By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder
Working as a veterinarian and in the pet insurance industry has allowed me to interact with numerous different kinds of dog breeds. But one breed that stands out among the rest is the Scottish Deerhound.
Recently, a Scottish Deerhound named Hickory won the Westminster dog show. My wife immediately called to tell me– and I was expecting the call since we used to own a dog of the same breed named Obie. Obie was named after Oban the single malt scotch whiskey that we both enjoy on occasion.
We lost Obie last year to bone cancer after quite a fight. We have discussed getting another Scottish Deerhound ever since. Like his breed, Obie was a gentle giant. If you look at the photo of him, Duke and little Torrey you can see both the Scottish Deerhound and English Mastiff are intimidated by Torrey, the Chihuahua.
My wife and I love dogs, which is maybe why we have 10 and continue to foster shelters dogs, rescue them from dumpsters, find them on the street and even bring them back as souvenirs. (During one trip to Mexico we rescued a puppy and brought it to the States.)
Scottish Deerhounds are not for everyone. Although they are very gentle, they do need lots of space to run. They are truly a sight to behold when they take off, as they were actually bred to run. If you own a Scottish Deerhound, you do have to be careful if you have smaller dogs as well, because they can easily be stepped on by the larger dog. And if you have small dogs it is best if you obtain them as puppies so they are properly socialized.
We got Obie and Torrey at about the same time. Both were puppies and initially they played very well together. Obie would lie on his back and let Torrey climb on him and she would even dart between his jaws as he opened them while playing. This Giant and tiny but strong-willed Chihuahua were the best of friends, until one day Obie accidently stepped on her. Little Torrey let out a scream and came running to me. Obie ran off scared into another room. After about ½ hour he crept back into the room and stuck his nose around the couch to check on her. She immediately bit him on the nose and had nothing to do with him ever again.
For awhile he would try to get her engaged at play, but she would either ignore him or boss him around. Even years later, if Obie was laying by the fireplace in winter and Torrey wanted that particular spot she would run him off! Scottish Deerhounds are wonderful dogs if you have the space and time—although Obie had lots of medical problems—more so than any dog we have ever owned.
Obie had all kinds of health issues. He had three Gastric Torsions, common for large deep chested dogs. Despite having surgery to tack down the stomach from his first Torsion, he had two more emergency surgeries. He had cuts, stomach ailments, torn nails and finally bone cancer.
Thankfully we had pet health insurance on him, which made a huge difference for us financially. Scottish Deerhounds are not just gentle, but love companionship and want to be in the house with everyone else. They don’t like being left in the yard or dog house, they want to be part of the family! It was great to see one finally win Westminster.