It was my husband Charlie Spence’s, aspiration of a dream for the breed to have its rightful recognition as others and reflect the name of its country of origin Sadly, very unexpectedly and suddenly, I lost him last year but I hope to carry on in his memory to achieve his ambition.
The breed had originated in Scotland and became popular at the time of the British Empire due to deerstalking in the Highlands. The registration of the Scottish Deerhound with the Kennel Club as the Deerhound and the formation of the Club took place in the late nineteenth century but unfortunately both omitting the word "Scottish" for historical reasons.
While it is important to understand the historical position, we cannot be bound by what was decided at that time. Now when a country or a city can have a more appropriate name formally acknowledged in recognition and in honour of the past why should our breed not be registered with the addition of "Scottish" in a formal acknowledgement of its heritage which everyone recognises anyway?
The Re-designation of the Scottish Deerhound
In response to your excellent article in the Fall issue on naming of breeds I would like to clarify briefly the historical situation at the time of The Kennel Club’s registration of the Scottish Deerhound as the Deerhound and the official establishment of the club as The Deerhound Club, 1886.
The negotiations with The Kennel Club who make the final decision about the re-designation of the breed name (hence the petition is addressed to the KC) and The Deerhound Club who have to bring the request to the KC are ongoing. There are rules and regulations that limit how this can be facilitated.
The petition is attempting to come up with a democratic and legally binding solution within the limitations set by both these interested parties. However it should be noted the club rules as presently constituted do not appear to allow paid up overseas members any voting rights, presumably postal or otherwise.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
This last year it was Charlie Spence's endeavour for the breed to gain its identity with the redesignation of the name to Scottish Deerhound - simply to achieve the breeds historic native recognition. Having very sadly so unexpectedly and suddenly lost Charlie on 19th October 2015, I would like on his behalf to thank the Scottish Deerhound Support Group and everyone for their support in this cause which was close to Charlie's heart. This cause I will continue in his memory and I look forward to next year and having your continued support. Thank You
I was contacted by John Ormiston of “Sport in Scotland” to supply two Scottish Deerhounds to do a complete re-enactment of the return of the Purdey to Guisachan, 120 years after its first appearance to account for a stag. Everything was to be conducted in a similar manner to 1872 – a stalker to stalk, the Laird to shoot, a pony to transport the stage off the hill and of course the Scottish Deerhounds. The dress worn was also to be of the period.
On the 12th Oct I set off for Guisachan House with my two Scottish Deerhounds, Ardkinglas Tom (bred by Miss A Noble) and our home bred Ladycroft Grey Shadow (their pet names were Tom and Ceiledh). The weather was ideal, the stags were roaring. We had a great day out on the hill with several stalks, before getting the right wind direction. We covered a lot of ground, some very hard going through heather, before getting close enough to the stag for the Laird to use the Purdey. When the shot was fired there was a lot of blue/black smoke from the rifle! The Laird was a crack shot in getting the stag. The highland pony, which is still used to this present day as the only transport suitable, carried the stag down off the hill.
It was a great experience to witness the stalk. The Scottish Deerhounds were very aware of the quarry, after all this was what they were originally bred for, and had enjoyed their long day on the hill. With the completion of the re-enactment we finally made our way homewards.
by Charlie Spence
In 1715 and 1745 attempts by the Stuarts to regain their throne fail resulting in punitive repercussions in the Highlands and the formation of the Highland regiments who distinguish themselves in the European wars. Glengarry names his hounds ‘Maida’ and ‘Waterloo’ after victories in 1804 and 1815.
Empire began to change the way people saw themselves as Scotland became known from Hanovarian times as North Britain. Writers in Scotland often used N. B. in designating their place of residence, Weston Bell being an example, though the book is titled The Scottish Deerhound (1892)! The identity of the breed was taken for granted. Britishness is then the prevailing ideology, but co-existing with a resurgence in Scottish national identity, part of a prevailing trend in nineteenth century Europe.
The Scottish Deerhound who was known, and continued to be known, by several other names such as Scotch Deerhound, Highland Deerhound and other more general names as the rough coated greyhound, eventually came to be known as the Deerhound for official purposes later in the nineteenth century. This was not because of a change in the perception of the heritage of the breed but rather that this was the era of Britishness, strengthened in the twentieth century by the two world wars. It is interesting to note that in 1902 when the iconic Station Hotel was opened in Edinburgh at Waverley Station, it was called The North British Station
Hotel, re-named The Balmoral after refurbishment in the late 1980’s!
Deerstalking in the Highlands, originally with the old Highland hounds in
pursuit, is now part of the mythology of the Highlands but the history of the Scottish Deerhound has continued to be recorded as the breed’s popularity ensured its survival through difficult times thanks to the efforts of different generations in the succeeding years. This summary starts in Scotland in the 1830s.
It is not disputed that the breed is a Scottish hound. It is recognised by the Kennel Club as such in that it is included as a Scottish hound in the Scottish Breeds Canine Club and the Hound Association of Scotland Championship Shows all held under the auspices of the Kennel Club. Two Scottish clubs have this breed as their logo. The Breed Information Centre on the Kennel Club web site lists the breed as the Deerhound ‘known at one time as the Scottish Deerhound’, and categorises it as a ’vulnerable native breed’.
The omission of the designation ‘Scottish’ has been an ongoing concern for many years. It is all the more inappropriate taken that other clubs, such as the Scottish Deerhound Club of America (that had close ties with the UK club in the 1930s), officially recognised the breed as the Scottish Deerhound. Ironically the breed does not have the same profile in its native land despite its iconic status in the literature, landscape and iconography of Scotland. This is an anomaly to say the least and now is the time to rectify it.