From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
There is something about the shaggy hunting dogs of Britain that makes a
particular appeal to those who arc attracted to dogs.
It may be the touching contrast of their harsh coat and
rugged body with the soft, affectionate look in the almost hidden eye.
It may be the knowledge of the indomitable courage and
immunity from fear that is latent in the friendly creature that
noses our palm and meets our advances with such amiable readiness.
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Whatever its causes, these brave and friendly dogs, such favorites with
Landseer and Burns, have surely maintained their enviable position in our regard.
In the United States they are seldom seen, as only a few have been
introduced and little done to establish the breed here.
This is unfortunate, though easy to understand, as our laws do not
permit the hunting of antlered game with dogs, and our carnivorous
big game demands dogs of a heavier and more aggressive nature
than these fleet chasers of the Highland stag.
Scottish Deerhounds Appearance
In appearance the deerhound is much like a harsh-coated,
grizzled greyhound, and is an undersized counterpart of the great
Irish wolfhound, standing from 26 to 29 or 30 inches.
They are self-colored, the dark blue grays being perhaps the favorites.
Cream, fawn, sandy brown, and both light and dark brindles are perhaps more frequently seen.
Any large amount of white is a fault, as it indicates a foreign strain,
even though the dog be fine in other respects.
The Scottish deerhound might well be described as a powerfully built,
rough-coated greyhound. While not as swift as his English cousin,
he has speed enough for most purposes and strength and stamina,
which made him a valued partner in the chase before the days of the modern rifle.
In olden times the possession of a fine deerhound was a matter of
sufficient consequence for tribes to go to war about.
In a battle between the Picts and Scots over one of these dogs more than 160 men were killed.
The deerhound makes a wonderful companion.
His honest, dark hazel eyes, looking straight out from under their
shaggy brows, quiet but fearless, bespeak the rugged beauty of his soul and
gain at once our admiration and our confidence.