Deerhound

A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Friday, June 30, 2006

No Blog Today.

So I have decided to point you toward the Wikipedia definition of we hounds.

This is what my blog is about - the love, lifestyle, nature and appreciation of all things deerhound

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Auld Rogue Pale Ale

I’ll soon be one year old and as a celebration, what do the Scots do best?

You guessed it, ferment a guid brew! Will this be the first Deerhound Ale? It won’t be the first drink enjoyed on a Birthday, that’s for sure! Now all I need to do is . . . ‘nip doon the Glen and bag us a pot fu’ o’ venison’. Just like the venison sandwiches frae Tomintoul, enjoyed at the Royal Highland Show this weekend.

Anyway check at the end of this blog for a copy of the little bottle label. That’s me - Auld Rogue in the picture.

And if you would like to try an ancient beer brew from Scotland all because you can’t get your hands on a bottle of ‘Auld Rogue’. Here’s a reasonably well distributed ale. A heather ale that has a 2000 year old recipe. Evidence of its early brewing having been found in an archeological dig.

There is even nice Pictish iconography on the website and bottle label.

Just click Fraoch for details about this Scottish ale.

And below - it’s my puppy pale ale.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

UK Government Freedom of Information.

It’s interesting that the world can now reflect on, or examine information supplied to and by the Governments of the world through the ease of access brought about by the internet.

Here is a little link that may be of interest to deerhound owners, if they want to examine how the humans argued for the right of we deeerhounds to chase other animals, so that their owners would not have to fear being prosecuted for it (from the year 2000 in the UK).

Read the links below -

Read this little deerhound piece if you’re a fan - Wey! the Deerhounds!

And read the complete section if you want to find out what it’s in relation to - Government stuff But hey! deerhounds have their own agenda














What the heck! I’m a deerhound and no matter what the humans say - If I see something I want to chase and I’m not tethered to the leash - I’m off!

As dogs, including scurvy sea dogs will tell you, the easiest way to avoid breaking any law is . . . don’t have any laws.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Popular Deerhound Revolutionary Front!

For almost a week, I’ve had to wear these T-shirts and take the medication, but it appears that the wound is healing. Anyone who has dealt with lacerations and punctures in dogs, and horses and the likes will know we animals like to lick them ’til we turn the wound inside out causing all sorts of prolonged healing problems. Sometimes a collar or bucket on the head, pair of tights, shorts, shirts etc can speed the process along. Lucky for me I just need to wear a selection of T-shirts. So here I am in todays shirt!

Yes! I am starting a revolution . . . deerhounds of the world unite! It’ll do until I find a Rob Roy MacGregor Tee! In the meantime here’s me, Brylach Macalistair Rogue and Ché.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Oh for the Touch of a Vanished Hand











The beautiful painting above is oft produced in print then incorrectly advertised when for sale, as a Wolfhound print, but it is infact the artist Herbert Dicksee’s deerhound. The original is 26" x 15", and was Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1892 and 1893 it features the Sad looking Deerhound ‘Brian’ lying on his master’s coat, with head resting on his gloves.

Truly an artists choice of dog and as John Keats once remarked:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.

Sometimes I think he was talking about us Deerhounds.

Beauty aside, I’ve certainly got to be inteligent researching for my blogspot, that’s for sure. More information and reference to the works of Herbert Thomas Dicksee, the English painter of Dogs and Animals from the Victorian Romantic era will be blogged soon.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still in a T-Shirt

Tuesday was Classic American, Wednesday was Goa and today its Pet Rescue.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Recent Contest of Wolf-Hunting -- The Rocky Mountains -- Siberian Wolf-Hounds vs. Scotch Deer-Hounds


Well believe it or not, the title of this little blog comes from the title for the fantastic illustration above. This illustration was produced for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly around 1892.

Who was Frank Leslie? Just Click onFrank Leslie for further information.

This deerhound illustration is historically quite interesting, especially when you read ‘Shag’ the ‘T C Hinkle’ book (more details of this little book soon). The tale in which a Scottish Rancher called Tom Glen is involved in a series of wolf hunting escapades, so fitting to the image above.

I wonder if the hyphenation of Scotch Deer-hound is common to the 19th Century / early 20th Century Americas?

We know there were so many Scottish exploreres, adventurers, ranchers and rogues in the Western Americas particularly following the American Civil war period. This leads to another question which has to be asked - Are these fictions designed to appeal to the Scottish emigres or based upon their lives?

Further research into deerhounds in America is underway.

Whatever the purpose - I think this is a fantastic image of a lesser represented deerhound as a wolf hunter in action. Go Buddy!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

T-Shirts and Crannogs




Another trip to the Vet and one inoculation, a course of antibiotics - antirobe capsuals - 2 types and I’ve even got to wear a T-shirt to stop me licking at my wound - how dignified. Smiling only please. Thanks to Angus and Isla for the get well wishes.

And just as a completely nothing to do with my injuries, if anyone reading my blog is ever in Scotland and in particular Perthshire and would like to travel back in time - visit the crannog and see how we used to live.

http://www.crannog.co.uk/

What colour the deerhound?

















Having the time to read as I recuperate from my trauma, I decided to dig into Thomas C. Hinkles book ‘Shag’ - the original printing from 1932, being the tale of the cowboy rancher Tom Glen and his Pure bred Deer-hound. Not quite a perfect grey like the rest of the litter but a yellow and white coloured wooly ‘throwback’ named Shag.

Where as, I will finish reading the book before blogging further on it, I thought I’d ask myself the question . . . What colour the Deerhound?

If we read the description from the crufts catalog regarding colour which states ‘Colour wheaten, brindle, grey, the last being the most popular. White is a blemish save for a blaze on the chest or a tip to the tail, . . .’ we get an approximate colour guide.

In most cases the colour does not affect the temperament of the dog. But where does the colour originate? And what is truely natural as opposed to desirable?

More dogs of a darker almost charcoal grey seem to be appearing at shows and now the ‘Ancient’ reds and rusts, brindles and wheaten colours are very rare. It would be nice to see some of these colours re-appearing I know that Uncanny the Ardkinglas hound that resided here had a lot of the rusty red throughout his coat.

If we look at some of the old art of the deerhound including the ‘Maida’ paintings the colour and markings for dogs referred to as deerhounds then, seem to be a lot different to the ‘desirable’ of today. Although further back in the time line, the ‘folk tales’ and ‘Myths’ of Scotland frequently make mention of large ‘Grey’ hounds. I will feature some of these tales here on the blog soon for those who read this blog but have no idea of what I speak.

If we associate the dogs breeding from that of the wolf, the colours grey and brown/red would definately be dominant in the genes. Particularly in the Northern regions of Europe.

Of interest in history, if we look at the English Greyhound (and you will find further detail of it previously on this blog), we know that during the refinement of the breed, when it was outlawed for commoners to own one, the colours became of importance.

The nobility requested dogs to be light with distinctive markings on them, perhaps white with a large brown or dark patch, or black and white, or all white with a coloured saddle or face. This made them easy to watch or wager on whilst in pursuit of game and also much easier to find from a distance or if they were to be lost.

The commoners of the period who continued to breed hounds, preferred the brindle, or browns, or smooth greys, colours that would be difficult for the sheriffs in the employ of nobles’ to detect. Particularly whilst out participating in illicit activities. For all hounds colour aside, the job at hand remained the same . . . ‘catch the quarry’.

Again, in Scotland, the weather conditions, temperatures and terrain would have bearing on the coat and because of the rough, scragginess of the coat, colour may not have been of such importance. The functionality of us deerhounds would have been the highest concern.

I hope to see a re-appearance of the Highland colours in the breed and am encouraging my family to look around the country to find them.

What think all yee other hounds? Contact me if you are not a grey.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rogue the wounded hound




Tonight after the rabbit round-up, as I was on my way home along my country lane, a mean Black Labarador called ‘Tiger’ came rushing out of its garden and pounced on my throat lacerating my skin. I was on the leash at the time and couldn’t make my escape. The expletives came thick and fast from my home side, expecting a former DCI of the local constabularies dog to be better behaved than this . . . especially a Labrador.

Now here I am, paws up, recovering from the latest injury.

But I’ll be back and the adventures will continue.

Deerhounds and the far reaching influence of the Picts and Celts


Here is an interesting old menu card artwork from 1950 - it’s not to difficult to guestimate the influences at work here. Upright hunting horseman - dashing stag - two cheery chasing hounds - interwoven border patern - just refer to the previous blog.

Hooch! n Hoots! its Deerhounds an’ their Clansman at work.

The artist appears to be George Bain o Drumnadrochit.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hilton of Cadboll Pictish Stone















If you have a keen appreciation for deerhounds and all things deerhound, you will no doubt be aware of the Pictish Stone of Hilton featuring hounds at the hunt.

This can be found in several books as reference to deerhounds in a historical context.

The original is now housed many miles from its home in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, making it more accesible to lowlanders and non Highland visitors.

Deerhound fans should visit both the original carving in the museum and more so, the Highlands from which it originated.

With my keepers family and relations being from (and many still reside in) the region of the original home of the stone. Plus, you may recall if you follow my blog, Rogue here was born up that neck of the woods or should it be that side o the glen?

We thought it’d be nice to let people know of the new ‘standing stane’ which was put in place in honour and respect for the original.

You can find a brief history of the stone and details of the sculptor and artist plus some interesting Pictish links if you visit this website.

Hilton Of Cadboll

Enjoy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Castell Henllys and Ancient Dogs

The Rogue-ster has been busy . . . chasing vandals from the farmers field. At last, 10 months old and I have got this chasing game down to a fine art. I even know where these crop damaging rabbits will be at, munching on the farmers hard work by the field edge.

Over the fence I go, and a wall of brown fur can be seen making a sharp exit as the Leporidae scarper back to their burrows.

Anyway this chase brings me to the both interesting and humorous little article which I will print in full below, and should you wish to find out more about Ancient lifestyle of the Ironage peoples visit this historical village

Castell Henllys

Ancient Dogs in Britain
By Phil Bennett
Published in abridged form in The Guardian Weekend January 2002

Gwyn the deerhound showed characteristic disdain when he was invited to become the 18th volunteer in the BBC's dramatic series 'Surviving the Iron Age', filmed at Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The series, which was broadcast last summer, followed the exploits of the group as they tried to experience Iron Age life in the reconstructed roundhouses at the fort.

Gwyn could not be persuaded to give up the comforts of the 21st century though, so a compromise was reached. He agreed to hang around during the day looking distinguished, so long as he could return to the comfort of his own sofa at night. Deerhounds are a large and ancient breed, trained in the past to chase and bring down deer. Ferocious as this may sound; deerhounds in reality are sensitive by nature and are graceful gentle giants. However, as sight hounds, they will chase anything that moves irrespective of where they are and despite any commands given by the owner.

Distinguished, maybe, but could Gwyn really be the descendant of prehistoric canine aristocrats? Early documentary sources refer to large hounds bred to chase deer and in Scotland inscribed stones have been found depicting such dogs accompanied by mounted hunters. An early example of these, the Hilton of Cadboll Stone is thought to date to the eighth century AD and shows a royal deer hunt led by a queen. Earlier still, there is evidence of hunting dogs from the Roman period in Britain. At Newstead Roman fort in Roxburghshire a beaker dating to around the first century AD was discovered depicting a fierce, hound-like dog leaping to bring down a deer. Also at Newstead fort an intaglio or engraved gem (usually from a finger ring) was found detailing a graceful leaping hound very similar to a deerhound.

The remains of the earliest known dogs to have lived in Britain have been discovered by archaeologists at cave sites such as Gough's Cave in Somerset, dating back towards the end of the last Ice Age around fifteen thousand years ago in the Old Stone Age. Archaeologists excavating a site called Star Carr in Yorkshire between 1949 and 1951 found bone evidence of dogs dating to around 9,500 years ago during the Middle Stone Age. It was almost certainly related to the wolf judging by the results of tooth analysis, although not quite so large. Its presence with humans at Star Carr and at other sites would suggest that the dog was the first animal to be domesticated by humans.

This early relationship might have originated from wolves scavenging around the kill sites and camps of hunter-gatherers, before their later cousins achieved a more symbiotic relationship by providing hunting and tracking skills beyond the ability of their masters. Doubtless they would also have been very important as watchdogs. By the end of the Middle Stone Age, around 6,000 years ago, and on through the New Stone Age, the inhabitants of Britain began to adopt a more settled way of life, herding livestock and growing a small amount of crops with less reliance on hunting and gathering. By 2,200BC Bronze Age Britain had a largely agrarian landscape with the emphasis on raising livestock. This might have encouraged farmers to breed into their dogs different characteristics from those previously needed. Dogs would have played an important role in the control and herding of sheep and cattle, and guarding them from the wolves that still prowled the wilder British countryside.

By the Iron Age, from around 700 BC, dogs appear to be used in different ways. The Iron Age is the first period in our history to be documented (albeit patchily and frustratingly vaguely) by contemporary writers from the Mediterranean world. One such commentator on the delights of Britain was Strabo, a Greek historian and geographer from Amaseia who lived from around 44 BC to AD 23. He described hunting dogs as an export to the continent from Iron Age Britain over 2000 years ago. He wrote that Britain:

"produces corn, cattle, gold, silver and iron. These things are exported, along with hides, slaves and dogs suitable for hunting. The Gauls, however, use both these and their own native dogs for warfare also."

The link between dogs and the Iron Age nobility might be seen at Danebury Hill, a hillfort in Hampshire where dogs (together with other animals and humans) appear to have been used as ritual offerings within pits previously employed for the storage of grain. The grain, packed tightly and sealed in the pit, was almost certainly seed grain and would have represented future security from hunger or amassed wealth for its owner. The opening of the pit after some months would have been fraught with uncertainty and it is likely that a ritual was performed for the procedure with entreaties to the Celtic deities into whose care the valuable grain had been committed. The sacrifices were perhaps offered in thanks to certain deities after grain was successfully recovered from the pits.

By the end of the Iron Age, it is clear that while most dogs were being bred and worked on the farm, some had a higher status linked to the Celtic aristocracy. The name of one of the most famous Iron Age chieftains of all, Cunobelinus, (Shakespeare's Cymbeline), translates as the "Hound of Belinos" (a Celtic deity).

It is quite possible that Gwyn's ancestors were the hunting dogs of the Celts although it is difficult to trace the origin of specific breeds. If large dogs similar to Deerhounds were bred for hunting in the Iron Age, it is easy to see how they would have enhanced, through their size, grace and bravery, the status of the aristocracy of the time. One wonders also whether the Celts would have faced the same challenges as 21st-century Deerhound owners, hoarsely and vainly shouting commands to a rapidly disappearing and seemingly deaf dog intent on chasing anything that moves. I wonder what "COME BACK" would have sounded like in the Iron Age.



Thanks to Barry Cunliffe, Alison Sheridan, Adam Gwilt and Roger Jacobi for their kind comments and help.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Natural History Museum and Dogs.

Today I thought it important to get the detail of this little exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Tring. You don’t have much time if you wish to visit, but click on the link to find out the details. And below I have lifted a little copy from the NHMs website to whet your appetite - I hope they do not mind, but hey! I’m a dog - I don’t know any better. And would you believe they open their copy with Deerhounds.

Dog Exhibition

From deerhounds to dachshunds and wolfhounds to whippets, no other species has the amazing diversity of shape and size that we see in dogs.

For thousands of years mankind has used dogs for hunting, guarding, herding, and companionship. In China, dogs have been bred as pets for more than 2,000 years.

Skeleton of an Early Bronze Age dog from Tell Duweir, near Israel © The Natural History Museum, London 2005.

Archaeological evidence suggests the domestic dog appeared around 15,000 years ago and on display for the first time is a skeleton of a dog from the Early Bronze Age (around 4,500 years ago) excavated from Tell ed-Duweir, part of the ancient city of Lachish, 40 kilometres south west of Jerusalem, Israel.

Selective breeding

Over time, man selectively bred dogs to encourage particular characteristics, for example large dogs with long shaggy coats were bred for their fur to make warm clothing.

'Today's domestic dogs are man-made friends,' said Alice Dowswell, exhibition curator at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum. 'Humans have altered their shape, size, coat, colouring and, to an extent, their behaviour to create hundreds of very different breeds'.

An interesting example is the unusual bulldog, Spike, who was bred 'backwards' to achieve a longer-legged, more active version of the breed. This is illustrated in the exhibition by a display of different sized bulldog skulls from different time periods.

Dowswell explains how some characteristics of modern pedigree dogs haven't proved practical, 'Certain breeds experience difficulties with seeing, breathing, movement or even giving birth, because they've been bred to have heads, legs or bottoms of a certain shape and size.'

The exhibition examines the results of selective breeding using mounted dogs, skeletal material, and fun interactives.

DNA almost identical

It has long been thought that the domestic dog, Canis familiaris , evolved from wolves, but this has been hard to prove. Recently though, scientists have studied the genetic code of dogs and have found their DNA to be almost identical to the wolf - only 0.2 per cent of their DNA is different - compare this to the difference between a wolf and coyote which is four per cent. The domestic dog is therefore essentially a descendant of the grey wolf.

Dogs: Man-Made Friends? is a free exhibition on until 9 July at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, the Natural History Museum's sister museum in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Uncanny offspring of Ardkinglas Krystal with Ricky

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Just a picture of me today

Eat the Deerhound?

Today in my deerhound life I read a very interesting article. It’s unusual and surprisingly relevant with todays political/environmental climate issues and what’s more, ties the deerhound into the ancient history of the Viking. Archealogical evidence found in Greenland, shows remains of a deerhound with, ‘gulp’ knife marks on its bones. Created by members of a starving community of Vikings who were driven to desperate measures through a possible event caused by a climate change.

Read about it all here - Food for Thought

Anway, where did these Vikings go?

If we look at some of the Western Isle stone carvings, (and anyone with ‘The Deerhound’ book by A.N. Hartley will see the MacDuffie of Colonsay Stone as one of the plates,) we see Deehounds at the hunt and sailing vessels clearly similar to the Norse Long Ships. It’s known that the Vikings (thought to be farmers) expanded into Scotland during medieval times and added to the rich meltingpot that became Scotland. Colonsay being Argyll, there is another interesting tie from the ‘Fienn’ tales and their rivals the ‘Lochlan’ (Vikings) in which can be found the story of ‘Bran’. This we know is a name handed down through the Deerhound breed and can be seen from the now famous 1835 painting.

Another little nugget from the Rogue that you might find interesting is this - According to Micheil MacDonald's book "The Clans of Scotland", "The oldest form of the [MacFie/MacPhee/Duffie/MacDuffie] surname, recorded around 1240, is macdufthi -- close to the sound of the Gaelic MacDubhsithe, which could be translated as 'Son of the Secret Peacemaker' or even 'Son of the Fairy People'. It is one of the oldest surname constructions in the western world."

Friday, June 09, 2006

We’re a happy family

Blogger has been down for a couple of days - oh nightmare!

What news? I have had some comment via e-mail on the earlier posted deerhound history, mainly on the coursing point, good to receive the feedback, so I have a few interesting postings coming soon. As a dog it can be difficult gaining access to Libraries and Museums, but my human companions have been busy in a variety of locations - National Library of Scotland, Cambridge University Library, Edinburgh University Library amongst others. A little problem is that both them and I don’t read Latin and we are all relying on the translations available.

Much of the medieval and ancient recordings have been scripted in Latin. Although documents located, do provide information from the period in which they were produced. We have to take care to read between the lines of political and religious rhetoric to picture an actual truth.

In the meantime here’s a happy family postcard from days gone by . . . enjoy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Easy! Easy!

Well, World Cup fever is here again, and we Deerhounds can only support one team. That’s right - it’s easy! easy! We support the boys in blue! And as Scotland have qualified for the World Cup more times than any other UK team, we thought we’d celebrate with this little 1967 World Cup win. Watch as the oh so fantastic (we never here the end of it,) English World Cup Champions are shown how to play a real game o fit ba’.

Underdogs . . . who us?

Celebrate! Deerhounds everywhaur!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Scottish Deerhound proud amongst their people!




As the hunter of the Monarch, and born from a misty history that goes back thousands of years, rather than to that of a time when a common written word arrived in the Land of the Pechtaih, Dal Riata, Caledonia or Alba. Written word that was an attempt to control and claim. To re-order, and quick to distort truths. Like the Roman ‘deridere’ of that which they could not control. We Deerhounds, nae if we must be labeled, Scottish Deerhounds, sons and daughters of the Norse Tribes, Dogs and Bitches of the highlands, can be proud amongst all other dogs - for we go back to the union of man and canid. Back to when ‘myths’ were what they were, ‘words’ - mythology, wordology, stories were based on truths from times before even the Romans. There is record from the Romans, who were in wonder at the Great dogs found amongst the Blue People of the North . . . The Picts, Dogs that the Romans took back to Rome as part of the spectacle. From a time before christianity, a time among the Gaels, a time back even to prehistory.

What is the little Rogue growling about today?

A book that could have been so much better, if it had not attempted to re-write Deerhound history in its opening line which reads ’The Deerhound of Scotland hunts primarily by sight and owes its origin to the Greyhound of England’. What Tosh!!! Juliette Cunliffe, put together a little book that can be admired for its insight into the Deerhound and their behaviour, their health and well being, the medical care, a nice little book in a popular culture styling, a nice little book, excepting for the History. Another error in the modern sense is the glaring omission in the failure to name the importance of Anastasia Noble and even the geographic significance of her Argyll Kennels to the Breed and it’s Breeding. Argyll birthplace of Scotland and the very environment the hounds were originally conditioned from.

‘Deerhound’ has a history which Juliette portrays as begining around 16th century in Scotland. Well, I suggest we look at some evidence, even as simple as the Kirriemuir stone from around the 6th century (go and find it) and the deerhound history is suddenly 1000 years older. So what, the words of control, labeling the deerhound much later in a historical timeline. We will feature tales and carvings here as evidence to the deerhound and hunt. Dating from times when the Gods were a plenty more likely Pagan. And the deerhounds are the dog of legend that existed in many Pagan tale.

Back to the Deerhound book featured here - when it comes to researched history, The Deerhound by Norah Hartley is far superior, and captures a more genuinely enthusiastic examination of the evolution of the deerhound from antiquity to present.

Although todays blog appears as a scolding criticism of Juliettes book it is the ’history’ element I fear needs attention, you should not be put off buying it if you have a serious interest in the breed.

In defense of the book there are still plenty Deerhound going on between the covers. It is admirable to undertake a book about a dog breed that the dog represents a nation, and a nation that has had its share of hardships, betrayals, and victories a nation that has travelled and taken its dog with it. Juliette herself tells, the first Deerhound club was the ‘Scottish Deerhound Club’ in America. There was a reason for that ‘Scottish’.

So if you want the History of the Deerhound, keep coming back here, for we will provide the evidence and the argument.














As for the English Greyhound

Paleontologists and archaeologists have determined that Miacis, a weasel-like animal, is the ancestor of the canids as well as other families such as bears, racoons, civets, hyaenas and cats. From Miacis evolved Cynodictis, a dog-like animal from which later evolved the dog family. All canids share common characteristics - they bear live young, have similar dental structures, walk on their toes rather than the soles of their feet, and are homeothermic (able to maintain their body temperature at a constant level).

The domestic dog has been represented in art for many years with the earliest being sculptures of dogs found in Iraq and dating back to 6500 BC. Dog bones have been discovered dated at around 15,00 BC in the Middle East, 8300 BC in the USA, 7500 BC in the UK with similar finds in Czechoslovakia. It is even considered that there may have been, in type, dogs from around 40,000 BC. One thing is certain, the domestic dog spread rapidly all over the world.

The dog's natural hunting instincts have been used by humans over the years to hunt a variety of prey in different environments and this led to the development of different groups of dogs, and ultimately to different dog breeds.

"Sight Hounds" or "Gaze Hounds" were an early group of dogs developed, whose characteristics included a deep chest, long legs and a keen sense of sight. These dogs were used to spot prey from a distance and then to sprint swiftly and silently to run down prey in open, treeless countries. From this group dog breeds such as the Deerhound, Afghan, Saluki and Greyhound emerged.

The Greyhound can trace its origins back beyond English royalty to mankinds development to civilization. The favourite of the Egyptian Pharaohs and middle eastern nomadic tribes, adored for its speed, stamina, grace and loyalty, the greyhound rode with their master’s caravan, shared their master’s tent and were even known to wear the same amulets to ward off evil spirits. Greyhounds where often mummified and buried with their Egyptian owners to allow hunting in the afterlife. The likelyhood is that these greyhounds would resemble what we now know as the Pharaoh Hound.

It should also be noted that throughout early recorded history the greyhound can be spotted receiving mention. The Old Testament records, proverbs 30:29 and 31 "There be thee things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:"- "A Greyhound".

From Egypt, the greyhound migrated with the great camel trains, armies and traders to other lands, Russia, Greece and Rome - where they were found at the far outposts of the vast Roman Empire, and it is suspected to include Britain, There are reports that the romans believed the Celts to be the first breeders of the long dogs.

There is also legend/myth of the great fighting Army of Pharaoh ‘Scotta’ sailing the mediteranean from Scythia (Phonecia), colonising what we now know as Spain/Portugal then eventually sailing north to what we now know as Ireland and Scotland this army were known as the Scottas. Is it myth or what truth lies in the fact that the Pharoah existed.

In Homer's "Odyssey" the faithful hound Argus that recognized Odysseus, when no other could was a Greyhound. And later we can examine Deerhound history through the Poems of Ossian and the ‘Scot’ Fionn Mac Chumail and his hound Bran. Is this stolen from Homer?

Being a "sight" hound, hunting using a vision, rather than scent or sound, they have eyesight keen enough to spot small moving objects at distances to one half mile. This eyesight and the sprinter's body capable of forty to forty-five mile per hour bursts make the greyhound the fastest of all dog breeds. As with any fast sprinting animal (the Cheetah among the cats as another example) the Greyhound has often been described by owners as the worlds fastest "couch potato" a similarity indeed to Deerhounds. Greyhounds surprisingly require less exercise than the average dog maybe excepting the Scottish Deerhound.

This breed's modern English name has been traced back to a middle English "Greihound" which has origins in an Icelandic (probably Norse) "Greyhundr" by way of an old English name "Grighund". All this travel from a dog whose earliest mention is from the cradle of civilization itself. Their link with nobility in Britain was established in 1014 when King Canute enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds.

It was said something similar of deerhounds, only being permited into ownership of nobles in Scotland - but this is less likely at this time as the Scottish Highland Clan system, was more about sharing amongst Clan, Kith and Kin and the deerhound was likely to provide for all.

By the 15th and 16th century the Greyhound found itself doing less hunting in England and more formalized racing. The English have long "Coursed" greyhounds. This sport took the form of releasing a rabbit in the center of a large field and the dog from one edge of this field. The intent was to judge the Greyhound's speed, and ability to hunt, as it raced out to try to catch the fleeing rabbit. This was oft the method of selection from a period when the greyhound almost became extinct, around the 10th century where populations were desimated with famines and pestilence. Clergymen continued to breed the dog and encouraged Nobles to continue their use - from this would stem the Forest laws. We can also understand from this very early form of coursing, the evolution of Greyhound racing.

Deerhounds were much less about sport and the chasing of released rabbits and more about running down a mountain deer for survival. The Highlands and Glens are not such flat land. As mentioned elsewhere in our blog - this landscape is formative in the development of the Deerhound.

An interesting hound sidenote is that The first greyhound recorded to arrive in Australia, stepped ashore alongside Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks at Botany Bay in 1770. The purest hound reaches the last corner of the globe . . . who will be the first on another planet? We know that canids lead us into Space!