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Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound Breed Information

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Other Common Names:

Deerhound

Description:

The Scottish Deerhound resembles a Greyhound with a rough coat, however it is larger in size. A Scottish Deerhound named Foxcliffe Hickory Wind won Best In Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 14 to 15, 2011.

 
Gentle and dignified

Country of Origin:

The Scottish Deerhound, as its name suggests, originated in Scotland.

Height:

Scottish Deerhound males range from 30 to 32 inches in height. Females are 28 inches and up in height.

Weight:

Scottish Deerhound males weigh 85 to 110 pounds. Females weigh 75 to 95 pounds.

Colors:

Scottish Deerhounds may be various shades of grey, black, yellow and sandy red or red fawn.

Coat:

The Scottish Deerhound is rough-coated and relatively easy to groom, requiring only regular brushing and "stripping" of long and/or light-colored hairs from the ears.

Temperament:

Scottish Deerhounds are very friendly and eager to please. Although known for being docile, they are nonetheless sighthounds and as such they are eager to chase.

Health Concerns:

Scottish Deerhounds are prone to cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), bloat and torsion.

Life Expectancy:

Scottish Deerhounds can be expected to live 8 to 9 years.

Living Environment:

Scottish Deerhounds need plenty of exercise especially when they are young, thus they are best suited to a large fenced yard. They are relatively inactive indoors so may do alright in an apartment provided they are given long daily walks and adequate exercise.

AKC Group:

The Scottish Deerhound is in the Hound group.

Related Dog Breeds:

 
- In Depth

If you watched the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, you know the Best in Show winner, for the first time in history, was a Scottish Deerhound. This is one of the rarer breeds registered by the AKC, ranking 141st of the 167 breeds recognized in 2010. Here's what you need to know if you are thinking about adding a Scottish Deerhound to your family.

What does a Scottish Deerhound look like?

Because they are one of the rarer breeds, if you missed the Westminster show, you may never have seen a Scottish Deerhound. The breed standard calls for a large dog with a rough, wiry coat, shaped similarly to a Greyhound, only with larger bones.

The most preferred color from a conformance show standpoint is dark blue-gray, but really any color other than white is acceptable. Some good breeding strains have produced brindles, yellows, sandy reds, or red fawns. The only clear disqualification is a white blaze on the head or a white collar.

This large breed weighs in at somewhere between 75 and 110 pounds, and stands between 28 and 32 inches tall at the withers, making it one of the tallest of the sighthounds

.

The Scottish Deerhound Club of America (SDCA) offers a very detailed illustrated breed standard, which can be extremely helpful if you are interested in showing Deerhounds.

Scottish Deerhound History

According to the SDCA, the breed can be identified as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, when no one with a rank lower than Earl could own one of these noble dogs. Written accounts of the Deerhound from the middle ages note his "tremendous courage in the chase, his gentle dignity in the home."

As the name implies, the Deerhound was originally bred to hunt deer, and the last place where large wild stags remained numerous was in the highlands of Scotland, so this is where the breed remained, even as it died out in other areas of Great Britain. The deer hunted by these hounds may weigh in excess of 250 pounds, so as you might expect, Deerhounds are among the largest of breeds.

In the United States, where it is illegal to hunt antlered game with dogs, the Deerhound's hunting skills have been adapted to wolves, coyotes, and rabbits.

Scottish Deerhound Temperament

When you bring a Deerhound into your home, you should expect a companionable, social dog who likes to be in the house with you, rather than in an outdoor kennel alone. They are extremely friendly and can be quite gentle, although their large size may make them a hazard around small children.

This is not a dog that will play fetch with a stick or will provide protection to your home and property. Rather, Deerhounds are hunting dogs and will follow anything that runs. Their large size and ability to run at high speed means you will never catch them if they decide to stray, making a fenced yard the best option.

Your Deerhound will need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep him or her happy. As puppies, they are extremely busy, and need to be provided with lots of toys to prevent boredom. However, as they age, long naps become the rule.

Grooming Your Scottish Deerhound

How do the competitors at Westminster keep their Scottish Deerhounds in top show form? Fortunately, the short coarse fur lends itself to very easy grooming. The coat is groomed with a basic slicker brush, drawn in the direction of hair growth. After most of the tangles have been removed, a steel comb with close-set teeth can be used to remove any remaining strands of dead undercoat.

Bathing should be done a few days before a show because it will soften the fur. Show Deerhounds should have a crisp-textured fur, which will return a few days after a bath.

Stray ear hairs, particularly those which are light-colored should be plucked from the ears. If the hair is too slippery to allow you to pluck it, try wearing a surgical glove.

Deerhound Activities

If you're not a hunter, it doesn't necessarily mean that the Scottish Deerhound shouldn't be on your list of breeds to consider. These dogs are wonderful Lure Coursers, giving you another outlet for their energy.

Be aware, however, that Deerhounds are not the easiest dogs to train. Their large size and short attention span to things that aren't moving makes it hard to control them and difficult to keep them focused on the task at hand. It may be tough to find out what motivates your Deerhound, but it is sure that positive methods are the best. Unlike many other breeds, pleasing you is not the Deerhound's top priority.

Tongues firmly in cheek, the SDCA offers this list of why Scottish Deerhounds are one of the obedience world's best kept secrets.

  • You don't have to bend over to praise or position them.
  • Fairly reliable on (Down) Stays.
  • Won't trip over them on left turns (but they may knock you over on fronts).
  • Don't need to warm them up much.
  • Don't have to work them very long.
  • Not terribly creative (won't waste energy being creative) in the ring.
  • Seldom tempted to sniff the ground on off-lead heeling.
  • Jump heights not a problem.
  • No one expects you to qualify; if you do, people are impressed.
  • Fairly easy to place in the top 10 for your breed.

Health Concerns for the Scottish Deerhound

Although basically a healthy breed that can be expected to live as long as 8 - 9 years, the Scottish Deerhound does have two genetically-linked health concerns: Factor VII Bleeding Disorder and Cystinuria.

One of many factors important to blood clotting, Factor VII may be deficient in Deerhounds. Without a sufficient supply of Factor VII, excessive bleeding may be a problem after surgery. If you are going to spay your dog, or if other types of surgery become necessary, make sure your vet is familiar with Factor VII deficiency. A simple blood test can determine whether your dog is afflicted with the disease before surgery so a plan can be made to deal with excessive blood loss.

If you plan on breeding your Deerhound, the blood test can also determine whether or not your dog is a carrier, which can determine which other dog will make an appropriate mate. The disease can only be passed on in both parents are carriers. If only one parent is a carrier, the puppies may also be carriers, but will not have the full-blown disease.

To understand cystinuria, a small anatomy and physiology lesson is required. In a perfectly healthy dog, the kidneys remove plasma from the bloodstream, filter it to remove toxins, then put the remaining materials back into the bloodstream. In a normal dog, all or most of the cystine and other amino acids are re-absorbed.

In a dog with cystinuria, the kidneys are unable to re-absorb cystine efficiently. The cystine crystallizes and sits in the bladder, gaining size as more cystine piles on. These uroliths, as they are called, irritate the bladder lining and can cause urinary tract infections. When the dog tries to pass the urolith through the urethra, it may create a painful blockage that requires surgery to remove.

Is the Scottish Deerhound the dog for me?

If you are looking for a docile, gentle companion (after a rambunctious puppyhood), or a dog to compete in lure coursing, this may be just the breed for you. Easy to groom, relatively healthy, and not yet overbred, the Scottish Deerhound has a lot of good points. However, if you aren't committed to providing lots of exercise and mental stimulation, this may be more dog than you bargained for.


 

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