Origin of The Scottish Deerhound



The exact origin of The Scottish Deerhound is shrouded in the mists of antiquity.

A large, strong and morebrave hearted dog doesn’t exist.  In thechurchyard of Meigle,

Perthshire, are sculptured stones showing several dogs of this breed. The date of which is

considered to have been prior to the introduction of Christianity.


As the name implies the Deerhound was bred in olden days for the purposes of deer hunting

before rifles were known or any species of firearmsdreamt of. The stag had to be fairly followed

and overtaken by superior swiftness, ceased and overpowered by superior force.

It is evident that dogs of no ordinary kind could accomplish this and therefore, no surprise to

find out that the Highland Deer-Hounds were superior to every other known breed for the combination they exhibited of speed, endurance, courage and power.


In England the breed appears to have been greatly encouraged.  In Anglo-Saxson times

a Nobleman never went out unaccompanied by his hawk and some of these dogs.

So highly were they esteemed that by the Forest Laws of King Canute it was ordered

that no person under the rank of a Gentleman should keep one, in fact, in Scotland no-one

under the ranking of Earl could own one, and if three or more were owned then

the death sentence could never be passed on a person of that peerage.

This law has never been repealed to this day.


The Highland Chieftains prized and cared for their dogs with great zeal.

In The Buik of Chronicles it is written how the theft of King Crathlint’s favourite hound

precipitated a battle in which 100 Picts and 60 Scots perished.

The first Deerhounds were taken to North America in the 1800s andrecords show

that General Custer, in his campaigns in the West, owned and hunted three Deerhounds.

The first Deerhound registered with the American Kennel Club was in 1866.


The Scottish Deerhound, one of the most majestic of dogs, truly the Royal Dog of Scotland,

is one which generates great pride of possession and engenders an everlasting love and affection.


In describing the Deerhound the following translation from the Celtic

shows the ancient ideas regarding his personal requisites


“An eye of sloe, with ear not low,

With horses breast, with depth of chest,

With breadth of loin and curve in groin,

And nape set far behind the head;

Such were the dogs that Fingal bred.”


The Deerhound Gallery is the result of the enthusiasm of one of life’s more likeable pilgrims

and is dedicated to the many years of joy and happiness gained from owning and breeding Deerhounds and being part of the Scottish Deerhound Fraternity.


It is with great pleasure, therefore, that we present images, text, sculpture and records

of one of God’s truly magnificent creatures.