The Scottish Deerhound is a native of Scotland that can be traced back to the 16th century. The breed is believed to have existed prior to the 16th century, but went by a variety of different names, including the Irish Wolf Dog, Scotch Greyhound, Rough Greyhound and Highland Deerhound. Ultimately, the breed was named for its skillful ability to hunt deer.
The Scottish Deerhound is called the "Royal Dog of Scotland" and has been highly valued for its skill and beauty. In fact, during the Age of Chivalry, no one of rank lower than an earl was permitted possess a Deerhound. Despite its value, the breed faced near-extinction in the mid to late 18th century, but was saved by enthusiasts.
The Scottish Deerhound arrived in the US towards the end of the 19th century and was admitted to the AKC Hound group in 1886. Today, the Deerhound remains a relatively rare breed of high value.
About the Breed:
The Scottish Deerhound is an athletic, courageous and loyal dog breed. Relatively large in size, the Deerhound is long and lean, with a physique much like that of a Greyhound. The breed is known as the "Royal Dog of Scotland" and was once described by the writer Sir Walter Scott as "The most perfect creature of Heaven."
The Scottish Deerhound has a three to four inch long, harsh and wiry coat that only requires basic grooming. A weekly once-over with a slicker brush and/or comb should be sufficient to keep the Deerhound's coat looking its best. The breed sheds at a fairly low rate, and even less with regular brushing. Your Deerhound should only need occasional bathing as necessary based upon odor and/or dirty coat.
Though Scottish Deerhounds are excellent athletes, they can also become lazy as adults. They love to run and play outdoors but might loaf around when indoors. However, daily exercise is essential in order to keep your Deerhound motivated and fit.
Proper training and socialization is important for Deerhounds, and fortunately they tend to learn well. This is an intelligent breed but often has a short attention span. In training, it is important to discover what motivates your Deerhound, as this can be a challenge for some. Like other sighthounds, the Deerhound is easily stimulated by visual prey and tends to have a high prey drive. Cats and other small animals may provoke their predatory instinct until they learn the animal is a family member. Raising your Deerhound around small pets can help teach the dog that they are not prey. However, you might never feel comfortable leaving your Deerhound unsupervised around small pets.
Scottish Deerhounds are very loyal and extremely affectionate with their families and typically prefer not to be left alone. They are rarely aggressive and respond well to strangers. This is definitely not a guard dog. Most Deerhounds will do well with children when properly socialized. Greyhound enthusiasts everywhere can tell you how lovely and rewarding it is to have a Greyhound. They truly make delightful companions.
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