Origin and uses: from Scotland, a very old breed, dating back to at least the 16th century. They are considered to be a ‘sighthound’ and were used in Scotland to course and bring down red deer. Through the 1800s, as the rifle came into use, they were prized in the Highlands in the ‘sport’ of deer stalking and running the wounded quarry down and bringing it to bay. Throughout the Commonwealth, Deerhounds were used on any quarry that required speed and courage, until coursing live game was banned. Then the show world continued to maintain the breed and lure coursing maintained their performance skills.
General Appearance: A Deerhound should resemble a rough-coated greyhound but larger in size and with heavier bone. A tall breed with a ‘harsh and wiry’ coat, long legs, lean head, high set small ears that in repose are folded back like a greyhound, long tail, and a back that is well arched over the loin. Most important are broad and powerful hindquarters with the hips set wide apart.
Height and weight: Males 30-32 inches ( or even more) at the shoulder: 80-110 pound…..females 28 inches and upwards at shoulder: 75 – 95 pounds
Coat and Colour: black, grey, dark blue grey; the coat is harsh and coarse to the touch with a wiry feel. A wooly coat is ‘bad’. White is not correct either, although a small amount on the chest and toes is accepted. Weekly brushing is required. Feeding: twice daily using raw as part of the diet. Eg. chicken necks or duck necks.
Temperament: a docile and gentle breed that loves people and comfort when they are mature.(3 plus years) Friendly and sensitive, they are a calm breed as adults. Puppies need a lot of free play and can be rambunctious. They do well with other breeds but smaller breeds or cats might illicit their prey drive. Remember they were bred to be a running hunter.
Training Obedience and Performance: Puppies and up to age three, can be destructive. After three years, they become “that most perfect creature of heaven”. They should not be neutered before age three. Obedience training will be difficult and at best not very rewarding with a deerhound. They just don’t care to be trained and view the whole procedure with a great deal of disinterest. They do however excel in lure coursing events. They require daily runs in an open field.