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« Every dog might have his day, but this little guy just has a number | Main | On the red carpet. I mean that literally. In flats. »

09 May 2009


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It is SO annoying to see people regurgitate stereotypes about my beloved collies from one particular website's review. Collies are not exceptionally prone to separation anxiety, genreally are not difficult to housebreak, and are not overall extremely high energy dogs. (They are vocal, high-shedding, devoted dogs who need quite a lot of socialization compared to a golden or lab, but are definitely NOT as high-need as a BC or Aussie and may be a fantastic choice for a family who likes the looks and herding dog 'profile' but doesn't have the time to exercise or entertain a higher drive dog!)

Gina Spadafori

Joining an e-mail list is a great idea for breed research. I met my first flat-coated retrievers more than 20 years ago, and was hooked.

But, I spent two years on the breed e-mail list before adopting a rehomed 18-month-old who was working as a blood donor. I knew what to expect good and bad, and Ben was a wonderful dog beloved by everyone who every met him and grieved by those and many more when he died at almost 12.

No breed is right for everyone, but you ought to know what you're getting into before you do. I knew I was looking at life with a bouncy, often wet, preferably dripping wet, sweet-natured, inexhaustible large dog who'd probably die of cancer.

And that's what I got. Since then, I got three more, and Drew the Sheltie has never forgiven me and never, ever will.

Janet Boss

Truly informed is the only way to go! I've been fortunate to meet a really wide variety of breeds over the years and often several examples (or more), and work with them rather than just meet. I also used to board in my home and what an eye opener that was for what I wanted to live with or not! Give me bouncy, dripping wet and sweet natured, but can I skip the big C part?


The number of 'know everything' instant experts out there now propounding on Frenchies is staggering, and as Christie says, all of them seem to have something to sell.

A forum I run was recently over run by some ninny who claimed her pyramid scheme pet vitamins could cure every ill your Frenchie suffered from. Needless to say, I booted her unceremoniously.

I'm actually nostalgic for the days when the rec.pets.dogs FAQs were about as good as it got for breed info. At least you could be fairly sure those were written by someone who knew the breed, and was passionate about it (or just passionately crazy, take your pick).

Now if I could just figure out how the heck you get your FAQ updated...

H. Houlahan

Most trainers with decades of experience likely have an N = 0-2 for "number of deerhounds trained."

So if this instant expert saw one bed-wetting deerhound -- that's all of 'em.

Same true of so many rare breeds.

My N=1 of deerhounds trained tells me that "they" have the most astonishing sense of humor, and are bright and manipulative.

My current favorite form of instant expert is the person who gets a mixed breed dog at the pound, searches the web to find out what kind of exotic purebred it is, and decides it is an English shepherd.

After ten minutes on the (quite friendly) ES yahoo list, said expert is expounding on breed characteristics with the kind of finality that can only come from complete pig ignorance. I mean, literally has never laid eyes on a member of the breed.

Such an authority's fondness for always/never statements is particularly notable.


Such excellent advice. The only bit I would add is checking out the breed club website if you are interested in a particular breed. Not only do they usually have a section on the pros and cons of their breed, they are a good source of information for events where you can meet the dogs and their owners.

Nancy Freedman-Smith CPDT

I know only 1 Deerhound well. When Rhuney was younger he used to take my BC mix down like prey in the woods off leash. I never did understand why she forgave him. But they are good pals. As you already know, I HATE all those marketing fake-o, bad info, sell crap-o, doggie money making web sites, masking as real dog people.

Christie Keith

LOL.... well, retrieverman knows more about deerhounds than the person who wrote that profile of them does!

We lost our colors in the modern deerhound -- all we have left is gray, although it can occur in any shade from silver to almost black. I've had 'em all! The gray is recessive, which is why we've REALLY lost them, not just seen them become rare. I believe the last non-gray deerhound died in the 60s. Deerhounds used to come in the same colors as the Irish Wolfhound, which they were indeed used to reconstruct, although IW people yell at me for saying that. I still believe it to be true, though.

And yeah, using gazehounds on deer is illegal everywhere in the US, as far as I know, although I know people who have done it in other countries.

They're not the ideal hound for jackrabbit and hare, but they don't seem to know that.


I guess if my dog is a mix of say, 4 different breeds, I'd have a lot of stuff to buy!


This is what I know about deerhounds: 1. Custer had some. His favorite deerhounds were Blucher and Maida, one of which was a rare fawn color. 2. They appear in lots of old paintings-- especially Landseer paintings. 3. There is a photograph of "Nous," the first golden retriever, with a deerhound at Guisachan. 4. They were used to reconstruct the Irish wolfhound. 5. They almost never are used for hunting deer today, although they can course hares and jackrabbits.

H. Houlahan

I know they hunt deer with dogs "down south." Not sure which states.

I don't think any of the laws permitting running dogs on deer have breed specifications.

But I doubt that coursing hounds would think it was practical or dignified to chase invisible deer through mangrove swamps and kudzu scrub.

I'm so glad I have had the privilege of seeing real coursing hounds really working on hares. But I can't think of a single place in the eastern half of the country where it would be feasible. Not enough big wide open.

Christie Keith

Heather, the thing is not the breed. It's that sighthounds actually kill the deer, or at least, severely injure it. As far as I know, and if I'm wrong, I'll stand corrected, letting dogs attack or kill deer is illegal. In the south, the "deerhounds" they use are scenthounds, and they're just tracking deer. The hunter takes the deer, not the dogs.

Coursing and catching antlered game with dogs is completely different. And if it's legal somewhere in the US, I have never heard that.

Anne T

Hmmm...can I tweak Christie's tail if I mention Loni Hancock and banning Open Field Coursing?????

Here is a link to an article written in 1898 by the NYT. Those were the days. Bring back the Snap Dogs! However I suspect the land in New Jersey used to course the rabbits then is now under strip malls and housing developments.

If I could only find the source of an internet photo of 2 greys after a jack rabbit. Sigh. One of the most impressive photos I have ever seen. Apologies to the bunny people who are aghasted at the concept. Just remember, in most cases, it's a clean quick end, as the hound naturally 'snaps' it's prey. A lot less messy than human males with guns, IMHO.

Forgive me. Three of my dogs competed in a Large Gazehound Racing Association meet this weekend, their first of the year, and I am still pumped. LGRA by the way uses an artificial drag lure. All bunnies are safe in this sport!

Gina Spadafori

Retrieverman ... I know Christie will comment on Deerhound color and traditional prey -- she won't be able to keep her fingers off the keyboard. :)

H. Houlahan


I tried the game regs of Alabama, as a ferinstance, and couldn't find anything about how the deer had to be taken when hunting with dogs.

There is a reg that forbids any firearm/ammo except shotgun and buckshot when hunting with dogs.

There are regs. about hunting other species at certain times with dogs only, no guns allowed.

There is this reg:

220-2-.112 Dog Deer Hunting

(a) It shall be unlawful to cast, release, or otherwise place, a dog,

for the purpose of hunting deer, from, upon, or onto, a public right-of-way, without the permission of the landowners whose land adjoins the right-of-way within 50 feet of the location of such dog.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to utilize a dog for the purpose of deer hunting without the person placing and maintaining on

said dog a collar containing the following information clearly stated thereon: the name, address, and telephone number of the person utilizing the dog.

But nothing that says the dog can't catch the deer.

I know that it's expected that flushing dogs and rabbit dogs will occasionally catch the quarry on their own. It's expected of coonhounds, foxhounds, bear hounds.

Now I'm very curious.


That typing sound you hear in the background is Rebel setting up two plane tickets to Alabama for a "Mommy and Me" weekend of deer hunting fun.

Need to borrow a shotgun, Christie?

Colorado Transplant

Christie, please don't call me dumb for asking this question:

Did Scottish Deerhounds originate in Scotland?

Christie Keith

Scottish deerhounds were developed in Scotland, and are partly descended from Saluki-like hounds brought back from the Crusades, and native British dogs who had, you know... hair. Because it's cold in Scotland!


LOL i know what website you were looking at!

I noticed, when i've checked out all my breeds, that the issues she highlighted tend to be the same no matter what breed you look at(always potty training, always sensitive, sometimes barking or drooling if it's even a slight possibility).

Christie Keith

Rebel says don't bother me, I'm sleeping. Also, old.

Colorado Transplant

Thanks, Christie. Scottish deerhounds are handsome.


Probably just got Deerhound mixed up with Dachshund, starts and ends the same after all.



That's a really peculiar statement. 'Saluki-like dogs' have nothing to do with the creation of Scottish Deerhounds as far as I know. Do you have any evidence to authenticate that statement?

Richard Hawkins

Christie Keith

LOL, Richard, oh, just a little private joke of my own back from the days I ran the Sighthound Chat on AOL. Everyone would always ask, "What the hell is a sighthound?" And we had this little macro that explained they were "dogs of the greyhound family." And we got bored and started to change it to "Dogs of the Rampur Hound family" or whatever, just to ease our ennui. I'm afraid it's become somewhat of a habit and I need to break it.

I really meant to say "greyhound-like dogs" as a way to say "sighthounds" without having to define a sighthound. I agree it was confusing and misleading; my apologies!


No need to apologise. You know I obsess about "sighthound", especially the history of the Deerhound.

I was hoping you would be in Missouri at the National Specialty. They, Harriet Fowler and Lisa Dempsey did an excellent job.

Highlight for me was our private group visit to the Museum of the Dog. Not to be missed!

Best wishes,


Hope this message doesn't repeat, the previous version just seemed to disappear. Clumsy me!

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