SCOTTISH DEERHOUND ONE OF THE BIGGEST DOG BREED IN THE PLANET

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SCOTTISH DEERHOUND

The Scottish Deerhound, or simply the Deerhound, is a large breed of hound (a sighthound), once bred to hunt the red deer by coursing. In outward appearance, the Scottish Deerhound is similar to the Greyhound, but larger and more heavily boned with a rough-coat. The Deerhound is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and was a contributor to that breed when it was re-created at the end of the 19th century.

The Hilton of Cadboll Stone dates from around 1,200 years ago, and depicts at the bottom of the panel a deer that is being chased by two large dogs and two armed horsemen. However, systematic zooarchaeology and genetics have yet to show any connection between those symbolic representations of dog types and the modern breed, which only became widely known as the Scottish Deerhound distinct from regional greyhounds, such as the Highland greyhound or other staghounds in the early 19th century.

The Deerhound was bred to hunt red deer by “coursing” and “deer-stalking” until the end of the 19th century. With modern rifles and smaller deer-forests, slower tracking dogs were preferred to fast and far-running Deerhounds. In coursing deer, a single Deerhound or a pair was brought as close as possible to red deer, then released to run one of them down by speed, which if successful would happen within a few minutes – rarely were there successful sustained chases.

With the eventual demise of the clan systems in Scotland, these hunting dogs became sporting animals for landowners and the nobility, but were also bred and hunted by common folk when feasible. As fast and silent hunters they made quick work of any game the size of a hare or larger and were highly regarded by nobility and poachers alike. One of the most precarious times in the breed's history seems to have been towards the end of the nineteenth century, when many of the large Scottish estates were split into small estates for sporting purposes, and few then kept Deerhounds. The new fashion was for stalking and shooting, which required only a tracking dog to follow the wounded animal, using a collie or similar breed. Although a few estates still employed Deerhounds for their original work, the breed was left in the hands of a few enthusiasts who made them a show breed.

Teddy Roosevelt wrote that some Canadian and American hunters used "the greyhound, whether the smooth-haired, or the rough-coated Scotch deer-hound" on the wolf, and deer Dr. Q van Hummell also remarks on his Deerhound pack being used on timber wolves and coyotes. In Australia, Deerhounds and their cross-breeds such as the Kangaroo Dog have historically been used to hunt the kangaroo as well as wild boar, modern descriptions of such hunts with Deerhounds on kangaroo and emu have been recorded by Kenneth Cassels.

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