This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
This breed of dogs is, I believe, one of the oldest and purest in existence, but it is now rapidly becoming extinct, being supplanted in public estimation, for coursing purposes, by the English greyhound, or by a cros3 between the two. The rough greyhound is identical in shape and make with the pure deerhound, and the two can only be distinguished by their style of running when at work or play; the deerhound, though depending on his nose, keeping his head much higher than the greyhound, because he uses this attitude in waiting to pull down his game. By some people it is supposed that the smooth variety of the greyhound is as old as the rough; but,on carefully examining the description given by Arrian no one can doubt that the dog of his day was rough in coat, and in all respects like the present Scotch dog. In shape, the Scotch greyhound resembles the ordinary smooth variety, but he is rather more lathy, and has not quite the same muscular development of loin and thigh, though, the bony frame being more fully developed, this is perhaps more apparent than real.
Fig. 3. - DEERHOUND, BRAN.
In spite of the external form being the same in the rough Scotch greyhound used for coursing hares, and the deerhound, there can be no doubt that the two breeds, from having been kept to their own game exclusively, are specially adapted to its pursuit by internal organization, and the one cannot be substituted for the other with advantage. Generally speaking, the deerhound is of larger size than the greyhound, some being 28 inches high, though this size is not very uncommon in the greyhound, and dogs of 26 1/2 or 27 inches are frequently seen. Mr. Scrope, the author of "Deer-stalking," gives the following description of Buskar, a celebrated deerhound belonging to Captain McNeill of Colonsay, viz.: bight, 28 inches; girth round the chest, 32 inches; running weight, 85 lbs.; color, red or fawn, with black muzzle. Bran, whose portrait is given at the head of this chapter, and which showed all the points of the deerhound, was by Mr. Stewart Hodgson's Oscar, of the breed of Mr. McKenzie, of Ross-shire, Scotland. The measurement of this noble animal was as follows: from nose to setting on of the tail, 47 inches; tail, 22 inches; bight, 32 inches; length of head, 12 inches; circumference of head, 17 1/2 inches; round the arm at the elbow, 9 1/2 inches; girth at chest, 33 1/2 inches; girth at loin, 24 inches; round the thigh, 17 1/2 inches; round lower thigh hock, 7 inches; knee, 7 inches.
To these external qualifications were added great speed and strength, combined with endurance and courage, while the sagacity and docility of the dog made him doubly valuable. He was used for coursing the deer, but his nose was good enough for hunting, even a cold scent, as was the case with all of his breed. Whether or not the deerhound can now be procured in a state of purity, I am not prepared to say, but that they are extremely rare, is above dispute, though there are numberless animals resembling them in form, but all more or less crossed with the foxhound, bloodhound, bulldog, etc., and consequently not absolutely pure. Mr. Scrope himself, with all his advantages, could not succeed in obtaining any, and had recourse to the cross of the greyhound with the foxhound, which, he says, answered particularly well; as, according to his experience, "you get the speed of the greyhound with just enough of the nose of the foxhound to answer your purpose___In point of shape, they resemble the greyhound, but they are larger in the bone and shorter in the leg.
Some of them, when in slow action, carry the tail over the back like the pure foxhound; their dash in making a cast is most beautiful, and they stand all sorts of rough weather." He advises that the first cross only should be employed, fearing that, as in some other instances,the ultimate results of breeding back to either strain, or of going on with the two crosses, would be unsatisfactory. "Maida," the celebrated deerhound belonging to Sir Walter Scott, was a cross of the greyhound with the bloodhound, but some distance off the latter. The bulldog infusion has the disadvantage of making the deerhound thus bred, attack the deer too much in front, by which he is almost sure to be impaled on the horns, so that, in spite of the high courage of the breed, it is from this cause quite useless in taking deer.
The rough Scotch greyhound, as used for coursing, averages about 26 inches in the dog, and 22 or 23 inches in the bitch; but as above remarked, its use is almost abandoned in public, and those which are still bred are either used in private, or are kept entirely for their ornamental properties, which are very considerable, and, as they resemble the deerhound, they are very commonly passed off for them. They are of all colors, but the most common are fawn, red, brindled (either red and black mixed, or fawn and blue), grey, and black. The coat is harsh, long, and rough, especially about the jaws, where the hair stands out like that of a Scotch terrier. In speed they are about equal to the smooth greyhound, but they do not appear to be quite so stout, though of late we have had no opportunities of judging, as a rough greyhound in public is rare in the extreme. Mr. A. Graham, who formerly was celebrated for his breed of these dogs, has now abandoned their use, excepting when largely crossed with the smooth greyhound, for which purpose they seem well suited, when the former are too small or too delicate for the work they have to do.
But as these are now bred of a much more hardy kind than formerly, so that they will stand cold and wet almost as well as the Scotch dog, there is little necessity for resorting to the cross, and it is accordingly abandoned by almost all the breeders of the animal. Nevertheless, some of the best dogs of the present day have a strain of the rough dog in them, but it is gradually dying out as compared with ten or twenty years ago. It is alleged, and I fancy with some truth, that the rough dog runs cunning sooner than the smooth, and hence the cross is objected to; and certainly many litters of greyhounds bred in this way within the last few years have been remarkable for this objectionable vice.
The points, or desirable external characteristics of this breed, with the exception of the rough coat, are so similar to those of the smooth greyhound, that the two may be considered together.