The Scottish Deerhound is a tall, slim sight hound, resembling a large Greyhound with a shaggy 3- to 4-in. long coat, beard, mustache, and mane. The harsh, wiry coat comes in various shades of gray (blue-gray preferred), gray brindle, or, rarely, red or fawn, all with dark ears and tapering dark muzzle. A little white is allowed on the chest, feet, and tail. The hair is softer on the underparts and head. The eyes are either chestnut or hazel, and the nose is a dark color. There is little stop. The teeth should form a level bite. The soft ears lie back against the head unless the dog is excited, in which case, they become half-pricked. The body closely approximates that of a large Greyhound, with straight forelegs, powerful arched loin, and tucked-up abdomen. The long straight or curved tail nearly reaches the ground. History:
The Scottish Deerhound was a deer hunting dog of the Scottish chieftains in the Middle Ages. The Deerhound was once so popular with Scottish high nobility, that the breed became known as the royal dog of Scotland. No one ranking below an earl was permitted to own one. The advent of gun hunting, development of fenced agriculture (which cut up the wide open spaces needed for such deer hunts), and the fall of the Scottish clan system resulted in the decline of the Scottish Deerhound. The breed almost became extinct. However, interest revived in the 1800s, and the breed was saved, largely due to the efforts of two brothers, Archibald and Duncan McNeill. Queen Victoria became a Deerhound fancier, and Sir Walter Scott also owned one. Though it was very difficult to feed these large dogs during World War II in Britain, and many people destroyed their dogs for lack of food, some dedicated Deerhound owners held out and saved their dogs. Today, this agile sight hound is primarily a companion, though he is sometimes still used to hunt rabbits and coyotes and for lure coursing.