Celtic Hounds, the New World and Deerhounds?
Way back in the mists of the highlands . . . no, I mean my blogspot . . . we mentioned the artwork of Frank Leslie which featured a Deerhound and Siberian Wolfhound in pursuit of a wolf.
Well, recent research on the hound front, has uncovered the interesting point that when the colonisation of the Americas began - almost as many dogs made the journey to the new world, as humans did.
And, whilst our research on the Deerhound front is ongoing, an interesting discovery indicates that, as the Puritans journeyed to this New World, much of their livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) died on the journey and they, that did survive were prey to the wolf of the areas settled.
The Puritans placed bounty on these predatory wolves heads and on August the 12th 1633 a John Winthrop Jr, received a letter from an Edward Hawes, telling him, “3 woolfe doggs & a bitch with an Irish boy to tend them”, had been shipped to him. He was also informed that “unlike other Irish, this boy was honest”. A reflection of the attitude of the time no doubt.
The success of these woolfe-hounds in the pursuit of their quarry was such, that by 1648 the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized it’s towns to order as many dogs as required to obliterate the woolfe population.
The effectiveness of these great Celtic hounds and their ability to perform their task, meant that by the date of the American Civil war, very few wolves could be found East of the Mississippi river. This hunting activity had proved similar to the hounds erradicating the wolf populus in Ireland and Britain. A hound effective in its purpose indeed.
With so many Scots also travelling to the New World colonies (whether through choice or otherwise), it is highly likely that deerhounds (being prized as they were) also made the journey with them.
As mentioned, many ships of the period travelled with as many dogges on board as they did people. The benefit of dogges being, that they provided, protection, warnings to dangers, could hunt and least appealing of all by todays western standards and my hound standard, could also be used as a food source should the worst come to the worst.
When we uncover more historic information about the ships and their canine cargos that had set sail from the many Scottish ports from the 1600’s (or earlier) onwards, we will be sure to blog it here. Along with all of the deerhound histories we uncover.
Remember, we are keen to hear comment from amyone with deerhound information or simply, deerhound interest.