Scottish Deerhounds

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound is from Scotland. When the Deerhound actually came to Scotland remains a mystery although early portrayals are found in stone carvings from AD 800. It has been theorized that Greyhounds were brought to Britain by Phoenician traders and that the rough, weather-resistant coat evolved as protection against the harsh climate.

Scottish Deerhound image

The breed was a favorite of Highland chieftains for centuries and was renown for its courage as a stag hunter. The introduction of more accurate firearms and the collapse of the clan system could have spelled the demise of the breed until nobility took up its cause. It gained in favor through the patronage of Queen Victoria, the paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer and the writings of Sir Walter Scott.

Scottish Deerhound dogs

Scottish Deerhound Temperament

The Scottish Deerhound is quiet and dignified, keen and alert. Easily trained, the Deerhound is dependably loyal and devoted to its owner.

Scottish Deerhound Size

Dogs from 30-32 inches (76-81 cm), or even more if there be symmetry without coarseness, which is rare. Bitches from 28 inches (71 cm) upwards. Dogs weigh from 85-110 lb. (39-50 kg) in dogs, and Bitches from 75-95 lb. (34-43 kg)

There is no objection to a bitch being large, unless too coarse, as even at her greatest height she does not approach that of the dog, and therefore could not be too big for work as over big dogs are.

Scottish Deerhound dog

Scottish Deerhound

Coat and Colour: The hair on the body, neck and quarters should be harsh and wiry, about 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) long; that on the head, breast, and belly much softer. There should be a slight fringe on the inside of the forelegs and hind legs but nothing approaching the “feather” of a Collie. A wooly coat is bad. Some good strains have a mixture of a silky coat with the hard which is preferable to a wooly coat. The ideal coat is a thick, close-lying ragged coat, harsh or crisp to the touch.

The color is a matter of fancy, but the dark blue-grey is most preferred. Next in preference, come the darker and the lighter grays or brindles, the darkest being generally preferred. Yellow and sandy red or red fawn, especially with black ears and muzzles, are equally high in estimation. This was the color of the oldest known strains – the McNeil and Chesthill Menzies. White is condemned by all authorities, but a white chest and white toes, occurring as they do in many of the darkest colored dogs, are not objected to although the less the better, for the Scottish Deerhound, is a self-coloured dog. The less white the better but a slight white tip to the stern occurs in some of the best strains.

Scottish Deerhound head

Head: Should be broadest at the ears, narrowing slightly to the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to the nose. The head should be long, the skull flat rather than round with a very slight rise over the eyes but nothing approaching a stop. The hair on the skull should be moderately long and softer than the rest of the coat. The muzzle should be pointed, but the teeth and lips level. The nose should be black (in some blue-fawns: blue) and slightly aquiline. In lighter colored dogs, the black muzzle is preferable. There should be a good mustache of rather silky hair and a fair beard. Eyes should be dark – generally dark brown, brown, or hazel. A very light eye is not liked. The eye should be moderately full, with a soft look in repose, but a keen, far-away look when the Deerhound is roused. Rims of eyelids should be black. Ears should be set on high; in repose, folded back like a Greyhound’s though raised above the head in excitement without losing the fold, and even in some cases semi-erect. A prick ear is bad. The ears should be soft, glossy, like a mouse’s coat to the touch and the smaller the better. There should be no long coat or long fringe, but there is sometimes a silky, silvery coat on the body of the ear and the tip. On all Deerhounds, irrespective of the color of coat, the ears should be black or dark colored.

Scottish Deerhound dog breed

Neck: The neck should be long – of a length befitting the Greyhound character of the dog. Extreme length is neither necessary nor desirable. Deerhounds do not stoop to their work like the Greyhounds. The mane, which every good specimen should have, sometimes detracts from the apparent length of the neck. The neck, however, must be strong as is necessary to hold a stag. The nape of the neck should be very prominent where the head is set on, and the throat clean-cut at the angle and prominent.

Forequarters: Shoulders should be well sloped; blades well back and not too much width between them. Legs should be broad and flat, and good broad forearms and elbows are desirable. Forelegs must, of course, be as straight as possible. Feet close and compact, with well-arranged toes.

Scottish Deerhound in action

Scottish Deerhound in action

Body: General formation is that of a Greyhound of larger size and bone. Chest deep rather than broad but not too narrow or slab-sided. A good girth of the chest is indicative of great lung power. The loin well arched and drooping to the tail. A straight back is not desirable, this formation being unsuited for uphill work, and very unsightly.

Scottish Deerhound puppies

Scottish Deerhound puppies

Hindquarters: Drooping, and as broad and powerful as possible, the hips being set wide apart. A narrow rear denotes the lack of power. The stifles should be well bent, with great length from hip to hock, which should be broad and flat.

Scottish Deerhounds on a hunt

Scottish Deerhounds on a hunt

Tail: Should be tolerably long, tapering and reaching to within 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) off the ground and about 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) below the hocks. Dropped perfectly down or curved when the Deerhound is still when in motion or excited, curved, but in no instance lifted out of the line of the back. It should be well covered with hair, on the side, thick and wiry, underside longer and towards the end a slight fringe is not objectionable. A curl or ring-tail is undesirable.

Scottish Deerhound

Faults: Big thick ears hanging flat to the head or heavily coated with long hair are bad faults. Loaded and straight shoulders are very bad faults. Cow- hocks, weak pastern, straight stifles, and splay feet are very bad faults.

Disqualifications: A white blaze on the head, or a white collar.

Irish Wolfhound vs Scottish Deerhound

Both are similar, absolutely harmless and calm dog breeds: they will greet a thief with a wagging tail! However, amongst the two, the Irish Wolfhound may be a better watchdog and may bark at intruders. The Scottish Deerhound is slightly (about 2 inches) smaller than the Irish Wolfhound.

Links: Scottish Deerhound clubs USA; UK