Scottish Deerhound Breed History
Derived from the same stock as the early smooth-coated greyhounds, these rough-coated deerhounds were reserved for nobility only. Anyone ranking lower than an earl could not own a Scottish deerhound. While the stag population decreased in England, the Scottish Highlands still boasted plenty of deer. The larger of deerhounds were brought to the Highlands to hunt the many bucks in the area. Novelist Sir Walter Scott often wrote about the Scottish deerhound; he owned a bitch named “Maida.” In the mid-1700s, the dogs were hoarded by the chieftains in the area, which resulted in a decline of the breed. When breech-loading rifles were invented, many hunters chose guns over coursing, which contributed to further decline in the breed’s numbers. By the mid-1800s, serious attempts to restore the breed were successful, producing low numbers but high-quality dogs. In the 1860s, the first deerhound club was formed in England and the first dogs were shown in the ring. In 1886, the AKC registered the first Scottish deerhound, Bonnie Robin. The First World War came, and with it came another decrease in the number of deerhounds. Mainly large estates owned the breed, and few of these estates survived the war intact. The Scottish deerhound still has few specimens, however each one is of high quality.
Scottish Deerhound Breed Maintenance
The deerhound’s shaggy, harsh coat requires weekly combing. Additional grooming includes plucking and trimming of excess hair from its ears and pads of its feet. Occasionally, stray hairs will need to be cut and the coat should be plucked twice yearly. The Scottish deerhound sheds very little. This breed needs plenty of exercise, including ample off-leash free time, since it likes to run. It is capable of living outdoors in temperate to cool climates, however it enjoys the company of its family so much that it truly isn’t suited to be an outside pet. As a large breed, the deerhound needs sufficient space and soft bedding to prevent calluses. It can jump quite high and if left alone in the yard, the fence should be over six-feet tall.
Training: Training needs to begin at a young age. Scottish Deerhounds should be allowed to meet new people and other dogs and cats. They are quick learners if handled correctly. A friendly tone of your voice will get them to do what you need.
It is recommended that Deerhounds also have a home with a high fenced yard as they can easily jump a six-foot fence. Owners should be a patient, easy going and never harsh and should appreciate the breed's sensitivity to the smallest changes.