Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
The Scottish Deerhound By "Wirehair" of The Mail
(Adelaide, Australia) 15 August 1914
I am prompted to write a, little something about the above variety of the canine race for it is evident that the South Australian owners of Deerhounds have the wrong type in their eye. The dogs exhibited at the last Kennel Club Show were sturdy specimens, but they were
all deficient in quality. It is useless Io describe a dog as typical when they are all too coarse. and although I do not wish to hurt the feelings of those who own then, I consider I would: be failing in my duty unless I attempt to put the Deerhound on the right tract. It is only by striving after a fixed ideal that we 'can improve our strains of exhibition animals. The standards are framed for a specific purpose, or I should rather say two purposes- the first to produce a dog perfect in type, size, color conformation etc. and secondly that it is fitted eminently for the work he is intended. Beauty and utility; must go hand in hand, and although it must Be confessed that it is sometimes a hard task to combine these two qualifications, yet the very difficulty gives an added charm to the cult of the dog
ORIGIN. The dog we now know as , the Scottish deerhound comes from a very old family, though - possibly old as Pat, who on being questioned as to the antiquity, of his forebears replied - '''Sure, we had a boat of our own- at the time of the flood
Stonehenge writes in his work on "'The Dog''- 'The old celebrated Scottish Deer hound is now probably extinct as a separate species, claimed his descent from the mast ancient race in Britain.*'. The name of the dog implies that he was used .for hunting the deer. Possibly this was true in the earlier part of the 19th century, but for many years his original avocation has gone, and now the Deerhound has either to hunt smaller game or to act as a good-looking companion to his master.
When a youngster I have vivid reflections of many large dogs which were then termed kangaroo dogs. They were used to hunt the marsupials which then abounded in great numbers all over Australia. Big, strong, and fierce they were, probably the result of a cross between a Deerhound and other large breeds. Classes were often provided for them at shows, and about 25 years ago I actually saw one (a black and tan) awarded first prize at a Melbourne show as a Wolfhound. This dog was entered as imported, but the judge on that occasion may have been surprised had he known that a score or more of exactly the same class of dogs could have been landed from South Australia at a few hours' notice. Tbc first high-class Deerhounds were imported into Australia by the late John Robertson, a keen fancier, who was afterwards identified with Irish Terriers. His first pair were Rossie Bran and Rossie Cora, the latter giving him a splendid start in the breed by whelping a litter of ten,-while in quarantine Some of' these found their way to South Australia, and old-timers will remember the typical Deerhounds owned by Mr. Ayton (sp Ayron?) of Magill. I had a photo of one of his dogs, but unfortunately it has been lost, or it. would have been interesting to compare it with those of present-day dogs. Mr. Robertson added in 1898 another imported one to his kennel, this time Miss B. Later he sold to a brother fancier (though not related), Mr. AV. D. Robertson , a draft of Deerhounds, and since then this latter gentleman has been a prominent figure in the breed in Victoria. With the proverbial Scotch tenacity he has stuck to the Deerhound for 20-years, and to-day is the same jolly and keen enthusiast as when I first met him. Here is an object lesson to those fanciers who are continually chopping and changing from one breed to another. In 1896 Mr. Cecil Davies imported four dogs- Shepherd, Onida, Newton Spey and Lord Moras, the latter claiming the celebrated Champion Swift as his sire. In passing it may be mentioned that Swift was probably the finest show dog produced in modern times. Mr. Davies is still, like Mr. Robertson, a sticker, and at the present time is winning with his dogs at Melbourne and Sydney. I have always fancied his strain. They certainly always look typical Deerhounds, and although noted as splendid workers at the same time have the stamp of quality and good breeding strongly in evidence for those who have the eyes to see -and appreciate. Writing to me recently Mr. Davies says, 'I have really only two of my old sort. Strathdoon Blue Lady and Strathdoon Blue Lassie, both blue-grey and both lovely models of grace and speed. Strathdoon Punch is by Strathdoon Lord Ray, out of Strathdoon Blue Lady, and is a fine handsome dog and a great killer, but he is a shade too big for hilly country, though only about 30in. Personally for work I like a dog 29in. but what chance would a dog that height have on the show bench? In England, where - they only breed for show, the tendency is to get a dog too large, here, where we need them for work, the very heavy dog is useless. I have hunted since I was 12 years old and bred Kangaroo dogs, Greyhounds, and Deerhounds. I had a yellow Deerhound when I was a lad named Sal no prefix, but she had a good pedigree. This was in 1878. I think she was the fastest dog I ever owned and whatever she saw she caught. She not only had shape and speed, but great force or determination. I once galloped out to Marilla , 12 miles, she following. Then went kangarooing, caught all we started (six), with her single-handed. I don't go any thing on color though I don't like the light yellow-, but a dark bran color, with black, muzzle and ears I'm very fond of, though they- are very rare and most Judges pass them, but their original color was bran, and the Highland people think them hardier than the blues, and. they have a. harder, crisper coat.' - Note what Mr. Davies says concerning size, - and his dogs been bred for work. His experience is doubtless valuable. In corroboration the well-known writer Dalziel says in book on the Deerhound:- 'Of late years (this was written come years ago,), many men have bred solely for size. The outcome of this has been that we have had on the show bench animals wanting in all the grace ,elegance, and symmetry, ' -which should characterize the Deerhound; The success of- these dogs has been perplexing and disheartening to those who have kept the Deerhound for his proper work.
A general description would be of an upstanding, noble looking dog built practically on Greyhound lines, but with a ragged wiry coat. Head long and clean cut with flat skull, scarcely perceptible stop, strong projecting eyebrows preventing a quite straight outline. The foreface is slightly chiseled below the eye, and runs down strongly to the muzzle. Nose should .be black and there should be a good moustache and a fair beard,' teeth strong and level. Eyes dark with good expression. It is hard to describe the Deerhounds eye. Did you ever stand in front of the' lions' cage at the Zoo and notice the intensity of the royal animal's gaze? He seems to look right through you, .or, more -correctly , at you, yet -past you at some unseen object, miles 'away. Just so .on a modified scale is the Deerhound's expression, when at attention. One dog I owned projected the keenest sight I have ever known and could detect objects quite out of range of the rest of the pack. The other dogs used to trade on him, and when he saw, just followed the man from Cooks not knowing for half a mile what they were running for. In response the .expression is trustful, loving, and dignified . A light-colored eye takes away somewhat from the dog's appearance, causing a soft expression. Ears should be the Greyhound, ear, small and set on high.. A Deerhound with lips like the wings of an aeroplane has an unfinished headpiece. Prick ears are also on the list of ''not wanted.' Neck long, strong, with a beautiful arch, the true characteristic of a blue-blooded Deerhound. No throatiness should be apparent, but the mane causes the neck to look shorter than it really is.
The Shoulders.- Those, as in. all animals built for speed, should be well sloped, and fine at the 'blades. They -should not be bossed or loaded (but at the same time I look for a. well-muscled shoulder rising up from the forearm. Writing on the Greyhound some time ago, I expressed the opinion, as an old coursing man, that in galloping the forelegs 'pulled' as much as the hind quarters 'pushed. SUCH being the case, a powerful shoulder is required, yet one that has plenty of, freedom to stretch well out. The chest most be deep at the brisket, and ribs well sprang, body of good length, stomach well tucked up. Back strong., and loined strong and well arched. The contour from occiput to stern should be a beautiful sweep in one unbroken line, thought the sometimes see- a (xxx OCR error). To the uninitiated this means a hollow or swampy back, spoiling the dog's symmetry, cup, just behind the dog's shoulder points. The stern should be well set on, strong at base, fairly long, tapering to a fine point, and carried with a nice sweep. A ring tail is a bad fault, so is a thick clumsy tail like a pump handle.
LEGS AND FEET
In a running dog perhaps the most, important point in His anatomy. Of what use a fine, well-formed body, if the legs and feet are not there to carry it. The forelegs should, be strong in bone, broad and flat, and with a perfectly straight front. The pasterns should not be knuckled over or dished, and the feet must be closely knit and well arched, with thick leathery pads. An open flat foot is a serious defect, caused sometimes by chaining up when a puppy. A dog with weak pasterns and open feet, when fully extended -in. running, brings the whole weight of his forequarters on his stoppers, the result being the latter are cut to shreds if the ground is at all rough. I have recently had practical experience of this, as one of my Deerhounds- a good dog except for his open feet- used to get his stoppers in a sad way in our mountain country- The hind 'quarters must be slightly drooping, with ' wide ' hips, long from hip to hock, and stifles well bent. Viewed from the rear the dog should stand 'four square.' Some otherwise good dogs possessing the fatal defect of cow hocks.
The coat should be a close laying jacket thick and ragged, harsh, crisp, and wiry to the touch. On no account should a woolly coat be tolerated. Color dark grey blue grey, light brindle, dark brindle: sandy or brown. Size 28 to 30in dogs: 26 to 28 in bitches. Weight, 85 to 105 m dogs ; 65 to 80 in bitches. -They must have symmetry without coarseness, the consensus of practical opinion being that the extra-sized dogs are unsuitable for actual work. I could write much more concerning the usefulness of the Deerhound f, but must leave that for another article,.
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