common Greyhound ; their use is to catch wolves."

The writer would remark in passing that there is but little doubt that the ordinary Grey- hound of that date was a rough-coated dog.

Buffon, about 1750-60, speaks of these dogs as follows: "They are far larger than our largest Matins, and they are very rare in France. I have never seen but one, which seemed to me when sitting quite upright to be nearly five feet high, and to resemble in form the dog we call the Great Dane, but it differed from it greatly in the largeness of its size. It was quite white, and of a gentle and peaceable disposition/'

From Goldsmith, about 1770, the following is extracted: "The last variety, and the most wonderful of all that I shall mention, is the Great Irish Wolfdog, that may be considered as the first of the canine species. He is extremely beautiful and majestic in appearance, being the greatest of the dog kind to be seen in the world. The largest of those I have seen and I have seen about a dozen was about four feet high, or as tall as a calf of a year old. He was made extremely like a Greyhound, but more robust, and inclining to the figure of the French Matin or the Great Dane,'' &c.

Brooke, in his "Natural History" of 1772, states: "The Irish Wolfdog is, as 'Ray' affirms, the highest dog he had ever seen, he being much larger than a Mastiff dog, but more like a Greyhound in shape."

Smith, in his "History of Waterford " (1774), uses very similar words: "The Irish Greyhound, though formerly abounding in this country, is likewise become nearly extinct. This dog is much taller than the Mastiff, but made more like a Greyhound."

Pennant (1776-81) informs us that the Irish Gre-hound -a variety once very frequent in Ireland, and used in the chase of the wolf, now very scarce is a dog of great size and strength.

From Bewick (1792) we gather that "the Irish Greyhound is the largest of the dog kind, and its appearance the most beautiful. It is only to be found in Ireland, where it was formerly of great use in clearing that country from wolves. It is now extremely rare, and kept rather for show than use, being equally unserviceable for hunting the stag, the fox, or the hare. These dogs are about three feet high, generally of a white or cinnamon colour, and made somewhat like a Greyhound, but more robust. Their aspect is mild ; their disposition peaceable ; their strength is so great that in combat the Mastiff or Bull-dog is far from being equal to them. They mostly seize their antagonists by the back and shake them to death, which their great strength generally enables them to do." M. Buffon supposes the Great Danish dog to be only a variety of the Irish Greyhound. About this time (1794) certain dogs in the possession of the then Lord Altamont were put forward as being Irish Wolfdogs ; but there appears to be no doubt whatever that these dogs were degenerate specimens of the Great Dane. Mr. Lambert, describing them to the Linnaean Society, stated that "they were the only ones in the kingdom; their hair was short and smooth, the colour brown-and-white and black-and-white." An engraving of one of these dogs is given in the " Encyclopaedia Britannica" published in 1810, and it represents an under-bred Great Dane, of dull and mild appearance. Richardson at one time was in error regarding these, dogs, for he accepted them as being true specimens of the Irish Wolfhound ; but he was afterwards, from careful inquiry and research, quite disabused of any such idea, and concluded that the Irish Wolfhound was a rough Greyhound of gigantic stature and immense power.

To suppose that these dogs were Irish Wolfhounds was absurd to a degree, as that breed was known to be very scarce, whereas the Great Dane was (and is) to be met with in great numbers on the Continent.

The present Marquis of Sligo informed the writer about twelve years ago that he had often made inquiries from persons who had seen his father's dogs, and as far as their descriptions would enable one to judge, they rather resembled some of the German Boarhounds, being rather like powerful, shaggy Greyhounds, but a good deal larger. It is probable that the shagginess was a mistake, as Mr. Lambert distinctly states them to have been smooth.

E. Jesse tells us that the late Lord Derby purchased the portrait in Mr. Lambert's possession of one of Lord Altamont's dogs. Now, it is a well-ascertained fact that, in the face of this model (!), Lord Derby bred, as Irish Wolfdogs, a very powerful and robust dog of Deerhound character (! !), showing that he set small value on the picture as representing the true breed of Irish Wolfdog"-.

In the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" of 1797 we are shown a drawing of the Irish Gre-hound, which represents a very thick-set, tall Greyhound, with a rough coat and massive head ; colour apparently brindle or black-and-white.

The " Sportsman's Cabinet " a very valuable old book on dogs, of which there were but a limited number of copies published in 1803, and which is illustrated by very good engravings after drawings from life by Reinagle, a Royal Academician says : " The dogs of Greece, Denmark, Tartary, and Ireland, are the largest and strongest of their species. The Irish Greyhound is of very ancient race, and still to be found in some far remote parts of that kingdom though they are said to be reduced even in their original climate. They are much larger than the Mastiff; exceedingly ferocious when engaged." A remarkably spirited drawing is given of this dog, which, though faulty in some minor points, gives us an admirable idea of what this grand dog was.

Notwithstanding the undoubted resemblance of this sketch to a gigantic roujh Greyhound of great power, the letterpress is continued to the effect that the dog is identical with the Great Dane a totally different dog in appearance which is manifestly absurd ; and on the letterpress we can accordingly put no great stress, though the portrait undoubtedly has a real value. E. Jesse coincides in this opinion, as when speaking of the "Sportsman's Cabinet" he says: " It is a work more remarkable for the truth and fineness of its engravings than for the matter contained in it." It is a noticeable and remarkable fact that whilst this book professes to treat of every known variety of British dog, it does not make any mention whatever of the Scottish Deerhound.

A few extracts from this book are given that bear on the subject under consideration, though not taken from the chapter descriptive of the Irish Wolfhound or Greyhound.

"The Greyhound, large Danish dog, and Irish Greyhound, have, according to Buffon, exclusive of their likeness of figures and length of muzzle, a similitude of disposition."

" The peculiar irritability of the olifactory sensation seems by natural observation to depend more upon the largeness than the length of the nose, for the Greyhound, Danish dog, and Irish Greyhound, have evidently less power of scent than the Hound, Terrier, &c."

" The Bulldog and Irish Greyhound have their ears partly erect."

" The Great Danish dog, taken from thence to Ireland, the Ukraine, Tartary, Epirus, and Albania, has been changed into the Irish Greyhound, which is the largest of all dogs."

" The Greyhound and Irish Greyhound, Buffon goes on to say, have produced the mongrel Greyhound, also called the Greyhound with the wolf's hair" in all probability the present Scotch Deerhound (?).

Dr. Scouler, reading a paper before the Dublin Geological Society in 1837, says: "The Irish Wolfdog was a very distinct race from the Scotch Hound or Wolfdog, which resembled the Irish breed in size and courage, but differed from it by having a sharper muzzle and pendent ears."

McNeill, in his article on the Irish Wolfhound, written 1838, says: " Whatever may have been the origin of the name, there is little doubt as to the antiquity of a species of dog in this country (Ireland) bearing a great resemblance in many points to the Greyhound of the present day, and passing under that name, though evidently a larger, nobler, and more courageous animal."

He goes on to argue that " from the rough and uncultivated state of the country, and the nature of the game that was then the object of the chase viz., deer of all sorts, wolves, and foxes that the dogs would be of a larger, fiercer, and more shaggy description than the Greyhounds of the present day."

From the " Museum of Animated Nature," published in 1842-45, the following account of the Irish Wolfdog is taken: "In Scotland and Ireland there existed in very ancient times a noble breed of Greyhounds used for the chase of the wolf and deer, which appears to us to be the pure source of our present breed. It is quite as possible that the Matin is a modification of the ancient Greyhound of Europe represented by the Irish Greyhound or Wolfdog as that it is the source of that fine breed, as Buffon supposes. Few, we believe, of the old Irish Greyhound exist."

From the very interesting book entitled " Anecdotes of Dogs," by E. Jesse, published 1846, the following is gleaned:

" The dog flourished at the time of early kings of Ireland, and, with harp and shamrock, is regarded as one of the national emblems of the country."

" The Irish Wolfdogs were formerly placed as the supporters of the arms of the ancient monarchs of Ireland. They were collared ' or,' with the motto, ' Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.'"

The well-known Mrs. S. C. Hall, wrote to Jesse the following interesting account of an Irish Wolfdog: "When I was a child (probably 1812-15), I had a very close friendship with a genuine old Wolfdog, Bruno by name. He was the property of an old friend of my grandmother's, who claimed descent from the Irish kings. His name was O'Toole. His visits were my jubilees. There was the kind, dignified, old gentleman, and there was his tall gaunt dog, grey with age, and yet with me full of play. The O'Toole had three of these dogs. Bruno was rough but not long-coated."

Richardson tells us that the late Sir W. Betham, Ulster King-at-Arms, an authority of very high importance on any subject connected with Irish antiquities, in communicating with Mr. Haffield, who read a paper on the Irish Wolfhound before the Dublin Natural History Society, about 1841, states as follows: "From the mention of the Wolfdogs in the old Irish stories and poems, and also from what I have heard from a very old person, long since dead, of his having seen them at the Neale, in the County of Mayo, the seat of Sir John Browne, ancestor to Lord Kilmaine, I have no doubt they were a gigantic Greyhound. My departed friend described them as being very gentle, and that Sir J. Browne allowed them to come into his dining-room, where they put their heads over the shoulders of those who sat at table ; they were not smooth-skinned like our Greyhounds, but rough and curly-haired."

"The Irish poets call the Wolfdog ' cu,' and the common Greyhound 'gayer,' a marked distinction, the word 'cu' signifying a champion."

Some dogs were owned by the late Hamilton Rowan, of Merrion Square, Dublin, which were erroneously asserted to be Irish Wolfhounds. Regarding these dogs the following com- munication was kindly made to the writer by Mr. Betham, a son of Sir W. Betham before alluded to : " My father was very intimate with the late Hamilton Rowan, who was the only man possessed of the breed (Irish Wolfhound), and who was so chary of it that he would never give away a dog pup without first castrating him. I have repeatedly seen the dogs with him when I was a boy, and heard him tell my father how he became possessed of them. He was in Paris about the time of the first French Revolution, and was given a dog and a bitch, and was told there that they were Danish. He then went to Denmark, thinking he would see more of the breed. When he got there he was told they were not Danish, but Irish, and were brought over by some one from Ireland I forget whom. The dogs were of a very peculiar colour a kind of brindle blue-and-white, sometimes all brindled, and sometimes a great deal of white with large irregular brindle patches, and were much given to weak eyes. They stood about 2 feet 4 or 6 inches at the shoulder, were smooth-haired, and were a most powerful dog. Hamilton Rowan was very proud of being the only possessor of the breed, and seldom went out without one or more accompanying him.

In a second letter he goes on to say : " I can speak from personal knowledge, and from having often seen the dogs, that the true breed of Irish Wolfdogs are smooth-haired, not shaggy like the Scotch Deerhound. They were coarse-haired, like the Bloodhound. I am not acquainted with the German Boarhound (i.e., Great Dane) ; very possibly they might have been somewhat similar to the Irish breed. Hamilton Rowan's dogs were very power- ful, and at the same time active dogs, with rather a sharp nose and shrill bark. My father used to say that when he dined at Hamilton Rowan's the dogs used to be in the parlour, and were so tall they could put their heads over the guests' shoulders when sitting at the table, though the dogs were standing on the floor."

Beyond the shadow of a doubt these dogs were simply Great Danes, as Mr. Rowan had evidently been told in Paris ; the description leaves no doubt on that head. Richardson tells us the fact was that Mr. Rowan owned some of the breed known as Great Danes, and he never by any chance called them by a wrong name. He also owned a true Wolfdog, and knew him to be such, calling him " the last of his race." This dog was a large rough Grey- hound of iron-grey colour. Mr. Rowan subsequently presented this dog to Lord Nugent. In corroboration of this fact the writer was informed by the late Sir John Power, who recollected Mr. Rowan and his dogs, and who would have reached man's estate at the time, and been well able to judge of them, being a thorough lover of the canine race, that Richardson's description of the true Wolfdog belonging to Mr. Rowan was right. Mr. Betham remembers the dogs only as a boy, and the distinction between the Danish dogs and the true old rough dog would hardly have struck him ; hence his misconception on the matter. Mr. Betham's account is only inserted and confuted to remove any impression that certain of Hamilton Rowan's dogs were aught but Great Danes, which has been erroneously otherwise concluded. Mr. Betham confesses, it will be seen, that he is not acquainted with the Great Dane or Boarhound, which are common and plentiful in all Continental countries; he cannot, consequently, be considered a fair judge on the subject.

Youatt has this regarding the Irish Wolfdog : " This animal is nearly extinct, or only to be met with at the mansions of one or two persons, by whom he is kept more for show than use, the wild animals which he seemed powerful enough to conquer having long disappeared from the kingdom. The beauty of his appearance and antiquity of his race are his only claims, as he disdains the chase of stag, fox, or hare, though he is ever ready to protect the person and property of his master. His size is various, some having attained the height of four feet. He is shaped like the Greyhound, but stouter."

Literature and the powers of depicting an animal in its correct form were in such a crude and immature stage amongst the nobility and gentry of the land at the periods when we have our first accounts of the Irish Wolfdog, that it is not in the least to be wondered at that the imperfect descriptions given of the breed by such persons as were equal to the task were allowed to go uncontradicted by the only people in whose hands the breed was likely to be. From the accounts we have, however, we can clearly and distinctly gather that the dog has always been of Greyhound shape, of gigantic stature, and great power, in fact, such a dog as a cross between the Great Dane and present Deerhound would produce, as to form and bulk, but of superior size.

Richardson, to further his views regarding the probable size of the ancient Irish Wolf- dog, tells us that certain canine skulls were found by Surgeon Wylde at Dunshauglin which were concluded to be those of the Irish Wolfdog ; of these the largest was II inches in the bone, and from that fact he proceeds to argue that the living dog must have stood about 40 inches. To begin, he takes for his guide a Deerhound dog standing 29 inches, whose head measures 10 inches. To the 1 i-inch Irish Wolfhound skull he adds 3 inches for muzzle, hair, skin, and other tissues, thereby making the head of the living dog 14 inches ; thus getting the height of 40 inches from it, as compared to the 29 inches from the lo-inch head. Here, how- ever, he would appear to be in error, as ij or 2 inches at the most would be enough to allow for tissues, &c., making the head I2j to 13 inches only, and so reducing the height to 36 inches ; moreover, the measurement of 10 inches for the head of a 29-inch Deerhound is manifestly insufficient, as the writer can testify from ample experience. A Deerhound of that height should have a head of at least 1 1 inches ; so, calculating on the same principles, the skulls would have been from dogs standing about 34 inches. This skull is stated to have been superior in size to the others, so if the argument was of any real worth, we can only gather from it that the dogs would have ranged from 31 to 34 inches in height, which is probable enough.

It is an incontestable fact that the domestic dog, when used for the pursuit of ferocious animals, should be larger and apparently more powerful than his quarry if he is expected to take and overcome him single-handed, as the fierce nature, roving habits, and food of the wild animal render him more than a match for his domesticated enemy, if of only equal size and stature. We know that the Russian Wolfhounds (certainly very soft-hearted dogs), though equal in stature to the wolf, will not attack him single-handed and wisely too, for they would certainly be worsted in the combat. The Irish Wolfdog, being used for both the capture and despatch of the wolf, would necessarily have been of Greyhound conformation, besides being of enormous power. When caught, a heavy dog, such as a Mastiff, would be equal to the destruction of a wolf, but to obtain a dog with Greyhound speed and the strength of the Mastiff, it stands 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 is thirty inches ; and, arguing as above, we may reasonably conclude that to obtain the requisite combination of speed and power, a height of at least thirty-three inches would have been reached, though we are told by several writers that he exceeded that height considerably.

In the New York Country, about May, 1878, it is written: "It is absurd to give as a reason for the indifference and apathy through which such a breed has been allowed to die out or its perpetuity to be endangered, that in the extermination of his particular foe the wolf his occupation was gone. A noble animal of this character should never have been permitted to waste away while curs of the lowest degree are petted and pampered and carefully provided for. In this country particularly the Irish Wolfdog could be made of special service. Here he would find in the chase and extermination of the wolf a wide field for his prowess and courage. On the western bounds of civilisation he would be invaluable for the purposes of hunting, his keen sight and scent rendering him superior to many breeds now in vise, and as a companion and friend of man his fidelity and devotion have never been called in question. All the testimony which comes down to us agrees as to his sagacity, courage, strength, speed, and size, although in this last point we perceive there is a difference of opinion. Even allowing that he attained a height of from thirty-two to thirty-five inches, he is taller than any breed now living, although the early accounts published of him state he was from three to four feet high."

For many months a spirited controversy and correspondence on the Irish Wolfhound was carried on in the Live Stock Journal by the writer and others, without, it is confidently thought, in any way disturbing the conclusions on the breed which the writer has, from careful and prolonged consideration of the subject, arrived at, and which will be set forth presently.

The question as to whether it is desirable to continue and thoroughly resuscitate this superb breed now that his occupation is gone is hardly worth entertaining.

Have not a dozen breeds such as St. Bernards, Collies, &c. been taken up, cherished, and improved to a marvellous degree ? Why not, then, take such measures to recover the Irish Wolfdog in its original form ? It can be done ; the means are at hand if the will be only forthcoming. From the materials forthcoming in such specimens of the breed as are extant and the largest Deerhounds, with judicious crosses for size and power, there is little doubt that the breed can be restored to us in much of its original magnificence, and the noble canine giant always held to be typical of Erin would be worthily and faithfully represented.

As the Deerhound of the present day is to the ordinary Greyhound, so is the giant Irish Wolfhound to the Deerhound. An Irish paper, waxing enthusiastic on the subject, says, not long ago. regarding the Irish Wolfdog : " This animal has become celebrated as the heraldic protector of our country. Fair Erin sits pensively beside her harp, the round tower stands near, and guarding all three, reclines the Wolfhound. Scotland's lions have been famed in story ; England 'stole' one of them, say some, and joining him in company with the unicorn, committed to his trust the honour of Albion ; but the unicorn is a beast which even Dr. Houghton has never seen, while we must go back to the antediluvian era to find lions in Great Britain. But the Wolf- dog is no mythic beast in Ireland ; he was and we trust will again be, included amongst the undoubted, exclusive, and most distinguished specimens of the Irish fauna."

In the British Museum there is a Grecian vase, some 450 B.C., on which Actaeon is depicted surrounded by his dogs. Some of them would appear identical with what the Irish Wolfhound was, save, perhaps, in the matter of coat.

On some ancient frescoes at Easton Neston Hall, near Towcester, are depicted various hunting scenes. In one of these two vast dogs of Deerhound type are represented as seizing a boar, and these frescoes having been painted at a time when the Irish Wolfhound existed, may be looked upon as throwing considerable light on the real type of that breed. They are shown to be vast Deerhounds, with rough wiry coats, of a dark blue-grey colour ; ears small and falling over.

It will be well now to state the conclusions at which the writer has arrived as to the general appearance and character of the Irish Wolfhound, after a prolonged, searching, and careful study of the subject.

Form. That of a very tall, heavy, Scotch Deerhound, much more massive, and very majestic- looking ; active and fast, perhaps somewhat less so than the present breed of Deerhound ; neck thick in comparison to his form, and very muscular ; body and frame lengthy.

Head. Long, but not narrow, coming to a comparative point towards the nose ; nose rather large, and head gradually getting broader from the same, ercnfy up to the back of the skull not sharp up to the eyes, and then suddenly broad and lumpy, as is often the case with dogs bred between Greyhound and Mastiff.

Coat. There can be little doubt that from the very nature of the work the dog was called upon to do this would be of a rough and probably somewhat shaggy nature, and to this end points the evidence gained from Arrian second century who leaves no doubt in our mind that the great Greyhound of his day was rough in coat ; also from the ancient Irish harp, now preserved in Trinity College, Dublin, which is ornamented with a figure of the Irish Wolfhound, rough-coated. Sir J. Browne's dogs were rough and shaggy ; Mr. O'Toole's dog was rough ; also Hamilton Rowan's. The former Earls of Caledon owned Irish Wolfdogs, which were rough ; added to which, in former days all Greyhounds were, we have every reason to believe, rough ; certainly the larger varieties, as is now without exception the case. So it is with justice concluded that the coat was rough, hard and long all over body, head, legs, and tail ; hair on head long, and rather softer than that on body, standing out boldly over eyes ; beard under jaws being also very marked and wiry.

Colour. Black, grey, brindle, red, and fawn, though white dogs were esteemed in former times, as is several times shown us indeed, they were often preferred but for beauty the dark colours should be cultivated.

Ears. Small in proportion to size of head, and erect as in the smooth Greyhound. If dark in colour it is to be preferred.

The Tail should be carried with an upward curve only, and not be curled, as is the case with many Greyhounds.

Size. We may safely deduce that the height of these dogs varied from 32 to 34 inches, and even 35 inches in the dogs, probably from 29 to 31 inches in the bitches. The other dimensions would naturally be about as follows for well-shaped and true-formed dogs. Girth of chest Dogs, 38 to 44 inches ; bitches, 32 to 34 inches. Weight in Ibs. Dogs, 115 to 140; bitches, 90 to 115. Girth of fore-arm Dogs, 10 to 12 inches; bitches, 8 to 10 inches. Length of head Dogs, I2i to 14 inches ; bitches, 11 to 12 inches. Most modern authors and all practical lovers of the canine race whom the writer has consulted are agreed that the foregoing is the correct type of dog beyond question ; and although some differ slightly as to the comparative bulk and power of the dog, the difference is small when dispassionately looked at.

To any one who has well considered the subject such conclusions are inevitable, and this impression has been manifestly handed down to us for generations.

Although several writers have incorrectly confounded the Great Dane with the Irish Wolfhound, yet it is probable that the two breeds were not infrequently crossed ; indeed, it is possible that in foreign countries the Irish Wolfhound may have degenerated into the Great Dane and other varieties, as it has into the Deerhound with us. That such was the case Buffon does more than suggest. Major Gamier, who gave the subject considerable attention at one time, rather holds to this opinion, and says " that whilst the Highland Deerhound is the most correct type, the German Boarhound has best retained the size, though at the expense of character."

These facts may possibly have influenced erroneously the opinions of some of the naturalists of the latter end of the last century, and will also account for the fact of Lord Altamont's dogs having been put forward as Irish Wolfhounds, which they certainly were not.

The last wolf was supposed to have been killed in Ireland about 1710.

Richardson says :" Though I have separated the Irish Wolfdog from the Highland Deerhound and the Scottish Greyhound, I have only done so partly in conformity with general opinion, that I have yet to correct, and partly because these dogs, though originally identical, are now unquestionably distinct in many particulars."

The former Earls of Caledon at one time 'owned a breed of Irish Wolfhounds, regarding which the present peer has obligingly collected the following particulars : " The dog was in appearance between a Mastiff and Deerhound ; slighter and more active than the one, more massive and stronger than the other ; as tall or taller than the tallest Deerhound ; rough but not long-coated ; fawn, grizzly, and dun in colour : some old men on the property have mentioned a mixture of white."

A breed was also owned by the Lords O'Neil, also by Lord Castletown ; but no in- formation regarding them has been obtained, although a friend of the writer was presented, many years ago, with a bitch of the former breed which answered very much to the descrip- tion given above of Lord Caledon's dogs.

In a very interesting letter from America, written to a gentleman residing in England- published in the Live Stock Journal some time ago, the writer says : " I have felt an interest in the subject for over fifty years. My father often spoke of Lord Sligo's (Altamont's) breed of dogs, and doubted their being the genuine Irish VVolfdog. He had every opportunity of observing them himself, being much at Westport House during his youth." After making other observations, he goes on to say : " The bone of the fore-leg is, I should say, the point that best distinguishes dogs of this class from all of the Greyhound class, whom in actual build they so much resemble. The massiveness of that bone is out of proportion altogether, and it certainly was not made for speed so much as for power and endurance. I think all the Scotch dogs that I have seen are deficient in this respect, and I attribute it to crossing with lighter- built breeds in order to obtain swiftness for deer-hunting. The epithet 'hairy-footed' in old Irish poems leaves no doubt as to the comparatively rough coat of the Irish Wolfdog."

That it is beyond reason that any dog should have stood 36 inches is not the case, as Lord Mount Edgcumbe has a picture of a dog taken life-size which measures 36 inches to the shoulder. The skeleton of this dog (apparently a Great Dane), which is also preserved, would corroborate this measurement. A picture was also painted for the Marquis of Hastings in 1803 by Clifford de Tomsan, which represents a dog standing 36 inches at shoulder also apparently a Great Dane, of a buff-and-white colour. The picture measures "J\ feet by $i feet, so it will be seen the dog must of necessity have been gigantic. We have also had some enormous dogs "in the life" of late years. The great American dog exhibited to Her Majesty some eighteen years ago was said to stand 36 inches. Sir Roger Palmer's Sam was 34. Both were Boarhounds. Several of our Mastiffs have stood 33 and even 34 inches. The great dog brought from America by Mr. Butler, of New York, about four or five years ago, stood about the same height. He was a descendant of the dog shown to the Queen also owned by Mr. Butler. On the Continent it is not uncommon to find dogs standing 33 and 34 inches, and a Boarhound has been brought to the writer's notice, belonging to a gentleman residing at Cologne, that was reported to stand 37 inches by a gentleman well accustomed to large dogs. The tallest dog the writer has actually measured stood 34^ inches on the shoulder- blade a giant indeed. With all these examples before us, and some of them within our reach, there is no reason why the Irish Wolthound should not be restored to its original height of from 33 to 35 inches.

It is worthy of remark that whilst some people scout the very idea that the Deerhound is the descendant of the Irish Wolfhound, McNeill is proud to claim such descent for his favourite breed.


Maior Gamier at one time turned his attention to Irish Wolfhounds, and produced one or two dogs of great size, but he was unable to carry his projects to an end, being sud- denly ordered to the Cape. He was thoroughly convinced that the recovery of this breed in its pristine grandeur and magnificence was only a question of time if the would-be breeders were steadfast in their endeavours. He had laid down for himself certain rules in breeding, which are given :

" I. Quality is very much more dependent on the dam than on the sire.

" 2. Bone or size, on the contrary, is far more dependent on the sire.

" 3. Colour is almost wholly dependent on the sire.

" 4. The coat is almost wholly independent of the sire.

" 5. Muscular development and general form is chiefly dependent on the dam.

"6. All these are modified by the fact that the purer bred will (other things being the same) influence the progeny more than the other.

" 7. Every decided cross increases the size by one or two inches. This is merely an opinion formed from my own experience and observation ; but I have never seen it carried out far enough to make me certain in my own mind about it.

" I, 2, 3, 4, and 5 I have not merely met with as the opinions of other people, but I have proved them incontestably myself. With regard to No. I ' Quality ' I mean ' blood,' nervous development, vigour, energy, and character."

He concludes by saying : " Anyhow, with Ulmer Boarhounds and Russian Wolfhounds (of course, in conjunction with the Deerhound and such of the Irish breed as are in existence) I believe it is quite possible to re-establish the old breed of Irish Greyhounds in all their former beauty and power. I should, however, be content with perfection of form and coat at 34 inches."

The writer is not prepared to coincide entirely with the above rules, but in the main he considers them correct, and such as can safely be adopted by breeders. The Foxhound, the Pointer, the Shorthorn, and many breeds of sheep and pigs, have been brought to their present excellence by judicious crossing ; why should not the same principle be applied to the perfecting of the Irish Wolfhound ?

About the year 1863 the writer took the Irish Wolfhound question up, and instituted very searching inquiries after any specimens of the breed. For some time he did not meet with much success ; but about twelve years ago three distinct strains were brought to his notice viz., those of the late Sir J. Power of Kilfane, the late Mr. Baker of Ballytobin, and Mr. Mahoney of Dromore alas ! now all believed to be lost, save some of the descendants of the first two strains, which are in the writer's and one or two other hands. Isolated specimens were also heard of. The Kilfane strain owed their origin to dogs bred by Richardson, about 1840, who not content with writing, actively set to work to discover the breed ; from him Sir John Power had more than one specimen. Richardson obtained bitches from Mr. Carter of Bray (whose strain he mentions in his essay), and crossing these with a grand dog of great height, produced some remarkably fine dogs. It is also believed that this strain was descended from Hamilton Rowan's dog Bran, before mentioned. Of this strain also were the Ballytobin dogs. Mr. Baker was an enthusiast regarding all old Irish institutions, and having built himself a castle, he did all he could to increase the size of the deer in his park, also to restore to their original form the Irish Wolfdogs. To this end he procured the best specimens, wherever to be had, regardless of cost, and at his death, some twelve years ago, he left a kennel of really fine dogs. The pick of these bequeathed to a friend a bitch, eventually came into the possession of the writer, and from her and from dogs of the writer's own breeding his present strain has sprung. The strain of Mr. Mahoney was originally procured from Sir John Power, and Mr. Mahoney thus speaks of them :

"The pedigree I had, but I do not think I could now find it. I remember that the grandsire or the great-grandsire was one of the last old Irish dogs which I have an idea belonged to the famous Hamilton Rowan ; but of this I am not certain. As wolves disappeared in Ireland the dogs gradually fell away also. They were expensive to keep, and fiom the fifteenth century the diet of the people gradually changed from .being almost exclusively animal to being purely vegetable. Thus there was no food to preserve the size and power of the dogs. The race of red deer also became extinct, except in the mountains of Kerry, where a few wandered ; but under the care of Lord Kenmare and Mr. Herbert, and their successors, have developed into noble breeds without a cross. Thus there was no inducement to extenuate the old powerful dog into the swifter but sparer Deerhound, and the few specimens that remained preserved the original characteristics ; while in Scotland the cause that preserved the race from extinction tended to change its qualities and older heroic proportions into the modern Deerhound.

" My idea was that by selection, avoiding in-breeding, and proper feeding, the old characteristics might in some generations be somewhat recovered. The colours were dark brindle, bluish-grey, and fawn. The bitch was usually lower, and therefore looked stouter than the dog ; indeed, she was so in proportion. They were stouter than Deerhounds."

Lord Derby, grandfather of the present lord, bred Irish Wolfhounds of evidently much the same character as the strains just alluded to. One of them is thus described by a gen- tleman : " She was a dark brindle brown, the coat of long wiry hair, the build heavier and head more massive than that of the Deerhound, the hair on the head thicker and lying flatter, and the ears rather larger, though lying close to the head." Some of her descendants were nearly black.

The writer has not only studied the subject carefully, but has bred extensively, with more or less success, though death and disease have hitherto robbed him of the finest specimens. Dogs have been bred approaching his ideal closely in looks, though wanting the required height and power ; also dogs of very great height, &c., which were somewhat wanting in character. Yet the very certain knowledge has been gained from these efforts that it is perfectly possible to breed the correct type of dog in the course of a few years bar losses from death and disease. It has been the steadfast endeavour of the writer to get crosses from such dogs of acknowledged Irish Wolfhound blood as were to be found, in preference to simply crossing opposite breeds to effect the desired object.

The Irish Kennel Club was courageous enough to establish a class for the breed of Irish Wolfhounds at their show, April, 1879, and it is strenuously to be hoped that this step in the right direction will be followed on the part of other shows.

Scot, the subject of the illustration, was from a Kilfane sire out of a fine red bitch. He is a powerful dog of strong red colour, deficient in coat, notably on head, and loses much in appearance thereby. Taken on the whole, however, he gives a very fair idea of the breed as to form and bulk ; but instead of standing only 29^ inches, as he does, he should be at least 33 inches, and be enlarged in proportion. The blood can be traced back for forty years. His dimensions are : Height, 29 inches; girth of chest, 33^ inches; length of head, 12 inches; girth of head, 18J inches; fore-arm, 8 inches ; which will serve to show what the general conformation of the dog is, though the head is represented as somewhat too deep behind the eyes in the engraving.

A very sensible letter was published in the Live Stock Journal, in 1879, by a German gentleman, from which the following extracts will prove of interest : " That the Irish Wolfhound is a pure ' Windhound ' [Greyhound] I believe as little as that it is a pure Dane. As opposed to the wolf the largest ' Windhound ' is not strong enough, and the Dane, on account of its short fine hair, is too vulnerable. I think the Irish Wolfhound is the Scotch Deerhound with some blood from our modern large German Dogge [Boarhound ?] to give him the necessary strength."

The writer has had painted, under his close superintendence and guidance, a portrait of an Irish Wolfhound of 35 inches, life-size, of a grey colour, and it presents to the vision a most striking and remarkable animal of a very majestic and beautiful appearance, far, far beyond any dog the writer has ever seen in grandeur of looks.

In concluding this article, the writer would express his astonishment that so noble and attractive a breed of dog should have found so few supporters. Of all dogs the monarch and the most majestic, shall he be allowed to drop from our supine grasp ?
The above article being from the pen of so able an authority, must command attention from all classes of the community who are interested in dogs. As Mr. Graham remarks, it is astonishing -that so noble and attractive a breed is so poorly supported by admirers of the canine race. A few enthusiastic breeders would rescue it from the position into which it has fallen ; and from the success which is attending the efforts of those gentlemen who are now interesting themselves on its behalf, we are confident that a breed of Irish Wolfhounds could soon be produced, which, if not actually of the old original strain, would at least fairly represent the breed in modern times.


THE transition from the Irish Wolfhound to the Deerhound is easy and natural, as in the latter we unmistakably have the descendant of the former. The subject is, moreover, the more easily treated of, as we have many excellent specimens of the Deerhound before us. Indeed, the examples of the breed now scattered in considerable profusion throughout the land are far finer dogs than those of which much boast was made forty years ago.

The earliest records we have of the Deerhound as a distinct breed are, it is believed, given to us by Pennant, who, in his tour in 1769, says : " I saw also at Castle Gordon a true Highland Greyhound, which has become very scarce. It was of a large size, strong, deep-chested, and covered with very long and rough hair. This kind was in great vogue in former days, and used in vast numbers at the magnificent stag-chases by the powerful chieftains."

Then Macpherson, in his professed translation of Ossian's poems (1773), gives testimony worthless, no doubt, as regards the Irish Wolfhound, but having a decided value when the Deerhound is considered, as it was almost a certainty that he wrote his descriptions from the living animal. The following extracts will be found of interest : " Fingal agreed to hunt in the Forest of Sledale, in company with the Sutherland chief his contemporary, for the purpose of trying the comparative merits of their dogs. Fingal brought his celebrated dog Bran to Sutherland, in order to compete with an equally famous dog belonging to the Sutherland chief, and the only one in the country supposed to be a match for him. The approaching contest between these fine animals created great interest. White-breasted Bran was superior to the whole of Fingal's other dogs, even to the ' surly strength of Luath ; ' but the Sutherland dog known by the full-sounding name of Phorp was incomparably the best and most powerful dog that ever eyed a deer in his master's forests."

Phorp was black in colour, and his points are thus described :

" ' Two yellow feet such as Bran had,
Two black eyes,
And a white breast,
A back narrow and fair,
As required for hunting,
And two erect ears of a dark red-brown.'
" Towards the close of the day, after some severe runs which, however, still left the comparative merits of the two dogs a subject of hot dispute Bran and Phorp were brought front to front to prove their courage ; and they were no sooner untied than they sprang at each other and fought desperately. Phorp seemed about to overcome Bran, when his master, the Sutherland chief, unwilling that either of them should be killed, called out 'Let each of us take away hia- dog.' Fingal objected to this, whereupon the Sutherland chief said with a taunt that it was now evident that the Fingalians did not possess a dog that could match with Phorp.

" Angered and mortified, Fingal immediately extended his ' venomous paw,' as it is called (for the tradition represents him as possessing supernatural power), and with one hand he seized Phorp by the neck, and with the other which was a charmed and destructive one he tore out the brave animal's heart. This adventure occurred at a place near the March, between the parishes of Clyne and Wildonan, still called ' Lcck na Con ' (the stone of the dogs), there having been placed a large stone on the spot where they fought. The ground over which Fingal and the Sutherland chief hunted that day is called ' Dirri-leck-Con.' Bran suffered so severely in the fight that he died in Glen Loth before leaving the forest, and was buried there ; a huge cairn was heaped over him, which still remains, and is known by the name of ' Cairn Bran.' "

Our next authority is Bewick (1792). Having described the Irish Wolfhound, he then goes on to say: "Next to this in size and strength is the Scottish Highland Greyhound or Wolfdog, which was formerly used by the chieftains of that country in their grand hunting- parties. One of them, which we saw some years ago, was a large, powerful, fierce-looking dog ; its ears were pendulous, and its eyes half hid in the hair ; its body was strong and muscular, and covered with harsh, wiry, reddish hair, mixed with white."

The "Encyclopaedia Britannica" (1/97) says: "The variety called the Highland Gre-hound, and now become very scarce, is of great size, strong, deep-chested, and covered with long rough hair. This kind was much esteemed in former days, and used in great numbers by the powerful chieftains in their magnificent hunting matches. It had as sagacious nostrils as the Bloodhound, and was as fierce."

There is no allusion to the Deerhound in the "Sportsman's Cabinet," published in 1803; and, curiously enough, but little information regarding him from the beginning of this century up to about 1838, when McNeill wrote regarding him and the Irish Wolfhound in Scrope's book. That the breed was kept up in some families will be presently shown in one case it was claimed that it had been in the owner's family for at least one hundred years. However, be that as it may, we have few, if any, reliable accounts of this dog until McNeill wrote. That gentleman, writing in 1838, says: "It is not a little remarkable that the species of dog which has been longest in use in this country for the purposes of the chase should be that which is least known to the present generation of naturalists and sportsmen."

Mr. McNeill takes exception to the crosses which had been resorted to by " Glengarry " and others for the purpose of giving increased vigour and size to a breed then rapidly degenerating ; but there seems every reason to suppose that had it not been for these judicious crosses the breed would have been almost extinct : at any rate, it would still further have deteriorated. It is very evident, from the following description of Captain McNeill's Buskar, that the Deerhound of forty years ago was a very inferior animal in size and power to the Deerhound of the present day, though possibly he equalled him in courage and speed. Buskar was a sandy-coloured dog, with dark ears, which were nearly erect when excited. He stood 28 inches in height, girthed 32 inches round the chest, and weighed 85 Ibs. The hair was hard, not very rough, wiry only on head and legs. He was pupped in 1832, and was looked upon as a remarkably staunch and useful dog. McNeill con- sidered that the purest dogs of his time were sandy or fawn in colour, and hard coated, but he also tells us that "there are dogs in the Lochabar district which are dark in colour

and have a softer coat." From " Chambers's Information for the People," published in 1842, the following extract is taken : " The Scottish Highland Greyhound will either hunt in packs or singly. He is an animal of great size and strength, and at the same time very swift of foot. In size he equals, if not excels, the Irish Greyhound. His head is long and the nose sharp; his ears short and somewhat pendulous at the tips ; his eyes are brilliant and very penetrating, and half-concealed by the long crisp hair which covers his face and whole body. He is remarkable for the depth of his chest, and tapers gradually towards the loins, which are of great strength and very muscular; his back is slightly arched; his hind quarters are powerfully formed, and his limbs strong and straight. The possession of these combined qualities particularly fit him for long endurance in the chase. His usual colour is reddish sand-colour mixed with white ; his tail is long and shaggy, which he carries high like the Staghound, although not quite so erect. He is a noble dog, and was used by the Scottish Highland chieftains in their great hunting parties, and is supposed to have descended in regular succession from the dogs of Ossian."

St. John, in his "Wild Sports of the Highlands," published in 1846, says: "The breed of Deerhounds, which had nearly become extinct, or at any rate was very rare a few years ago, has now become comparatively plentiful in all the Highland districts, owing to the in- creased extent of the preserved forests and the trouble taken by the different proprietors and renters of mountain shootings, who have collected and bred this noble race of dogs, regardless of expense and difficulties. The prices given for a well-bred and tried dog of this kind are so large that it repays the cost and trouble of rearing him. Fifty guineas is not an unusual price for a first-rate dog, while from twenty to thirty are frequently given for a tolerable one."

" Started this morning at daybreak with Donald and Malcolm Mohr, as he is called {Anglic^ Malcolm the Great, or Big Malcolm), who had brought his two Deerhounds Bran and Oscar, to show me how they could kill a stag. The dogs were perfect : Bran an immense but beautifully-made dog of a light colour, with black eyes and muzzle, his ears of a dark brown, soft and silky as a lady's hand, the rest of his coat being wiry and harsh, though not exactly rough and shaggy, like his comrade Oscar, who was long-haired and of a darker brindle colour, with sharp long muzzle, but the same soft ears as Bran, which, by-the-bye, is a distinctive mark of high breeding in these days."

The "Museum of Animated Nature," published in 1848 50, has the following: "In Scotland and Ireland there existed in very ancient times a noble breed of Greyhound, used for the chase of the wolf and the deer, which appears to us to be the pure source of our present breed ; it is quite as probable that the Matin is a modification of the ancient Greyhound of Europe, represented by the Irish Greyhound or Wolfdog, as that it is the source of that fine breed. Few, we believe, of the old Irish Greyhound exist. In Scotland the old Deerhound may still be met with, and though it exceeds the common Greyhound in size and strength, it is said to be below its ancient standard. With the extirpation of the wolf, the necessity of keeping up the breed to the highest perfection ceased. The hair is wiry, the chest remarkable for volume, and the limbs long and muscular."

Youatt furnishes us with this description of the Decrhound : "The Highland Grey- hound, or Deerhound, is the larger, stronger, and fiercer dog, and may readily be distinguished from the Lowland Scotch Greyhound by its pendulous and generally darker ears, and by the length of hair which almost covers his face. Many accounts have been given of the perfection of its scent, and it is said to have followed a wounded deer during two successive days. He is usually two inches taller than the Scotch Greyhound. The head is carried particularly high, and gives to the animal a noble appearance. The limbs are exceedingly muscular ; his back beautifully arched. The tail is long and curved, but assumes the form of almost a straight line when he is much excited. The only fault these dogs have is their occasional ill-temper or ferocity ; but this does not extend to the owner and his family."

Richardson, writing about 1848, gives the following regarding the Deerhound: "The Highland Deerhound presents the general aspect of a Highland Greyhound, especially in all the points on which speed and power depend ; but he is built more coarsely and altogether on a larger and more robust scale. The shoulder is also more elevated, the neck thicker, head and muzzle coarser, and the bone more massive. The Deerhound stands from twenty-eight to thirty inches in height at the shoulders ; his coat is rough and the hair strong ; colour usually iron-grey, sandy, yellow, or white ; all colours should have the muzzle and tips of the ears black ; a tuft or pencil of dark hair on the tip of the ear is a proof of high blood. This is a very powerful dog, equally staunch and faithful ; and when the Scottish mountains swarmed with stags and roes, it was held in high estimation, as being capable of following the deer over surfaces too rough and fatiguing for the ordinary hounds of the low country. The general aspect of the Highland hound is commanding and fierce. His head is long, and muzzle rather sharp ; his ears pendulous, but not long ; his eyes large, keen, and penetrating, half concealed among the long, stiff, and bristly hair with which his face is covered ; his body is very strong and muscular, deep-chested, tapering towards the loins, and his back slightly arched. His hind quarters are furnished with large prominent muscles, and his legs are long, strong-boned, and straight a combination of qualities which gives him that speed and long endurance for which he is so eminently distinguished. This is the dog formerly used by the Highland chieftains of Scotland in their grand hunting parties, and is in all probability the same noble dog used in the time of Ossian."

The last author treating of the Deerhound that will be alluded to is " Idstone," who brought out his useful book on "The Dog," in the year 1872; but as a considerable portion of the information in the article on the Deerhound therein contained was furnished by the present writer, he will embody it in this treatise as he proceeds. At the same time a few extracts which he cannot lay claim to will not be out of place.

" Until within the last few years the breed was very scarce, for they were kept by the few men who owned the Scotch forests or wide wild tracts of deer-park in the less populated parts of England.

" The fault of the present day with Deerhounds is certainly the short body, the thick, and, as the ignorant consider, the necessarily strong jaw, and the open, loose, flat foot. In proportion to the weight, the foot 'goes,' or deteriorates, and the strain upon a Deerhound's foot at speed amongst stones and boulders, ' in view,' and roused to desperation, is greater than that imposed upon any other domesticated animal. No dog but the ' rough-footed Scot ' could stand it.

" The Deerhound is one of the oldest breeds we have. I should be inclined to think that it is an imported breed. He is probably identical with the ' Strong Irish Grey- hound ' mentioned as employed in the Earl of Mar's chase of the red deer, in 1618, by Taylor, in his ' Pennilesse Pilgrimage.'

The oldest strain known is, without doubt, that of the late Mr. Menzies, of Chesthill, on Loch Tay. It is claimed, with every just right, no doubt, that this strain has been in the hands of Mr. Menzies' ancestors for something like eighty to ninety years. Whether it still exists in its integrity the writer is unable to say decidedly ; but he is under the impression that as a distinct strain it has disappeared, though there are several dogs in existence that inherit the blood, and that not very distantly. It was asserted that during the time the breed had been in the Menzies family it had only thrice been recruited from outside! Mr. Potter, M.P. for Rochdale, then residing at Pitnacree, Perthshire, had, in 1860, a dog, called Oscar, from Mr. Menzies, and subsequently a bitch, called Lufra, from him. From these many puppies were bred, and given away by him with a liberal hand. A bitch was given to the late Dr. Cox, of Manchester, and from her and Dr. Cox's Ross (by Duke of Devonshire's Roswell, out of Sir R. Peel's Brenda) was bred Buz, the property of Mr. R. Hood Wright, of Birkby Hall, Cark, Carnforth. From this bitch Mr. Wright bred, by a dog (Oscar) of the Duke of Sutherland's breed, his celebrated prize-taker Bevis. It may be here mentioned that Oscar was sold to Prince Albert Solms, of Braunfels, and went to Germany some years ago. The brother to Mr. Cox's Lufra was presented to Menotti Garibaldi, for hunting the mouflon in Sardinia. Oscar, Mr Potter's original Chesthill dog, was given to the late Lord Breadalbane ; and descendants of Oscar and Lufra were presented by Mr. Potter to Mr. Cunliffe Brooks, M.P., who, it is believed, has the breed now indeed, the finest dog at Balmoral lately was one of Mr. C. Brooks's breeding. Mr. Hickman, of Westfield, Selly Hill, near Birmingham, exhibited two brindle dogs at the last Birming- ham Show, got by his celebrated Morni out of Garry, by Chesthill Ossian Lufra. Garry is the property of Mr. Spencer Lucy, of Charlcote. Next to the Chesthill strain,, the earliest that the writer knows of is that of Mr. Morrison, of Scalascraig, Glenelg. Mr. John Cameron, of Moy, a farmer residing near Fortwilliam, formerly in service with " Glengarry " as keeper, can remember this breed as far back as 1830. From Bran, a celebrated dog belonging to Mr. Morrison (by him given to McNiel of Colonsay, and afterwards presented by McNiel to Prince Albert), was descended Torrom, the grandsire of Gillespie's celebrated Torrom. The strain of McNiel of Colonsay was known about 1832, and from his strain many of our modern dogs claim descent. The late Mr. Bateson, of Cambusmere in Sutherlandshire, deceased early in 1879, became possessed of a brace of this breed about 1845, named Torrish and Morven. These dogs were sketched by Landseer, the original being now in the hands of Mr. Bateson's family ; and he considered them at the time the finest Deerhounds he had ever seen. They were two magnificent dogs, both very rough and of great height and power : Morven reddish in colour, Torrish, darker greyish-brown ; Torrish the thickest and biggest in bone, Morven the highest. It is believed this dog left no progeny, though there is an old dog, belonging to the Marquis of Bristol, at Ickworth Park, who is descended in a straight line from his brother Torrish. This dog, Giaour, was bred by Mr. John Bateson, brother to the late Mr. Bateson of Cambusmere, and to him the writer is indebted for all the information regarding these dogs. The breed was entirely in his and his brother's hands from 1845 to the present time, so there can be no doubt regarding its authentic character. The McNiel strain was also owned by Mr. Meredith of Torrish, Sutherlandshire. From a bitch bred by Mr. McNiel, and owned by Mr. Meredith, the Duke of Sutherland's Loyal was bred. Loyal was the dam of the dog Oscar, purchased by Prince Solms, Mr. Cameron's (of Lochiel) Pirate being the sire. As far as can be ascertained, the McNiel dogs in their earliest form were a smaller dog than the present animal, and hardly so rough in the coat, not much exceeding in size the dog, now nearly extinct, that was known as the Scotch Greyhound.

Sir John McNiel was kind enough to furnish the writer, in 1868, with the following information about his breed in later times :

"The largest and finest dog I ever bred or ever saw was my Oscar. His speed was such that in a straight run he was never beaten by any dog, rough or smooth ; and in his best running condition he weighed ninety-four pounds."

From this it will be seen that the McNeil strain had gained both in size and weight since the time Buskar was looked upon as such a wonder.

Another celebrated strain was owned by a Scottish nobleman up to within the last twenty-six years, since which period he has given them up ; but some of the blood has passed into other hands, and has been infused in and incorporated with our present strains. The following information furnished by him will be read with much interest :

"I have never had in my possession a dog above 31 inches. Black Bran, so called to distinguish him from my famous Bran, stood 31 inches in height, and at eighteen months old measured 33! inches round the chest. He was a first-rate dog. I have seen a dog 34 inches in height, but he was an ill-shaped and utterly useless animal. Sir St. George Gore's Gruim was, I believe, about 32 or 33 inches in height, well-shaped, and a very excellent dog. Gruim was about the year 1843-44, Black Bran about 1850-51, at their best. Bran (the famous) was 29 inches high, and measured 31 J inches round the chest. In shape he was long and low, and so evenly made that he looked much smaller than he really was. He was dark brown at the top of his head something of the colour of a yell-hind ; ears coal black ; muzzle black, with a little patch in front of the under-jaw something like the lips of a roe ; back, sides, quarters, and outside of legs yellowish-fawn deepening in winter time, when his coat was longer, into a sort of yellowish rusty-grey ; tail just tipped with white ; head quite smooth to behind the ears ; ears quite smooth and velvety ; coat over body and sides not very long, very harsh and wiry ; legs and feet quite smooth ; coat, in winter, about three inches long. Bran was at his best about 1844-45. He was entered to his first stag at nine months old (too early), and killed his last stag at nine years old. His greatest feat was the killing of two unwounded stags single- handed in about three-quarters of an hour. The first bore 10 points ; the second 1 1. The pure breed was at one time confined to a very few different kennels. I think my own, and those of Mr. McNeil, of Colonsay, the late Mr. Stewart Menzies, of Chesthill, and one or two others, were the only gentlemen's kennels in which it was preserved. There were also three or four large farmers in various parts of the country who knew the value of the true breed, and took great pains to preserve the pure strain ; but since the great increase of deer forests, in most of which the use of Deerhounds is strictly prohibited, the breeding of these dogs has been very much discontinued, and it is now exceedingly difficult to find one worth anything. Colonel Inge and Lord H. Bentinck have both got my blood. I do not like the Glengarry blood. It was spoilt many years ago by old Glengarry crossing his dogs with the Bloodhound."

The Marquis of Breadalbane, many years ago, owned a famous strain of Deerhounds. They were kept at the Black Mount Forest Lodge. As many as fifty or sixty were kept. A dog called King of the Forest was of extraordinary size. He was an ancestor of a well-known modern prize-taker, also of great size, called Torrom, bred and first exhibited by Mr. Cameron of Lochiel.

The late Sir St. George Gore owned some very fine Deerhounds ; one of his is stated to have stood 32 inches. A young dog shown by him at Birmingham, about thirteen years ago. stood nearly 31 inches, and weighed 105 Ibs. ; a remarkably fine, well-shaped dog, of a cream colour, but nearly smooth-coated. A bitch, Corrie, brindled, was also large, but poor in coat.

The strain of the late Lord H. Bentinck was very similar to Sir St. G. Gore's indeed, they bred together for years, and the consequence was that Lord Henry's strain was sadly devoid of coat A bitch he owned, called Ferret, of McNeil of Colonsay's breed, was smooth, and from her, in all probability, the want of coat was introduced ; indeed, in many of the older strains the coat would appear to have been decidedly indifferent, to say the least of it. Lord Henry's Fingal, considered by him to be one of his very best, was a large red dog, almost smooth. From a bitch of this breed, called Carrac, at one time owned by the writer, many of our best modern dogs are descended. At Lord Henry's death his dogs were sold at Edinburgh in 1871, realising by no means large prices.

Some extremely fine Deerhounds were owned many years ago by the late Duke of Leeds.

Mr. Campbell of Monzie, Perthshire, had a very pure breed of Deerhounds about fifteen or twenty years ago. " Lochiel," speaking of them, says : " I doubt if any Deerhounds except Mr. Campbell's of Monzie are quite pure. There were very few of them left at his death. His was the best and purest blood in the North." From his dog Grumach Mr. Cameron's Pirate and Torrom were bred.

Lieutenant-Colonel Inge of Thorpe for many years bred Deerhounds of remarkably good descent; but he ceased to do so about 1862, when he sent sixteen to be sold at Aldridge's. They fetched prices ranging from 15 to 60 guineas. His celebrated old dog Valiant was bought in at a large figure. They were all well-made dogs and well covered with rough hair, but were not remarkable for size. Colonel Inge kad the honour of winning the first prize with Valiant at the first dog show ever held at Birmingham in 1861. He was a very rough brindle dog of lengthy make. Valiant's pedigree was given as by Lord Saltoun's famous Bran out of Seaforth's Vengeance, and he was presented to Colonel Inge when a puppy.

The late Mr. John Cole, for many years head keeper to Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Park, owned several splendid Deerhounds, bred from Prince Albert's Hector of Monzie's breed, and a bitch of a strain he had brought from Chillingham. At his death the writer purchased three, amongst them the well-known and superb dog Keildar and his sister Hag, a bitch of great size and very good shape, but wanting in coat.

Now to touch on breeders of the present day.

The Duke of Sutherland owns good-looking and useful dogs, but they are small, and a doubt is expressed in some quarters as to their true breeding. Regarding some of those formerly in his possession there, however, can be no doubt.

Mr. Spencer Lucy of Charlcote has some of the strain of Menzies of Chesthill, as before-mentioned, and has been crossing with one or two well-known prize-takers it is believed with satisfactory results.

Mr. Gillespie of Tulloch, Kingussie, should be mentioned here, being the breeder and owner of the far-famed Torrom. Though Mr. Gillespie was hardly to be considered a breeder of Deerhounds, yet this dog was such a notoriously good one that, in justice to the subject, notice of his breeder cannot be omitted.

Mr. Donald Cameron of Lochiel is well known to Deerhound lovers as the breeder of Pirate and the giant Torrom. These dogs were from a bitch, Loy, by Mr. Gillespie's Torrom, by Campbell of Monzie's Grumach.

Mr. H. Chaworth Musters is known widely as the owner of the above-mentioned Torrom, which was purchased from " Lochiel " by a Mr. Bowles when exhibited at the Birmingham show in 1869, he then being three years old. He was afterwards purchased by Mr. Musters, and has been extensively bred from, with varied success.

Mr. R. Hood Wright has also bred some very fair Deerhounds. He is mentioned before as having the strain of Menzies of Chesthill in his kennels.

The late Sydney Dobell owned a very capital breed of Deerhound, descended from a bitch presented to him by Flora Macdonald of Skye. These dogs have had much to do with some of the best dogs now extant. They were said to be of pure Glengarry breed.

The last, and perhaps the most successful, breeder to whom allusion will be made is Mr. Thomas Morse. The dogs bred by this gentleman have proved themselves most successful candidates for public favour, and have gone to the top of the tree so far as prize-taking is concerned, and no doubt, where opportunity has offered, have proved themselves as good and true as they unquestionably are good-looking. Amongst them, Mr. Hemming's Linda, Mr. Chinnery's Duke, and Mr. Hay's Rufus, may be mentioned. Mr. Morse decidedly owes much, if not all, of his success to his judicious use of that magnificent dog Keildar, and the produce have in many instances thrown to him in a marked manner, even so far as two generations off.

Before concluding this notice of breeders, the Hon. Mrs. Deane Morgan, living in Co. Wexford, Irela-nd, should be mentioned, who now has dogs descended from pure strains brought from Scotland many years ago. It is believed these are fine animals, of which their owner is re- markably proud. One was given by her to Mr. George Dennis, Her Majesty's Consul in Sicily, and is reported by him to be an extraordinarily fine and noble animal. Mr. Dennis has lately taken a very well-descended young bitch out to Sicily to mate with him.

Mr. George Cupples has also bred many good dogs, amongst them Spey, now the property of Mr. Morse selected to illustrate this article. There are several other breeders of years gone by whom the writer had perhaps better mention by name, and though he personally knows but little of their strains, they were reckoned to be remarkably good ones namely, Lord Seaforth, McDonald of Keppoch, McKenzie of Kintail, and General Ross of Glenmoidart.

It is now proposed to allude to a few of the largest " noted " dogs before proceeding to describe generally the "cracks" of the breed that have arisen during the last thirty-five years.


Sir St. George Gore's Gruim has already been noticed. He was said to stand 32 to 33 inches (?), and was a very well-shaped and excellent dog. He was at his prime about 1843-44.

Black Bran, a 31-inch dog, in reality a black brindle, was a remarkably good dog about 1850-51.

The Marquis of Breadalbane's King of the Forest was a dog of extraordinary size, being, it is supposed, 33 inches high. He was held to be a good dog.

An unusually fine dog, called Alder, was shown many times about 1863-67 -the property of Mr. Beasley, bred, it was asserted, by Sir John McNeil of Colonsay that stood about 31^ inches, and probably weighed nolbs. This was a very well-shaped dog, not too bulky, of a dark brindle colour ; coat very hard. Unfortunately, this dog never got any descendants worthy of himself. He was a grand animal.

In later years we have Torrom, first shown at Birmingham by his breeder, Mr. Donald Cameron of Lochiel, in 1869, he then being three years old. He afterwards passed into the possession of Mr. H. Chaworth Musters, and won numerous prizes, being known as Champion Old Torrom. This dog, as far as could be ascertained, threw back to some ancestor of gigantic size probably Lord Breadalbane's King of the Forest. He was an extraordinarily heavy dog for a Deerhound, and usually considered lumbersome, and found too much, so for work by his owner, who got rid of him for this reason. His head was very massive, and his coat very full and soft ; legs by no means straight a weakness which many of his descendants have inherited. He was a medium brownish colour, faintly brindle, very long in make ; ears very coarse, and tail of extreme length. He stood 3.1 inches, girthed 35, and weighed, fat, about 110 Ibs.

His two sons Monzie, out of Brenda, bred by and the property of Mr. Musters, and Young Torrom, out of Braie, bred by Mr. Hancock are both dogs of great size, standing 31 inches and weighing about 105 Ibs.; the former considerably the better dog of the two. The latter dog was exported to America some three years ago-.

Of a different strain going direct back to McNiel's dogs we have Hector, the property of Mr. Dadley, head-keeper to the Marquis of Bristol a splendid dog, of darkish brindle colour, good rough coat, and well-shaped, by Giaour, out of Hylda ; height, 31 inches; girth, 35; weight, 105 Ibs. A good dog with deer, and thoroughly well-bred probably the best-bred dog now extant.

His two sons Oscar, the property of Mr. Phillips, Croxton House, Boxford, a very fine symmetrical dog, of great length, rather pale-fawn brindle, out of Lufra, a bitch of small size and somewhat uncertain pedigree, standing 31 inches and weighing about 105 Ibs. ; and Sir Bors, the property of Lieutenant-Colonel Leyland, a dog of similar colour, out of Lufra also (a prior litter), a very grand dog in every way. He stands 31 inches, girths 35, and weighs 105 Ibs.

To go on to a general notice of the cracks. First to be noticed is Mr. Gillespie's celebrated dog Torrom, which is here described in Mr. Gillespie's own words : " He did not stand very high, but was remarkably well formed for strength and speed ; his weight I do not know ; colour steel-grey (what we call blue) ; coat long and silky, with an under- growth of close downy hair of a darker shade ; ears small, and darker in colour than body, with silver-grey dots and tipped with silver-grey silky hair ; he also had a great deal of the same silver-grey silky hair on his face ; tail long and straight, with half turned to one side when erect ; legs very strong, but clean and beautifully formed ; feet small, round, and cat-like ; chest very deep and round ; neck long, arched, and strong ; head small, but with wonderful power of jaw (I have seen him break the shoulder of very many red deer stags with a single twist) ; back very strong and arched ; loins of wonderful strength. Torrom was by Faust, a dog (I believe tile last) that belonged to Mrs. McDonnell, wife of the late Glengarry, and was one of the finest- looking dogs I have seen ; his dam was Garry, a bitch given to me by Gordon Gumming when he last started for Africa. On Cumming's return I gave him back the bitch, which I believe he afterwards sold to Sir St. George Gore. Torrom when little more than a year old proved himself the best dog at deer I ever saw or expect to see.

All dogs of any note at the present time can trace their descent back to this ex- ceedingly grand specimen of the race. Mr. Campbell of Monzie's Greumah was a par- ticularly nice dog, got by a fine dog belonging to General Ross of Glenmoidart, of the Keppoch strain, out of a Monzie bitch. He was the sire of Pirate and Torrom, bred by Mr. Cameron of Lochiel. Mr. Cameron writes thus regarding this fine dog : " He was a magnificent dog, not so massive as his son (Champion Torrom), but more like a Deer- hound. He was a strong-framed dog, with plenty of hair, of a blue-brindle colour. He was very like the dog you refer to as belonging to Mr. Gillespie."

Keildar, bred by the late Mr. Cole, head-keeper of Windsor Park, was one of the most elegant and aristocratic-looking Deerhounds ever seen. He was a dog of great length, and yet possessed great speed and power. He was in constant use in Windsor Park for stalking deer, and was very adept at his work. He showed high breeding and symmetry to a remarkable extent. His height was a full 30 inches, girth 33^, and weight 95 Ibs. ; colour bluish-fawn, slightly brindled, the muzzle and ears, being blue; coat rather soft in character and tolerably full. He was by a handsome dog (Oscar), belonging to Mr. Bridge, of the breed of McKenzie of Applecross. His descendants have made their mark by their size, high breeding, and good looks. Amongst them are the well-known Linda, which resembles her sire in an extraordinary degree, his son Rufus, and amongst his grandsons Hector and Duke, Mr. Phillips' Oscar and Lieut-Colonel Leyland's Sir Bors being his great-grandsons. Mr. Field's Bran, own brother, same litter as Keildar, was only slightly his inferior, and in mpst ways a very similar dog. Amongst his descendants Morni is perhaps the most remarkable. Mr. Cyril Dobell brother to Sydney owned a capital dog of good size in Bevis, the sire of Linda's dam and other good dogs. He was a sandy dog of good coat, stood 30 inches, and weighed probably near 100 Ibs., being rather short in make. Major Robertson's Oscar, a nice brindle dog of good coat, long made, bred by General Ross of Glenmoidart, stood about 29 inches, and was a well-made, handsome dog. From him were bred some good dogs out of Sydney Dobell's Maida, and he was the sire of Morni out of a bitch by Field's Bran, out of Carrac.

Mr. Hickman's Morni was a nice dog, of a greyish-brindle colour, coat somewhat soft. He stood 30 inches, girthed 34, and weighed about 98 Ibs. Showed quality and breeding.

Pirate, the property of Cameron of Lochiel, and own brother to the celebrated Champion Old Torrom (Mr. Musters'), was a smaller, more compact, and far better-made dog than his gigantic brother. Very dark in colour blue-brindle he had a harder and more dense coat than Torrom, and was in every respect his superior. He stood about 29 inches, and was considered " perfect " at work by his owner. He got some very nice stock, but none, it is believed, proved large, though capital dogs for work.

Duke, at one time the property of Mr. Chinnery, winner of several first prizes, was a dark, grizzled, hard-coated dog perhaps somewhat deficient in hair on head and legs and a handsome, well-built dog, though somewhat light of bone. He stood 30 inches, and was a fairly lengthy dog.

Spey, the bitch selected for illustration, was bred by Mr. Cupples, and has been owned for many years by Mr. Morse, who has bred many very superior dogs from her. She is about 27 inches in height and of a lengthy frame. Coat very hard and good. Colour is shown in illustration. Duke was her son, and resembled her strongly in coat and colour. She is a well-descended bitch, of thoroughly good appearance.

Mr. Musters' Young Torrom, winner of an extraordinary number of prizes, is a much superior dog to his sire, Old Champion Torrom, but is considerably his inferior in size. He is a dark slate colour, with a lighter head, of not very taking expression, extremely long and strong in make ; coat soft and dense. A striking feature in this strain is their very long sweeping tail.

Mr. Wright's Bevis, a darkish red-brown brindle dog of about 29 inches, is a thoroughly well-bred dog ; perhaps, excepting Hector, the best bred Deerhound out. His coat is very long and shaggy, and extends itself to his ears, very much to the detriment of his appear- ance. He is a compact, well-shaped dog.

Dr. Haddon has shown a handsome bitch, called Lufra, with a remarkably handsome head and good coat which former feature she has transmitted to her son, by Young Torrom (Mr. Musters'), Roy by name. The bitch has no ascertained pedigree.

There are many other good and fine dogs scattered through the country which could be mentioned ; but as this is not a stud book, it is considered unnecessary to do so.

The Deerhound will now be closely described. As regards size many arguments are put forward. In former days when the red deer was coursed (as hares are) without having previously been wounded, the larger and more powerful the dog was, provided that the Grey- hound's speed and activity were preserved, the more was he valued ; but in these degenerate days, when deer are usually brought to book without the aid of dogs or often even in their presence, an animal that can find and bay a wounded stag is considered to be all that is required. In some few cases the Deerhound proper is used, but this is being fast allowed to fall into disuse in the majority of cases. To run into and hold a full-grown stag, a large and strong dog is certainly required, and it was found that a dog averaging 29 to 30 inches was the correct animal. His girth should be great and chest deep without being too flat-sided ; for a 3O-inch dog, 34 inches should be the average. The fore-arm, below elbow, should measure 8 inches, and the dog weigh from 95 to 105 Ibs. Should the dog stand as much as 31 inches, as is sometimes the case, these dimensions would be slightly exceeded. He should be of lengthy make. The average for bitches, which are very much less than the dogs, would be as follows : Height, 26 inches; girth, 29 inches ; weight, 65 to 70 Ibs. In figure and conformation this dog should closely approximate to the smooth Greyhound, allowance being made for his superior stature and bulk. The head should be long and lean, rather wider behind the ears, yet not suddenly widening ; neck long, strong, and arched ; body long ; back slightly curved upwards, descending towards tail ; legs very strong and straight ; feet round, well and firmly set ; quarters well-developed, and equal to propelling the animal with extreme velocity ; ears small, semi- erect, dark in colour, and smooth, though several strains really good ones show a hairy ear; tail long and free from curl, having a curve towards the tip only. The general appearance should be striking, elegant, and aristocratic to a marked extent, and nobility of carriage is a very strong feature in the breed. The coat should be coarse and hard, full and dense on head, body, legs, and tail, without being " exaggerated ; " that on the head should be softer in character than that on the body ; the hair over eyes and under jaws being of greater length, and rather more wiry than that on the rest of the head. The well-covered head gives much "character," and adds vastly to the general beauty of this magnificent dog. The length of the hair should be from three to four inches. Some breeders hold that no Deerhound is worthy of notice unless he has a good rough head, with plenty of beard and coat generally ; also, that the purity of a smooth skulled dog is to be doubted. Here, however, they are at fault, as several of the best known dogs have had nearly smooth heads.

In colour the Deerhound varies much from nearly black, through dark brindle, blue, light brindle, grey, fawn, and sandy, and cream of all shades, to pure white. Black-and-tan dogs of the breed have also been known. As a matter of taste, the darker colours, as iron- grey and brindle, are to be preferred ; but many first-class specimens have been and are of a lighter colour. On a dark heath a light-coloured dog shows plainer.

These dogs are usually remarkably fine and graceful jumpers, and possessed of great activity. In the matter of speed they often equal the smooth Greyhound, but owing to their great size are unequal to making such quick turns as their smaller congener. The scenting powers are developed in a remarkable way, and many wonderful tales are told of the tracking powers of these dogs. When unsighted, they often recover for their masters "cold" stags by their unerring powers in this line.

They are bad swimmers, but occasionally will take the water, and never shrink from it when in pursuit of their quarry.

The Deerhound is justly considered a difficult dog to rear, and to a certain degree delicate, though some authors put him forward as being the " hardiest of the hardy." They also are not a long-lived dog.

It was supposed that the gradual dying out of the practice of coursing the red deer would soon put an end to the breeding of the Deerhound ; but such, happily, is not the case. This dog, in reality, has wonderfully increased the last twenty years, and is now, compara- tively speaking, common. His beauty, gentleness, power, and courage, have so recommended him as a pet and companion, and his appearance is so ornamental and graceful, that he is highly esteemed by all the gentle in the land ; and the fear that the breed would become extinct has long since vanished.

The late Sir St. George Gore, a breeder of experience, was of opinion that the Deer- hounds of the present day are far finer than they were thirty and forty years ago ; also that a dog could not then be found to run at 85 Ibs., whereas now the standard is from 90 to 100 Ibs.

Since Lord Henry Bentinck's demise in 1871 no large kennels of Deerhounds remain. Formerly there were from twenty to sixty kept in several kennels ; at the same time, many magnificent specimens are scattered broadcast through the land, as many as six or seven, or even more, being in the same hands, and it is probable that instead of having decreased ; n numbers it has increased considerably ; where one person owned a Deerhound or two formerly twenty do so now. Lord Breadalbane, the Duke of Athol, Lord H. Bentinck, " Glengarry," and others, kept large kennels of these superb dogs, but they have all passed away now.

This article will hardly be considered complete unless some allusion be made to the much-vexed question of cross-breeding.


"Idstone" says : " Many crosses have been adopted, as I have already observed, and one of the Deerhound and Mastiff has been used by the proprietor of a deer-pack in my immediate neighbourhood, where there is a fine herd of red and fallow deer. Though I prefer the Deerhound, it must be granted that whilst the breed was not procurable such a measure as manufacturing a dog for the work was meritorious. The best I have noticed of this description were produced by the skill and patience of Mr. Norwood, of the South- Western Railway, at Waterloo. I have never seen these hounds in action, but I have been assured that nothing can be finer than their work. They had the race-horse points, the long neck, the clean head, the bright intel- lectual eye, the long sloping shoulder, the muscular arms, the straight legs, the close well-knit feet, the wide muscular arched back and loins, the deep back ribs, the large girth, the esprit, the life, the activity which when controlled and schooled is essential to every domesticated animal."

It is a well-known fact that the late "Glengarry," finding the breed of Deerhound de- teriorating, resorted to several crosses amongst them the Cuban Bloodhound and Pyrenean Wolfdog ; from the latter especially he gained much. He was at the time condemned loudly for thus contaminating the breed ; but, in the writer's opinion, he acted with great good judgment, for he resuscitated his strain very completely, and from his so-crossed dogs have all our modern Deerhounds descended, all symptoms of any such cross having long been obliterated. Mr. Gillespie, the owner and breeder of the notorious Torrom, says : " With regard to your remark about the Glengarry dogs not being pure, I too have often heard it ; but my experience is that there were few, if any, better strains." His Torrom was the son of a true Glengarry dog. Of this breed also was the world-wide-famed Maida, Sir Walter Scott's devoted and constant companion ; but he was the offspring of the first cross between Pyrenean Wolfdog and Highland Deerhound, the former being sire, the latter dam. He was a magnificent animal, of great size, power, and endurance, partaking mostly of the appearance of the dam, gaining somewhat in power, bulk, and height from the sire. He was of an iron-grey colour (according to Irving), and of gigantic size. He died at eleven years of age. From this very Maida many of our best modern dogs claim descent !

A gentleman who has had much experience in breeding Deerhounds for the last thirty years and upwards, and who has bred many grand dogs, says : " My brother informs me that McNeil went all over the world to get dogs to breed from to Albania amongst other places and that his breed represents a breed he himself founded, and that prior to that there was no real existing breed of Deerhounds in Scotland (! !). I think that their extreme delicacy and the difficulty of rearing them, also the way in which they feel the cold in bad weather in October, indicate their foreign origin."

It is thought that there must have been some misapprehension on this matter, as, putting aside the existence of Morison of Scalascraig's breed in 1830 (McNiel's dating a few years later), as well as that of Menzies of Chesthill, asserted to date from 1780 or thereabouts, Lord Colonsay, then Sir J. McNiel, communicated with the writer about 1865 in the following terms : " There seems to be no doubt that the Deerhound of the Celtic Highlands is of precisely the same race as the Irish hound sometimes called Wolfhound ; and all attempts to get size or speed by crossing have, it is believed, failed, or only succeeded in giving size by destroying the characteristics of the race. I imported Wolfhounds from Russia of fair speed and large size, but silky-haired, with a view to cross them with the Deerhound, but the result was by no means satisfactory. The late Lord Breadalbane crossed with the Bloodhound, and produced some good Retrievers for his deer-stalking ; but they were no longer Deerhounds. The Macedonian Dog a very powerful, smooth dog was also imported by a member of my family without any better results ; and it is my conviction that the race of Deerhounds can be improved only by careful selection and crossing different strains of pure blood."

The above remarks were shown to a friend of the writer who had given a full trial to crossing for size, &c. He says : " I do not agree with Sir J. McNeil in all he says I think with you that he did not continue his experiments far enough. Then, again, speed was the element he aimed at chiefly, and it is not to be expected he would retain that vhen crossing with a slower dog."

The writer has not the smallest doubt looking at the grand dogs we now possess that the various crosses tried have in most instances profited very much the breed, which had evidently fallen into a degenerate state forty to fifty years ago. He knows by ex- perience that all trace of a cross disappears as a rule in the second or third generation, and the dog has in every way the appearance and characteristics of a Deerhound proper. The cross from Russian Wolfhound, judiciously used, has certainly imparted to the Deerhound a degree of quality and certain blood-like look that the breed was fast losing, to say nothing of the gain in the matter of symmetry that almost invariably accrues.

It is a most noticeable and curious fact that the purer the breed is the more marked is the disparity between the sexes in the Deerhound. Thus, if no pure bred dogs be used, the difference between the sexes will vary from four to six inches in height ; whereas, if the female parent be cross-bred and of large size, the difference between the males and females of the litter will only be two inches, and, oddly enough, even if the bitch so bred shall vastly exceed the truer bred one in size, the dog puppies from her by an equally fine dog will generally in no way exceed in size those from the smaller but truer bred bitch.

That size can more surely be obtained through the sire than through the dam is a fact worth remembering.

It is much to be regretted that the pedigrees of the prominent specimens of this breed have not been retained, but there is little doubt but that most of our existing cracks can claim them as their progenitors. In future there will be no trouble on this head, as the very admirable stud-books established about 1870 will obviate this.

Before concluding this article, the writer would strongly impress on all readers the extreme desirability of retaining, by judicious care and cultivation, this, of all dogs (save his undoubted progenitor the Irish Wolfhound), the most beautiful and picturesque, as well as the most majestic and ornamental an animal to be loved and valued, and treated as a friend, as he richly deserves to be in all but rare cases.

The accompanying engraving, which so faithfully represents some Deerhounds on the watch, is the work of the great German artist, Specht. Though the dogs do not quite come up to modern ideas of show form in every minute particular, the artistic arrangement of the group is to the life, and thoroughly conveys in all essential respects the character of the dog, and what a Deerhound should be.

The dog selected for the coloured plate is Mr. Morse's Spey, who may be taken as one of the best specimens of the breed in existence, though not shown. She was nearly twelve years old in January, 1880, when she scaled 73 Ibs., and measured as follows: From tip of nose to stop, 4j inches; length from stop to occipital bone, 5f inches ; girth of skull behind the eyes, 15 inches; girth of neck, 15 inches; girth round shoulders, 30 inches; girth of loins, 2O inches;


girth of thigh,16 inches ; girth of forearm, 7 inches ; height at shoulders, 26 inches ; height at elbows, 14 inches; height at loins, 26 inches; length of tail, 22 inches. The above must be considered exceptionally good measurements when the advanced age of the dog comes to be considered.

An extremely good bitch, too, which came before the public in 1879, is Heather, the property of the Rev. Grenville F. Hodson, of North Petherton, Bridgwater, which gentleman is one of our oldest Deerhound breeders, and a recognised judge of the variety. Mr. Graham has, we believe, not seen Heather, and has therefore omitted her from the list he gives above.

Related content
Vero Shaw's "The Encyclopedia Of The Kennel 1913

Library Of Articles