The Decorative Deerhound

The Decorative Deerhound

The Deerhound is​ one of​ the most decorative of​ dogs, impressively stately and​ picturesque wherever he is​ seen, whether it​ be amid the surroundings of​ the baronial hall, reclining at​ luxurious length before the open hearth in​ the fitful light of​ the log fire that flickers on​ polished armour and​ tarnished tapestry; out in​ the open, straining at​ the leash as​ he scents the dewy air, or​ gracefully bounding over the purple of​ his native hills .​
Grace and​ majesty are in​ his every movement and​ attitude, and​ even to​ the most prosaic mind there is​ about him the inseparable glamour of​ feudal romance and​ poetry .​

From remote days the Scottish nobles cherished their strains of​ Deerhound, seeking glorious sport in​ the Highland​ forests .​
The red deer belonged by inexorable law to​ the kings of​ Scotland, and​ great drives, which often lasted for​ several days, were made to​ round up the herds into given neighbourhoods for​ the pleasure of​ the court, as​ in​ the reign of​ Queen Mary .​
But the organised coursing of​ deer by courtiers ceased during the Stuart troubles, and​ was left in​ the hands of​ retainers, who thus replenished their chief's larder .​
The head should be broadest at​ the ears, tapering slightly to​ the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to​ the nose .​
The muzzle should be pointed, but the teeth and​ lips level .​
The head should be long, the skull flat rather than round, with a​ very slight rise over the eyes, but with nothing approaching a​ stop .​
The skull should be coated with moderately long hair which is​ softer than the rest of​ the coat .​
The nose should be black (though in​ some blue-fawns the colour is​ blue) and​ slightly aquiline .​
in​ the lighter-coloured dogs a​ black muzzle is​ preferred .​
There should be a​ good moustache of​ rather silky hair, and​ a​ fair beard .​

The ears should be set on​ high, and, in​ repose, folded back like the Greyhound's, though raised above the head in​ excitement without losing the fold, and​ even, in​ some cases, semi-erect.The ear should be soft, glossy, and​ like a​ mouse's coat to​ the touch, and​ the smaller it​ is​ the better .​
It should have no long coat or​ long fringe, but there is​ often a​ silky, silvery coat on​ the body of​ the ear and​ the tip .​
Whatever the general colour, the ears should be black or​ dark-coloured .​

Neck and​ shoulders:-
The neck should be long that is, of​ the length that befits the Greyhound character of​ the dog .​
The nape of​ the neck should be very prominent where the head is​ set on, and​ the throat should be clean-cut at​ the angle and​ prominent .​
The shoulders should be well sloped, the blades well back, with not too much width between them .​
Stern should be tolerably long, tapering, and​ reaching to​ within​ 1-1/2 inches of​ the ground, and​ about 1-1/2 inches below the hocks .​
When the dog is​ still, dropped perfectly straight down, or​ curved .​
When in​ motion​ it​ should be curved when excited, in​ no case to​ be lifted out of​ the line of​ the back .​
It should be well covered with hair, on​ the inside thick and​ wiry, underside longer .​
The eyes should be dark: generally they are dark brown or​ hazel .​
The eye is​ moderately full with a​ soft look in​ repose, but a​ keen, far-away gaze when the dog is​ roused .​
The rims of​ the eyelids should be black .​

Body: The body and​ general formation​ is​ that of​ a​ Greyhound of​ larger size and​ bone .​
Chest deep rather than broad, but not too narrow and​ flat-sided .​
The loin​ well arched and​ drooping to​ the tail .​

Legs and​ feet:-
The legs should be broad and​ flat, a​ good broad forearm and​ elbow being desirable .​
Fore-legs, of​ course, as​ straight as​ possible .​
Feet close and​ compact, with well-arched toes .​
The hind-quarters drooping, and​ as​ broad and​ powerful as​ possible, the hips being set wide apart .​
The hind-legs should be well bent at​ the stifle, with great length from the hip to​ the hock, which should be broad and​ flat .​

The hair on​ the body, neck, and​ quarters should be harsh and​ wiry, and​ about 3 inches or​ 4 inches long; that on​ the head, breast, and​ belly is​ much softer .​
There should be a​ slight hairy fringe on​ the inside of​ the fore and​ hind-legs, but nothing approaching to​ the feathering of​ a​ Collie .​
The Deerhound should be a​ shaggy dog, but not over coated .​

Colour is​ much a​ matter of​ fancy .​
But there is​ no manner of​ doubt that the dark blue-grey is​ the most preferred .​
Next come the darker and​ lighter greys or​ brindles, the darkest being generally preferred .​
Yellow and​ sandy-red or​ red-fawn, especially with black points i.e., ears and​ muzzle are also in​ equal estimation​ .​
From 28 inches to​ 30 inches, or​ even more if​ there be symmetry without coarseness, which, however, is​ rare .​
Height of​ bitches: From 26 inches upwards .​
There can be no objection​ to​ a​ bitch being large, unless she is​ too coarse, as​ even at​ her greatest height she does not approach that of​ the dog, and, therefore, could not well be too big for​ work, as​ over-big dogs are.

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