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Dirhaund (Scottish Deerhound)


Country of origin:
Great Britain

Domestic dog

Off-white, reddish brown, yellowish brown, blue-grey, tiger

Gentle, noble, affectionate, peaceful, easy to train. Friendly with children and dogs

71-76 cm

35-45 kg

11-12 years

Other names:
Scottish Deerhound


Litter size:

The Dirhound – is a gentle dog with a gentle temperament, characterised by its intelligence and friendliness. this breed enjoys the company of both adults and children, and also welcomes the company of guests. Dirhaunds have a very strong hunting instinct – they used to assist in deer hunting. However, Dirhunds   are excellent family friends – all you need to do is to socialise your dog early on to avoid chasing cats and other animals.

History of the breed

The origin of the Dirhaund is still not entirely clear. It is known that hounds were present in Scotland before the 16th century, but later short-haired greyhounds were also introduced. The harsh climate was not very favourable for the short-haired greyhounds, so the short-haired greyhounds were crossed with the long-haired greyhounds, and it is believed that this is how the Dirhaund breed was developed. Gangs of these dogs assisted Scottish warlords in the hunt – dirhounds were strong enough to knock the deer they hunted to the ground. In the 18th century, the introduction of guns made these dogs redundant (bloodhounds began to be used in hunting to find escaped wounded animals). Until the 1830s, Dirhunds were not very popular and were kept in very small numbers. The breed was revived thanks to the brothers Archibald and Duncan McNeill, who started breeding Dirhunds. There are many legends about these dogs: one of them says that Gelert the Dirhund rescued a child from a wolf that had been born to Prince Levelin. There was even a monument to this dog! During the Second World War, times were tough again for the Dirhund – feeding a giant dog became difficult for many Dirhund breeders, so many of them simply shot their pets. Although the breed was once again threatened with extinction, we can be glad that this did not happen, and today the appearance of these dogs differs very little from the first members of the breed.

Dirhaund: appearance

The Dirhaund is a large dog: males are 76 cm tall at the withers and females 71 cm. Males are not only taller, but also larger – their ideal weight is 45,5 kg, bitches – 36,5 kg. Dirhaunds are athletic, strong dogs. The back is convex, the chest deep, the waist sunken and the neck long. The head is proportionate to the body, elongated, broad at the ear line, tapering towards the muzzle. Eyes medium-sized, rounded, may be various shades of brown (hazel to dark brown). Ears are high set, held slightly above the head and pointing backwards. Nose black, broad. Tail long, tapering towards the tip. The tail is held down when the dog is at rest, when the dog is alert the tail becomes slightly curled. Legs are wide, preferably with the front legs as straight as possible. The paws are compact and the toes are pointed. Coat approximately 7-10 cm long, shaggy, slightly wavy, rough. Dirhounds can be of various colours, but blue-grey is the most appreciated (dirhounds can also be grey, yellowish, red or yellowish-brown). There may be white spots on the coat.

Dirhaund: character

The Dirhaund is calm and friendly and learns new commands quickly. These dogs are naturally well-behaved, so owners do not have any major behavioural problems with their pets. However, socialisation and basic training must be taken care of from a young age – it should not be forgotten that this breed was bred for hunting.

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