The Scottish Deerhound.
Once high on my list of dogs I would love to own, I had almost forgotten about this stunningly beautiful hound. These days the deerhound is seldom seen out an about. I can’t remember the last time I saw one in the flesh. It was only when I recently saw the lovely fellow featured in the classic film, ‘Out of Africa’, that I once again began to imagine the possibility of owning one.
Interestingly, the two dogs which appeared in the film, belonged to breeders and enthusiasts Celia and Edward Arnold from the United States. During their time breeding and showing these hounds, they made up twenty-five champions.
These impressive dogs originated in Scotland where they were used to hunt deer on large estates. They are not terribly common as pets in the UK, but there are several dedicated breeders around. The numbers of entries to shows in the UK are reasonably healthy.
They are gentle and calm breed of dog. Much like other sight hounds, such as greyhounds, they enjoy short bursts of activity after which, they are happy to curl up on the best couch in the house! Like many other breeds in the hound group, they can be prone to chasing anything that moves.
Deerhounds need safe open spaces to exercise, well away from temptation such as wildlife, or livestock. They can get on with smaller household pets as long as introductions are carefully arranged, ideally when the deerhound is a youngster.
Deerhounds are generally regarded as sweet-natured dogs, usually being very polite with people and other dogs. They rarely bark and are not known for their guarding abilities. They are more likely to remain snoozing whenever anyone knocks on the door.
Some people may describe them as rather aloof. They are certainly nothing like a Labrador, or a collie, for example, who will crave your attention a lot of the time.
Unfortunately, there are few health issues in the breed – the main one being a particularly aggressive type of bone cancer.
They are also prone to inherited liver and eye diseases. Therefore, it is important to purchase a puppy from health tested parents.
Deerhounds are undemanding dogs in the main. Aiming to please isn’t really at the top of their agenda. That said, they are also loving, sensitive dogs. Willing to respond – just perhaps in their own time.