The Countryman's Weekly


August 05
07:10 2020

Deerhound by name, Deerhound by nature

By Dave Sleight.

I WAS recently out exercising a few of my dogs when I got into conversation with a fellow lurcherman. Looking at my English Deerhound ‘Flint’, he asked if I had the piece on Deerhounds in the June 17 issue of The Countryman’s Weekly. He then asked if I would be looking into the heart problem associated with the breed.

I had to explain that my dog was a very different Deerhound to the one pictured with that article despite looking very similar. ‘Flint’ is an English Deerhound, a breed recreated by Leicestershire lurcherman Dave Platts. He is the result of generations of Deerhound/Greyhound hybrids being mated together. More importantly, the Platts’ breed are tested for speed, durability, prey drive, and above all, stamina.

Back in 2018 ‘Flint’ and Joe Wooley’s English Deerhound ‘Fagin’ ran at top speed over 2½ laps of Highgate Greyhound stadium. Despite both dogs completing the best part of 1,000 metres, they struggled to go again immediately as the artificial hare moved off. Within minutes both had fully recovered and were literally bouncing with excitement as other races followed.

Not as scientific a test as the one mentioned, but I feel sure just as effective at testing for heart problems. I must, however, point out that both animals had undergone several weeks of intensive training to reach the required level of fitness. That said, they are by no means the only ones of this four-decade-old line to be hard tested.


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