The Deerhound is a truly remarkable dog, known for its elegance and beauty. With its stately presence and picturesque charm, the Deerhound captivates all who lay eyes upon it. Whether found lounging in the regal hall of a baronial estate, basking in the warm glow of a crackling log fire, or bounding gracefully across the vibrant purple hills of its native land, this breed exudes grace and majesty in every movement. It possesses an inherent allure that transports the observer into a world of feudal romance and poetic enchantment.
A Noble History Rooted in Scottish Tradition
For centuries, the Scottish nobles have cherished and cultivated their strains of Deerhounds, seeking not only companionship but also the thrill of hunting amidst the Highland forests. In ancient times, the red deer was under the exclusive ownership of the Scottish monarchs. To partake in the exhilarating pursuit of deer coursing, great drives were organized, sometimes lasting several days, to gather the herds in specific areas for the enjoyment of the royal court. This practice continued until the Stuart troubles, during which the responsibility of deer coursing fell into the hands of loyal retainers who replenished their chiefs’ larders through their skilled huntsmanship.
Characteristics of the Decorative Deerhound
To truly appreciate the Deerhound’s refinement and allure, one must delve into its distinctive characteristics. Let us explore the various aspects that define this magnificent breed:
Head: A Regal Profile
The Deerhound’s head is a testament to its regal nature. It should be broadest at the ears, gently tapering towards the eyes. The muzzle, more pronounced in its tapering, leads gracefully to the nose. The teeth and lips should align evenly, exuding a sense of balance. The length of the head is an essential feature, with a flat skull that shows a slight rise over the eyes, but remains free from any prominent stop. The skull should be adorned with moderately long hair, softer than the rest of the coat. The nose is typically black, though some blue-fawns may exhibit a blue hue. In lighter-colored dogs, a black muzzle is preferred. A Deerhound’s head is further enhanced by a distinguished moustache of silky hair and a fair beard.
Ears: Elegantly Folded
The ears of a Deerhound are set high and, while at rest, fold back like those of a Greyhound. However, when the dog becomes excited, the ears rise above the head without losing their fold, and on some occasions, they may even become semi-erect. The ear should possess a glossy, velvety texture akin to that of a mouse’s coat. The smaller the ear, the better. It should not have excessive long hair or fringes, but there is often a delicate, silvery coat on the body of the ear and its tip. Irrespective of the general coat color, the ears should be black or dark-colored.
Neck and Shoulders: An Arch of Elegance
The Deerhound’s neck should exemplify the elegance and grace of a Greyhound. It should possess the appropriate length to match the breed’s character. The nape of the neck should be prominent, where it intersects with the head, while the throat remains clean-cut and prominent. The shoulders should slope well, with the blades set back and a moderate distance between them.
Stern: The Epitome of Poise
The Deerhound’s stern, or tail, is a defining feature of its poise and grandeur. It should be moderately long, tapering towards the end, reaching within 1-1/2 inches of the ground and about 1-1/2 inches below the hocks. When the dog is at rest, the tail should hang straight down or exhibit a slight curve. However, when the dog is in motion or excited, the tail should curve naturally, staying in line with the back. It should be well-covered with hair, possessing a thick and wiry texture on the inside and longer on the underside.
Eyes: Windows to the Soul
The Deerhound’s eyes are a captivating sight. Generally dark brown or hazel in color, they should have a moderate fullness, appearing soft and gentle when the dog is at rest. Yet, when roused, they acquire a keen, far-away gaze, reflecting the dog’s alertness and intensity. The rims of the eyelids should be black, enhancing the allure of the eyes.
Body: A Magnified Greyhound
The Deerhound’s body and overall structure resemble that of a larger Greyhound with a sturdy bone structure. Its chest is deep rather than broad, striking a balance between width and a lack of flatness. The loin is well-arched, flowing gracefully towards the tail.
Legs andFeet: A Symphony of Elegance
The legs of a Deerhound are long and straight, with well-defined muscles that provide power and agility. The elbows should be set well under the body. The feet are large, well-knuckled, and covered with dense hair, which adds to the breed’s distinctive appearance. The forefeet should be narrow and cylindrical, with well-arched toes. The hind feet are slightly less elongated and broader than the forefeet.
Coat: Soft and Sensuous
The Deerhound’s coat is one of its most striking features. It should be harsh and wiry on the body, providing protection against the elements. The hair on the neck, chest, belly, and tail should be softer and longer, creating an elegant and flowing appearance. The colors of the Deerhound’s coat are varied, ranging from dark blue-gray to lighter grays and brindles. The presence of white markings on the chest and toes is acceptable and adds to the uniqueness of each individual dog.
The Deerhound is a breed that epitomizes grace, elegance, and beauty. Whether admired for its distinctive appearance, regal demeanor, or historical significance, the Deerhound continues to captivate dog lovers around the world. Its noble history and unique characteristics make it a breed that commands attention and admiration. From its regal head to its flowing coat, every aspect of the Deerhound is a testament to its majestic nature. So, if you seek a canine companion that combines beauty and grace with loyalty and affection, the Deerhound may be the perfect choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Deerhounds
Q: Are Deerhounds good family pets?
A: Yes, Deerhounds make excellent family pets. They are gentle, affectionate, and get along well with children and other pets. However, their size and energy levels should be taken into consideration.
Q: Do Deerhounds require a lot of exercise?
A: Yes, Deerhounds are an active breed that requires regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They enjoy long walks, runs in a securely fenced area, and the opportunity to stretch their legs.
Q: Are Deerhounds easy to train?
A: Deerhounds are generally intelligent and eager to please, making them trainable. However, they can be independent and have a strong prey drive, so early and consistent training is important. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.
Q: How do Deerhounds interact with strangers?
A: Deerhounds are typically reserved but polite with strangers. They may be aloof at first, but with proper socialization, they can learn to accept new people. However, they are not known for being aggressive or overly protective.
Q: What are the common health issues seen in Deerhounds?
A: Some health concerns that can affect Deerhounds include bloat, heart disease, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and hypothyroidism. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are crucial in maintaining their overall health.
*Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. If you are considering adding a Deerhound to your family, it is recommended to do thorough research and consult with reputable breeders or professionals in the field.