Did you know?
In Scottish folklore, the “Grey Dog of Meoble” was a gigantic, shaggy-haired Scottish Deerhound who appeared to members of the Macdonald clan when one of them was about to die.
You may have a dog that won’t sit up, roll over or even cook breakfast, not because she’s too stupid to learn how but because she’s too smart to bother. – Rick Horowitz, Chicago Tribune
An ancient breed, some claim the Scottish Deerhound was identical to the equally ancient Irish Wolfdog, and then was bred to hunt specifically for deer. Others state he was a descendent of the hounds of the Picts.
Whatever the case, the historian will find references to “Scotch Greyhound”, “Rough Greyhound”, “Highland Deerhound”, and “Irish Greyhound” when looking into the background of the breed.
This breed is one of the few who have changed very little over the years. Deerhounds were bred to hunt stag who were often 250 lbs or more and accordingly they are large, fast, and strong. In appearance, they resemble large, big boned Greyhounds with a rough coat. This harsh, wiry coat protects them while when they run over steep mountain sides in rough, stony terrain and often unfavourable weather such as snow and sleet. The coat may be grey-blue, brindle, grey, yellow, sandy red, or red-fawn. Grooming is minimal as the breed is preferred in its rough, natural state.
Photos displayed courtesy of Michèle Fink, Secret Haven Kennel, Ontario
Because of its size, this not a breed that will fit into every household. They require room inside the house and out. Scottish Deerhounds are considered a giant breed, standing up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 110 lbs.
However, though they are large dogs, they are quiet, dignified, keen and alert. They make excellent house dogs who are good with children (watch the size!) and are happiest living together with their families. For years, they hunted in pairs or singly with highland Chieftains and are therefore strongly attached to their humans and not happy alone or in kennels. In spite of their size, these dogs are not watchdogs as their temperament is too loving and non-aggressive.
Deerhounds are classified as sight hounds, bred to chase and catch game by sight; any small animal that runs may trigger this response. Bear this in mind if there are other pets in the house – especially cats.
Basic obedience training and socialization are recommended so they are not shy with strangers. Deerhounds are sensitive and should never be physically punished. Harsh training methods may produce a nervous and easily frightened dog. Patience and consistency are the keys to training as these dogs are persistent and can be stubborn. Deerhounds mature slowly, so the destructive tendencies of puppyhood are there for a long time in a very large dog. Boredom often leads to destructive behaviour. Attention and regular exercise will help; as can the companionship of another Deerhound.