The American Staghound


About Staghounds

Dating back centuries, the Staghound is a type of sighthound that is used to pursue, or course, and dispatch a variety of game.  Although not recognized as a breed by many, some lines have been bred together much longer than many recognized modern breeds even exist.  The best way to visualize the American staghound is to blend together the characteristics of the Scottish Deerhound or Borzoi with the Greyhound.  

The Staghound has long legs, deep chest, and strong muscles.  The staghound has great visual acuity, and some have been bred for scenting ability while on course as well.  He can be found in any assortment of color or color patterns seen in the other sighthound breeds.  There are four main coat types: the "shag" which more closely resembles the Scottish deerhound, the "silky" leaning towards the Borzoi, the "slick" which more closely resembles the greyhound, and the broken which is in between these.  The American staghound has all of the physical and mental characteristics needed for running down his quarry.  He is known for having speeds that approach that of a greyhound, but unlike a greyhound, they  have incredible endurance and tenacity, as well as being more sturdy and heavy boned or thicker-skinned.  They are very healthy dogs, and are free of genetic health problems due to being a hybrid, not interbred over the years.  They have very mellow and trainable personalities, but their extremely high prey drive leaves them only recommended for experienced sighthound owners. 

Coursing for Centuries

For the most part, the staghound has been bred staghound to staghound since the 1700’s or even earlier.  In other words, they are not always the direct progeny of a pure deerhound bred to a pure greyhound.   When America was settled the early sighthounds and their crosses found their way to the New World.  Coursing quarry was used for sport, food, and fur.  For the first time ever, the coyote was coursed with running dogs.  Historically, coursing dogs have been used for wolf in other countries as well as in America, but the coyote posed a new challenge.  The coyote is faster than the wolf, but pound for pound fights arguably as hard. 

 Over the course of settlement and Westward expansion it was found that the cross between the very fast fine boned greyhound with the more robust Scottish Deerhound or Borzoi gave a mighty fine coursing animal used for coyote in difficult terrain.  The Scottish deerhound and Borzoi also contributed his rough coat and better scenting abilities. 

Staghound was bred to Staghound and was most often culled specifically for characteristics that favored the pursuit of coyote.  A few hundred generations of this sort of breeding lead to what many refer to as the epitome of coyote coursing sighthounds.  In essence, the American Staghound was born.  General George A. Custer used the Staghound in 1846 as part of his dog pack that he used to hunt a variety of animals.  

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Let Them Run

Greyhounds and Staghounds live for one thing and one thing run and to pursue quarry.  They are affectionate and regal companions but that is only a perk to their existence, what they are meant to do is run.  With the attacks on racing greyhounds due to widespread misunderstanding, we are seeing more and more legislation pressing in on the rights of hound hunters and their longdogs.  Before judging a tradition and the dogs that live for it, talk to us or someone else who lives with these dogs daily and learn all you can!  

The Staghound has always been in the hands of huntsmen, and without the right to pursue quarry with running dogs the staghound will go extinct.

Right fit for you?

Staghounds are the extreme athlete of the hound world.  They are lightning fast and unbelievably agile.  They posses a high prey drive that has been bred into them for the sole purpose of coursing game in the field: from their ancestors coursing deer and stags to present day hare and coyote hunters.  It is for this reason that these dogs are suitable not for every pet home.  If you're interested in one for a companion talk with us more to see if they'd be a good fit for your home and lifestyle.

Sighthounds are very unique dogs that will steal your heart, and hunting with these dogs gives you a glimpse into the past and there is nothing more exciting!  You could take a dog hunters use today, place him in a medieval story book and he would not be out of place, they are a testament of what strict breeding practices and keeping the dogs non-commercialized will do in preserving a working breed...  They can stay hardly changed for centuries.  

Greyhound Adoption

 Love sighthounds but still want to do your part as an adoptor?  Maybe a retired racer is the right choice for you!  Don't let the term "retired" fool you, although they've spent the first couple years of their life as a first class athlete they have plenty years left to devote to your household!  

There are many dogs in kill shelters looking for the right home...however greyhounds are generally not one one them.  They have racing careers which they love...if they aren't particularly fast or on the rare occasion uninterested in running they are adopted.  When they've retired from a successful career or breeding program they are adopted.  95% of NGA greyhounds ...EVERY dog that leaves the track, are placed in adoptive homes through accredited rescues -  NEVER sit in shelters.   This is all thanks to the amazing network of people who love these amazing athletes!

BEWARE of the misrepresentation being put out by main stream media and large corporate scam artists such as GREY2K.  If you want to give to an honest greyhound rehoming organization contact us and we will steer you in the right direction!