DEER HOUND: A Scottish Hound

The dogs that are traditionally utilized for hunting large game, particularly deer, the Deerhound’s imposing stature and keen hunting instincts set it apart.

The Deerhound, also known as the Scottish Deerhound, is a majestic and ancient breed that hails from Scotland. Renowned for its grace, strength, and striking appearance, this breed has a rich history deeply entwined with Scottish nobility.

Despite its robust build, the Deerhound possesses a gentle and dignified nature, making it not only a formidable hunter but also a devoted and affectionate companion. With its distinctive shaggy coat, long legs, and a noble expression, the Deerhound stands as a symbol of both power and elegance within the canine world.

History

The Deerhound’s history is steeped in the misty landscapes of Scotland, dating back centuries to a time when the breed was revered for its prowess in hunting the mighty red deer. Originally known as the “Scottish Deerhound,” these dogs were the prized companions of Scottish chieftains and nobility.

Their use in the sport of deer coursing, a practice reserved for the aristocracy, contributed to their association with wealth and prestige. Throughout history, the Deerhound’s destiny was intricately tied to the Scottish clans, and their numbers were carefully guarded. However, the breed faced a decline in the 18th century due to changes in hunting laws and the availability of deer.

Dedicated efforts by enthusiasts, including breed preservation by Archibald and Duncan McNeill, helped revive the Deerhound’s numbers, ensuring that this noble and gentle giant continues to grace both the Scottish moors and the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide.

Personality

The Deerhound possesses a gentle and dignified personality that complements its majestic appearance. Known for its calm and laid-back demeanor, this breed is remarkably affectionate and forms strong bonds with its family.

Despite its large size, the Deerhound is often described as a gentle giant, displaying a quiet and noble disposition. While it maintains a reserved attitude with strangers, its loyalty to its family is unwavering. The Deerhound is known to be good-natured and patient, making it an excellent companion for families and individuals alike.

Additionally, its hunting heritage may instill a keen sense of observation and alertness, contributing to its watchful yet gentle nature. This breed’s temperament, marked by both regal poise and a loving heart, makes the Deerhound a cherished and devoted member of the family.

Physical characteristics

Height

  • Male 30-32 inches
  • Female 28-30 inches

Weight

  • Male 85-110 pounds
  • Female 75-95 pounds

Coat

A harsh, wiry outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat that provides protection.

Color

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Sandy red
  • Blue fawn

Eyes

Dark and gentle

Ears

Medium-sized, folded, and set high on the head.

Tail

Long and tapering, reaching the hocks.

Life span

The average life span is around 8-11 years.

Temperament

The Scottish Deerhound boasts a temperament characterized by a unique blend of regality, gentleness, and a calm disposition. This majestic breed is renowned for its dignified and reserved nature. Despite their large size, Deerhounds are remarkably gentle and seem to carry themselves with a quiet grace.

Known for their loyalty, they form strong bonds with their human companions and are often described as affectionate and devoted. While they can be somewhat reserved with strangers, their inherent friendliness and amiability shine through once trust is established. Deerhounds tend to be patient, making them generally well-suited for households with children. Their playful side emerges during outdoor activities, where they showcase surprising agility and enthusiasm.

Rooted in their historical role as hunters, Deerhounds retain a keen sense of sight and speed, yet they exhibit a laid-back demeanor indoors. This breed thrives on companionship, and their peaceful, even-tempered nature makes them a cherished and comforting presence in any home.

Grooming

The grooming routine for a Scottish Deerhound requires attention to their distinctive coat, which is typically wiry and harsh to the touch. Regular brushing is essential to prevent matting and keep the coat in good condition, with a slicker brush or a comb being effective tools for this purpose. While Deerhounds are not heavy shedders, they do benefit from consistent grooming to remove loose hairs and minimize the risk of tangles.

Bathing should be done on an as-needed basis, as overwashing can strip their coat of natural oils. Trimming their nails regularly is important to maintain their paw health, and regular dental care, such as teeth brushing, helps prevent dental issues.

Additionally, ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid infections. Given their large size, it’s crucial to start grooming routines early in their lives to accustom them to the process, as they can be sensitive to handling.

Overall, a consistent grooming regimen not only enhances the Deerhound’s appearance but also contributes to their overall health and well-being.

Training

Training a Scottish Deerhound requires a balanced and patient approach, given their independent and somewhat laid-back nature. Early socialization is crucial to expose them to various people, environments, and other animals, helping to curb any potential shyness or aloofness.

Basic obedience training is essential, with positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise being highly effective due to their sensitive and gentle disposition. Consistency is key, as Deerhounds may be less motivated by repetitive drills, and their intelligence benefits from engaging, varied training sessions. While they are generally well-mannered, leash training is important given their hunting instincts, as they might be inclined to chase after fast-moving objects.

Due to their size, it’s vital to establish good manners and obedience, especially considering their potential for strength as adults. Patience and positive reinforcement, coupled with early and ongoing training, will yield a well-behaved and responsive Scottish Deerhound, making them a delightful and harmonious member of the family.

Exercise

Scottish Deerhounds, despite their large and majestic stature, surprisingly do not have excessive exercise requirements. While they are not overly energetic, regular and moderate exercise is important to maintain their overall health and prevent boredom.

A daily walk or two, coupled with some free play in a securely fenced area, caters to their need for physical activity. Deerhounds have a natural instinct to chase, so engaging them in activities like fetch can be enjoyable for both the dog and the owner. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of their joints, especially during their growth stages, to prevent potential strain or injury.

Due to their sighthound heritage, Deerhounds may be inclined to pursue moving objects, so exercising them in enclosed spaces is advisable. Despite their size, they often enjoy lounging indoors and appreciate a comfortable resting space.

Striking a balance between sufficient exercise and allowing for ample rest is key to maintaining the well-being and contentment of a Scottish Deerhound.

Nutrition

The nutritional needs of a Scottish Deerhound are influenced by their large size and relatively slow growth rate. High-quality, well-balanced dog food that takes their size and age into account is essential. Puppies require a diet formulated to support their growth and development, with a focus on appropriate protein levels to build lean muscle mass.

As they mature, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to support their joints, given their substantial size. However, overfeeding should be avoided to prevent excessive weight gain, which can contribute to joint issues. Regular monitoring of their weight and adjusting their food intake accordingly is recommended.

Additionally, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can promote a shiny coat and overall skin health. It’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian to determine the specific nutritional needs of the individual Deerhound, taking into consideration factors such as activity level, health status, and any potential dietary sensitivity.

Ensuring access to fresh water at all times is, of course, a fundamental aspect of their nutrition.

Health concerns

Scottish Deerhounds are generally a healthy and hardy breed, but like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

One significant concern is their susceptibility to cardiac-related conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Regular veterinary check-ups with a focus on heart health are crucial for early detection and management of such conditions.

Gastric torsion or bloat

Gastric torsion, or bloat, is another potential health issue in Deerhounds, as it is in many large and deep-chested breeds. This condition involves the stomach twisting on itself, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, can be more prevalent in larger breeds like the Scottish Deerhound. Monitoring for lameness, swelling, or pain and seeking prompt veterinary care if any such signs arise is important for early diagnosis and intervention.

Hip dysplasia

As with many large breeds, hip dysplasia is a concern. This genetic condition can lead to arthritis and lameness, and responsible breeding practices that include hip evaluations can help reduce the prevalence of this issue.

Bottom line

The Scottish Deerhound is a majestic and gentle giant with a reserved yet affectionate temperament. Their grooming needs involve regular brushing, occasional baths, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.

Training should be approached with patience and positive reinforcement, focusing on early socialization and basic obedience.

Exercise requirements are moderate, with daily walks and supervised play, keeping in mind their inclination to chase.

Nutrition should consist of high-quality, age-appropriate food, and regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to monitor their health.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What is the typical temperament of a Scottish Deerhound?

Scottish Deerhounds are known for their calm, gentle, and affectionate temperament. They are typically good-natured, loyal, and get along well with children and other pets.

Q. Are Scottish Deerhounds good watchdogs?

While they may be alert and protective, Scottish Deerhounds are generally not known for being aggressive watchdogs. They tend to be more reserved and dignified in their demeanor.

Q. How do I choose a reputable breeder for a Scottish Deerhound?

Look for breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Reputable breeders conduct health screenings, provide proper care for the puppies, and are transparent about the breed’s characteristics.

Q. Do Scottish Deerhounds require a lot of space?

While they are a large breed, Scottish Deerhounds can adapt to living in smaller spaces as long as they receive regular exercise. However, access to a securely fenced area for play is beneficial.

Q. Are Scottish Deerhounds good for apartment living?

Due to their large size and need for moderate exercise, Scottish Deerhounds are generally better suited to homes with ample space, such as a house with a fenced yard. However, they can adapt to apartment living if provided with sufficient daily exercise.

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