Skip to main content

Best in Show winner Hickory, a Scottish Deerhound breed, sits with its handler Angela Lloyd after winning the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York February 15, 2011.SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

A week ago, you would've passed that shaggy, mustachioed grey mass of dog and sneered. Maybe even thrown a Slurpee in her face.

She's like an awkward 13-year-old trying to adjust to her oddly-proportioned, changing body. To be frank, the Scottish Deerhound doesn't clean up as well as those perfectly coiffed Cocker Spaniels and showboating Shar-Peis.

But this week, a Scottish Deerhound by the name of GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind (how aristocratic!) was named Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and is officially the girl everyone wants to take to prom.

Or something like that.

In a story in the Washington Post, Kim Saunders, the vice-president of Petfinder.com, explains how Best in Show wins usually spawn an uptick in demand for the breed in question. The same is true for films starring dogs. After 101 Dalmatians was released in 1956, demand for the black-spotted dogs soared (mostly from kids, still too dumb to realize the Disneyified depictions of the puppies failed to show that when they grow up, Dalmations usually hate confinement and have temperament issues). The same thing happened when the live action version of the film was released decades later.

Scottish deerhounds, though, are a little harder to come by than your average Beverly Hills Chihuahua or Old Yeller. Even among past Best in Show winners, they're a rarity (this is the first win for the breed).

There are at least a few breeders in Canada.

But before you decide you must have one, do a little research on the breed.

Be aware that these aren't the types of dogs that have a history of cuddling up with their owners - they're not terribly "interactive" a species when inside. Outside, though, they're very high energy and need a lot of exercise. Breeders recommend puppies be reared outside for that very reason. Because they were historically bred as hunting dogs, they have the instinct to aggressively pursue other creatures.

At least there's one thing that's low-maintenance about them - their appearance. Apparently two washes a year on their thick, winterized coats is all they need. Maybe a bit of brushing here and there before a show.

Come on, let's not kid ourselves: a Scottish Deerhound may have won Best in Show at Westminster, but she'll never be prom queen.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe