Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish DeerhoundThere is something about the shaggy hunting dogs of Britain that makes a particular appeal to those who are attracted to dogs. It may be the touching contrast of their harsh coat and rugged body with the soft, affectionate look in the almost hidden eye.
It may be the knowledge of the indomitable courage and immunity from fear that is latent in the friendly creature that noses our palm and meets our advances with such amiable readiness.

Whatever its causes, these brave and friendly dogs, such favorites with Landseer and Burns, have surely maintained their enviable position in our regard. In the United States they are seldom seen, as only a few have been introduced and little done to establish the breed here. This is unfortunate, though easy to understand, as our
laws do not permit the hunting of antlered game with dogs, and our carnivorous big game demands dogs of a heavier and more aggressive nature than these fleet chasers of the Highland stag.

In appearance the deerhound is much like a harsh-coated, grizzled greyhound, and is an undersized counterpart of the great Irish wolfhound, standing from 26 to 29 or 30 inches. They are self-colored, the dark blue grays being perhaps the favorites. Cream, fawn, sandy brown, and both light and dark brindlcs are perhaps more frequently seen. Any large amount of white is a fault, as it indicates a foreign strain, even though the dog be fine in other respects.

The Scottish deerhound might well be described as a powerfully built, rough-coated
greyhound. While not as swift as his English cousin, he has speed enough for most purposes and strength and stamina, which made him a valued partner in the chase before the days of the modern rifle.

In olden times the possession of a fine deerhound was a matter of sufficient consequence for tribes to go to war about. In a battle between the Picts and Scots over one of these dogs more than 160 men were killed.

The deerhound makes a wonderful companion. His honest, dark hazel eyes, looking straight out from under their shaggy brows, quiet but fearless, bespeak the rugged beauty of his soul and gain at once our admiration and our confidence.

From The Book of Dogs: An Intimate Study of Mankind's Best Friend By National Geographic Society (U.S.), Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Ernest Harold Baynes Published 1919. 109 pages Original from Harvard University.

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