The Scottish Deerhound
By Michael Russell
Known for its prowess in the field and its intense skill at the chase and known equally as well for its sensitivity and its love of people, the Scottish Deerhound is a unique breed that is highly cherished by the people who have had the pleasure to own one. The Scottish Deerhound is exactly what the name implies, a dog that was bred in the rough lands of Scotland to chase and bring down the deer. For many centuries this was a game dog that served both the peasantry and the landed gentry very well in its pursuit of the deer and doubled as a family dog that held a special place by the fireside of its master. It very nearly died out by the eighteenth century…as there was less demand for deer meat and the times were changing. It is still a scarce breed and ranks quite low on the “popularity list” of the American Kennel Club.
The Scottish Deerhound is a tall breed, from 28-32 inches at the withers. The dog carries a great deal of strength in the neck and shoulders and a powerful jaw, for it is a dog that is built to hunt and bring down wild game that is as big or bigger than himself. The color ranges from dark gray or steel blue to sandy red or fawn . White is strongly discouraged. The dog has a wire coat except that the muzzle itself is not bearded. The outline of the Scottish Deerhound is similar to that of the Greyhound although the form is bulkier and much more muscled. He is a dog that should have the appearance of strength and speed. His temperament is quite gentle and mannerly, although he is a fiery and passionate hunting hound, he is also a sweet and docile companion who loves to be a part of the family.
It has been noted by owners of the Scottish Deerhound that it seems to be a breed that needs to be exposed early to anything it might encounter later on, as it has a tendency to become easily upset when its environment changes suddenly. It is a dog that needs plenty of training and exposure early on and it will adapt to stresses much better if this is done. Any home that is considering a Scottish Deerhound should accept that this is a breed that does not adapt easily to change and should take this into consideration when determining if this is a breed that will fit their lifestyle. Furthermore any time a family considers a hunting breed or a hound for a companion or family dog, considerations of space and exercise are very important, for an active dog needs plenty of exercise and free running room. The Scottish Deerhound is a unique blend of gentleness and courage, stamina and sensitivity, docility and eagerness to hunt, all of these combining to make it a dog that is a very special and much loved companion for those who have had the privilege of owning one.
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