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.
c1831 The M’Neills of Colonsay spearhead the revival of the pure Highland breed, then taken up in conjunction with Lord Henry Bentinck, Sir St George Gore, Mr St John , Colonel Inge , Duke of Leeds and others committed to restoring the original breed.
Scotland continued to be involved in the preservation of the breed in the 50’s & 60’s when the focus was on Glouchestershire, when Captain Graham of Rednock, Dursley ,with other breeders whose names became well known in the days of showing, took the lead. George Cupples and Colonel James Robertson were very much involved in Scotland so there was a concerted effort on both sides of the border to preserve the old Highland breed. Cupples points out that the breeders in Scotland had the essential local knowledge of the oldest local sources ‘ to be resorted to and had---a greater scope in respect to the whole circle of breeders everywhere---deerstalkers or merely amateur’ so that the breeding expertise and the resources in England could be utilised.
There was no one clear strategy but one clear aim – to ensure the survival of the Highland blood lines that had been the focus of the early days of deerstalking.
1832 Death of Sir Walter Scott (owner of ‘Maida’, the famous Glengarry cross who had died, 1824)
1838 William Scrope, The Art of Deerstalking, published
1846 Scott Monument, Edinburgh, completed with ‘Maida’ replaced by Lord Colonsay’s pure bred ‘Torm’, possibly for artistic reasons but essentially in keeping with the revival of the pure breed - Scott was himself however just as adept at constructing history!
1848 Balmoral purchased by Victoria and Albert, with the new house completed, 1856. Albert gives seal of royal approval to deerstalking and is involved in procuring hounds from the best Scottish kennels, from lines going back to Colonel David Ross in Lochaber and the Black Mount hounds. These were the foundation hounds of the royal kennels in Windsor under John Cole, with foreign lines subsequently adding new blood.
1860 Birmingham show - the breed’s debut in the show ring pre-registration
1861 Manchester show - pre-registration breed entry
1873 Formation of the UK Kennel Club
1880 Breed recognised as the Deerhound by the Kennel Club
1886 Registration of the breed introduced
1886 The UK Deerhound Club set up officially incorporating the standard, aimed at promoting the characteristics of the old Highland breed
1888 Augustus Grimble, Deer-Stalking published
1891 The breed first shown at Crufts
1892 Henry Hope Crealock, Deerstalking in the Highlands of Scotland, published by his brother after Henry’s death. The book relates to his stalking from about 1865
1892 Weston Bell’s The Scottish Deerhound, published
1894 George Cupples Scotch Deer-hounds and their Masters, published
Both these books published earlier surveys of the use of the breed in deerstalking, confirming that pure bred hounds were no longer considered useful
1894 Augustus Grimble, Highland Sport published
1894 Captain Graham’s Pedigrees of the Scottish Deerhounds, edited by
Edwin Weston Bell of the famous Rossie kennels, Forgandenny, Perthshire, published
By the end of the century the breed was well established but again was in difficulties as a result of the two world wars, when some hounds were destroyed or some fortunately exported to America. Enough good kennels had fortunately survived to carry the breed forward with some outcrossing where that was possible in all probability.
We have to thank the Kennel Club for safeguarding the heritage of the breed and the Deerhound Club for being a focal point for its development since its establishment in 1886. We all carry the torch of the past into the present for the future of this iconic breed - the Scottish Deerhound, not just those who are involved in breeding or showing but everyone who owns the breed or who just has an interest in the tangible or intangible heritage of Scotland. The time has come for the breed to be officially recognised as the Scottish Deerhound and on a global stage to become a brand ambassador for Scotland.
Copyright Claire Cartmell 2015