Luvadeer Deerhounds

About Deerhounds



The origin of the Deerhound breed is of such antiquity and the earliest names bestowed

on it so inextricably mixed that no sound conclusion can be arrived at as to whether

the Deerhound was at one time identical with the ancient Irish Wolf dog and, in the

course of centuries, bred to a type better suited to hunt deer, or whether, as some

writers claim, he is the descendant of the hounds of the Picts. Very early descriptive

names were used to identify the purpose of the dog rather than to identify species.

We find such names as “Irish Wolf Dog,” “Scotch Greyhound,” “Rough Greyhound,”

“Highland Deerhound.” Dr. Ciaos, in his book Of Englished Doges (1576) speaking of

Greyhounds, relates: “Some are of the greater sorter, some of a lesser; some are

smoothed skinned and some curled, the bigger therefore are appointed to hunt the

bigger beasts, the buck, the hart, and the doe.”

All this is relatively unimportant when we can definitely identify the breed as Deerhounds

as early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From there on the term Deerhound

has been applied to the breed, which of all dogs has been found best suited for the

pursuit and killing of the deer.

At all times great value has been set on the Deerhound. The history of the breed

teems with romance increasing in splendour right down through the Age of Chivalry

when no one of rank lower than an earl might possess these dogs. A leash of

Deerhounds was held as the fine whereby a noble lord condemned to death might

purchase his reprieve. Records of the middle Ages allude repeatedly to the delightful

attributes of this charming hound, his tremendous courage in the chase, and his

gentle dignity in the home.

So highly has the Deerhound been esteemed that the desire for exclusive ownership

has at many times endangered the continuance of the breed. As the larger beasts of

the chase became extinct, or rare, in England and Southern Scotland, the more

delicate, smooth Greyhound took the place of the larger Deerhound. The Highlands

of Scotland, last territory wherein the stag remained numerous in a wild state, became,

as might be expected, the last stronghold of this breed. Here again the Highland

Chieftains assumed exclusive proprietorship to such an extent that it was rare to find

a good specimen south of the River Forth. So severely was this policy pursued that in

1769 the breed physically and numerically ran very low. This, of course, must be

attributed in a great measure to the collapse of the clan system after Culloden 1745.


It was not until about 1825, when the restoration of the breed was undertaken very

successfully by Archibald and Duncan McNeill (the latter afterwards Lord Colonsay),

that the Deerhound regained his place of pre-eminence and former perfection. The

First World War, in later times, had considerable effect on the breed when so many of

the large estates in Scotland and England were broken up. Although this “Royal Dog

of Scotland” is represented at English shows in good numbers and to a considerable

extent at shows in the Eastern States of the United States of America, the Deerhound

remains a rare dog of such historical interest and character that ownership should

give anyone great pride of possession.

The high valuation of the Deerhound is not the result of rarity so much as the fact

that as a hunter he is pre-eminent, with a high aggregate of desirable characteristics.

He has a keen scent, which may be used in tracking, but it is that combination of

strength and speed necessary to cope with the large Scottish deer (often weighing

250 pounds) that is most valued. The hounds are usually hunted singly or in pairs.

Centuries of hunting as the companions and guards of Highland Chieftains have

given the Deerhound an insatiable desire for human companionship. For this reason

the best Deerhounds are seldom raised as kennel dogs. In character the Deerhound

is quiet and dignified, keen and alert, and although not aggressive, has great

persistence and indomitable courage when necessary. While it might savour of boasting

to claim that the Deerhound of today is identical with the dog of early history,

descriptions of which are mostly legendary, it is nevertheless a well-established fact

that in type, size, and character he closely conforms to authentic records of the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

As a companion the Deerhound is ideal, being tractable and easy to train and

possessing the most dependable loyalty and utmost devotion to his master. The most

authentic and complete work on the breed is “Scotch Deerhounds and their Masters”

written by George Cupples. Scrope has also written much about the Deerhound in

“Days of Deerstalking” and other works. The best descriptions of the breed are found

in nineteenth-century British dog books.

The grace, dignity and beauty of the Deerhound have been faithfully depicted in

many of Landseer’s paintings and drawings, and Sir Walter Scott, who owned the

famous Deerhound Maida, makes many enthusiastic allusions to the breed, which

he describes as “The most perfect creature of Heaven.”

“We must try and keep the Deerhound a rugged, rough-coated, well-muscled animal

and not to allow it to be ruined by shows, as has happened to so many breeds, which

have become too refined, too stripped and over-groomed”. 


Taken From The ANKC Website

Contact Details

Aisha Bierman
Frankston, VIC, Australia
Phone : 0451944533
Email : [email protected]