Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed information Exchange)
The Encyclopaedia of sport & games 1911
Deerhound and Wolfhound
This extremely fine hound, so nearly allied to the greyhound, is often erroneously called the staghound. He is the Scottish deerhound pure and simple, sagacious, intelligent, and in his rough affection and somewhat rugged appearance anything but uncharacteristic of his country. Probably the earliest mention we have of the Scottish deerhound appears in Hector Boece's "History of Scotland," a peculiar work, inasmuch as, originally written in Latin, and printed in France, 1526—7, it was translated into English by royal command in 1531. Here a story is mentioned that certain Picts went to hunt with the King of Scots at Craithlint. The hounds of the latter so proved their vast superiority to those of the former that the Picts were astonished. To console them the king presented them with both dogs and bitches of the best strains, but, not being contented therewith, the Picts stole one of the king's favourite hounds. The thieves were chased and overtaken; a great fight took place, in which a hundred Picts were slain and threescore gentlemen of the other side, besides a great number of commoners; and of the latter it was said that they had not known what the fight was all about. The hound was recovered.
The Scottish nobles have from that time to the present carefully preserved their strains of deerhounds, which were originally used for the purpose of aids in deer-stalking and in coursing deer. Deer-coursing is not followed now, and retrievers and collies are used in most forests in preference, as disturbing the ground less, and not being so liable to drive the deer out of bounds. At present, it is doubtful whether there are in all half-a-dozen forests where the deerhound is kept for purely sporting purposes, and some recent statistics obtained show that, out of sixty forests. Scottish deerhounds were used only in about seven. The hound will, however, survive, .if only as a purely fancy dog:and as a companion, for he is good-tempered, handsome. and sensible, and, when brought up and trained to live in the house or in the stable, no dog is more faithful, and his noble bear ing and dark-coloured almond-shaped eye. are always objects of admiration. Of late Englishmen have paid greater attention to the improvement of the deerhound so far as appearance is concerned, and in all case? when Scottish kennels have been dispersed by auction Englishmen have secured the plums. Prices have ruled small, and at an auction some fifteen years since, well-bret and good-looking deerhounds brought little more than a number of mongrel terriers would have realised, a grand old stud-hound of great character failing to attract a higher bid than a solitary one of a sovereign. The deerhound should in colour be either brindled in various shades, or blue or fawn, even inclining to red; white is detrimental, though a little is often found on the chest and feet. Occasionally white deerhound; have been produced, or at any rate very pale fawns, but a purely black specimen has not come under notice. The brindlec are considered best, and are perhaps most attractive, but many persons prefer a fawn dog, a hue which somehow or other appear; to enhance the elegance of the outline of the hounds. The very large and heavily made dogs are not desirable, as, though they may be better able to hold a stag, the} are much more liable to cut themselves on the rocks and loose stones than are the lighter hounds. A good male specimen should not stand more than 30 inches at the shoulders, a bitch a couple of inches less:a dog may weigh between 80 Ibs. and 90 Ibs.. a bitch from 70 Ibs. to 80 Ibs. These figures are taken from well-known specimens of the modern hound which have secured leading honours at'our chief showMany stories are told of the endurance or the Scottish deerhound; he can run on scent as well as by sight, and is mute in the chase. but when his quarry is brought to "bay" the hound opens, and by his baying or barking attracts his master, who soon givethe coup de grace to a noble stag. At aD well-regulated shows with any pretension? to comprehensiveness, classes for deerhounds are provided; but for some reason or other, which can only arise from the vagaries of fashion,.he is not a popular dog and where a St. Bernard approaching perfection might be sold for anything between £200 and £500, a deerhound of equal merit would not realise more than from £50 to £100, and nearer the former figure than than latter.
Irish Wolfhound --
A great deal has been written about the Irish Wolfhound; he has had admirers and detracters, The latter with a good deal of reason since that the last of his race became extinct when the last Irish wolf was destroyed. The former say he still survives in all his purity. The modern Irish wolfhound is undoubtedly a cross between the Great Dane and the Scottish deerhound; he is by no means uncommon now, and is useful in hunting big game, while he can also do his duty satisfactorily in the Scottish deer forests.
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