In 1998 I decided to buy a bitch of the breed I had always admired: a Scottish Deerhound. Skye was very special, unfortunately she died far too young... Once a Deerhound always a Deerhound: we now have Flora, a most wonderful Deerhound, with a great enthusiasm for life. In this blog I will collect photographs of the 13 breeds considered by the FCI as being Sighthounds.
Hunting with Sighthounds and combinations of Sighthounds and falcons
was a popular sport among the nobles in Medieval Poland.
The Chart Polski was used to hunt different game, mainly hare but also foxes,
wolves and even deer. In Poland these Sighthounds were already known in the 12th Century, probably even before.
At the end of the 19th century the Chart Polski became very rare though they managed to survive in the Eastern part of the country and also in the Ukraïne where they were bred under the name “chortaja borzoja” or “poskaja borzaja”.
The Chart Polski is very popular with track racing and coursing. When running the Chart Polski is as speedy as the English Greyhound but even more enduring.
The Galgo Español was recognized by the FCI around 1972.
The Galgo Español is closely linked to the Spanish tradition and was a companion of the aristocracy during the centuries. In Spain hunting with sighthounds was not only the privilege of the upper classes as it was in many other European countries, it is also practiced by the rural population.
If you search for the roots of the Galgo Español, you must go far back into history. For many centuries BC the Celts already hunted with these sighthounds, who especially were bred for hare hunting. They accompanied the Celts on their migrations, this is how they were spread over a great part of Europe. When the Celts crossed the Pyrénées the Galgo arrived in the countries of Andorra, Portugal, Spain and Gibraltar.
Centuries later, the Romans continued the tradition of hunting with sighthounds and in the Roman province of Hispania this breed was called Canis Gallicus (Celtic dog), we think that from this the word Galgo came from.
Unfortunatelly there are certain Galgo owners in Spain, who do not deserve to own a dog, they mistreat their dogs badly. The "Club Nacional del Galgo Español" (CNGE) and the "Federacion Española Galgueros" (FEG) try to make people aware about this terrible situation.
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the Sighthound family.
It is an ancient breed and it is believed that its roots go back
to Egypt, Turkey and Greece.
The IG became popular in southern Europe - especially in Italy - during the sixteenth century and eventually won the hearts of royalty throughout Europe.
This tiny, personable miniature Greyhound was originally
bred as a companion dog but later gained a reputation
for having sufficient endurance and speed
for coursing small game.
Italian Greyhounds have a mysterious connection to the city of Pompeii.
The famous entrance hall floor mosaic in the ash-stricken ruins depicts a Greyhound bowing playfully with the inscription "cave canem" or, "beware of the dog." Numerous canine historians have suggested that the true meaning of the warning was for visitors not to step on the tiny Italian Greyhounds.
Known as the Gentle Giant, the Irish Wolfhound’s motto is:
“Gentle When Stroked, Fierce When Provoked”
Wolfhounds were, indeed, so highly thought of that only kings, warriors, nobles and bards were legally allowed to own them.
They were the companions of the regal, and housed themselves alongside them. But their function was far from ornate - they were considered the guardians of their noble masters, and they were indeed bred to hunt wolves and capture wolves, and to go in for the kill.
It is not surprising to note that there are no known wolves in Ireland today.
The most common colours are wolf grey and sandy wheaten.
Fawn, red, white or black are allowed but much rarer.
An eye of sloe, with ear set low,
With horse's breast, with depth of chest,
With breadth of loin, and curve in groin,
And nape set far behind the head -
Such were the dogs that Fingal bred.....
(Allegedly written by: 3rd century Gaelic bard Ossian)
"I will give thee a dog which I got in Ireland.
He is huge of limb, and for a follower equal to an able man.
Moreover, he hath a man's wit and will bark at thine enemies
but never at thy friends.
And he will see by each man's face whether he be ill or well disposed to thee.
And he will lay down his life for thee."
(from "The Icelandic Saga of Nial")