Little is known of Custer’s staghounds after the Little Bighorn. One hound, Cardigan, went to a clergyman in Minneapolis, who later had the dog mounted on display in a public building. One can assume that the others were dispersed with new owners. It is evident that Custer had already begun breeding these hounds and their new owners doubtless did, too, but if further of their hunting exploits survive in print I’m not aware of it.
The use of borzoi and Irish wolfhound on the plains before 1900 is less clear. In response to my query on the Internet, I learned from several borzoi breeders that the first of the breed was not brought to the USA until about 1890. The first Irish wolfhound was registered with the AKC in 1897. There may have been a few Irish Wolfhounds in the states before then, but the breed was still in its formative stages prior to 1890. The original Irish wolfhound died off with the wolf of the United Kingdom before 1800. The breed was recreated by Captain Graham in the UK between 1860 and 1900. None of these hounds hunted wolves, and with rare exceptions the re-creation to this day is, in my opinion, too tall and heavy to be of much use as a coursing hound, even for its original quarry.
Certainly borzoi and some Irish wolfhounds were used on the western plains after 1890, and they no doubt were crossed with the various greyhounds, longdogs, staghounds and deerhounds that were already there. It seems clear however, that it was the Scotch deerhound, imported from the UK by General Custer and others as early as 1868, that formed the basis for the unregistered rough-coated longdogs we know today as “staghounds.” In the early days, the deerhound/greyhound cross was likely the original source of staghound puppies; since then, staghounds have been crossed, and produced, by a myriad of combinations. The deerhound connection also answers the question as to why the term staghound came into common use on the western plains, where most of the hunting was for coyote, fox, and jackrabbit. Staghound is a derivative of deerhound, and Custer was calling them “Scotch staghounds” as early as 1868.
What, then, is a staghound? To me it’s any mixed breed coursing hound with something of the rough, wiry coat that is characteristic of the Scotch deerhound. I’ve heard the term “smooth staghound” used, for smooth-coated dogs in an otherwise rough-coated litter, but for me if it doesn’t have something of a rough, wiry coat it’s not a staghound. Stags come in all colors and color combinations, and in size may range from 25 to 27 inches at the withers (jackrabbit and fox) to 28 to 30 inches (coyote, deer, and other large game).
Woooshh.. thanks for the info and link Diane. Why I want one...well, Ive almost always had dogs and all IWH's Ive met have always been really nice fellows....though big.. Lets see how we can manage with one.
Post by Diane Merkel on Jul 22, 2008 20:08:02 GMT -5
He's going to grow into those puppy paws!
I am very jealous, Frank! Over the years I've had an English Springer Spaniel, a Bichon Frise, a Dalmation and two Lab/German Shepherd mixes, and I miss them terribly. Our lifestyle now is such that it wouldn't be fair to have a dog right now, but I'm sure there is another dog in my future.
Wow, that was high age for a dog, 15 years. ...and high weight too ;D. We tought "Ukki" might be a good name for him. Its Finnish and means "Grandpa" ;D Its short, easy to say and when Irish Wolfhounds grow older they look like old gray men.... I'll post some pics as soon as he arrives.