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The American Staghound

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 American Staghound

The American Staghound despite not having official recognition from the AKC is a fairly old breed from the US. It was developed to hunt deer and also predators like wolves and coyote. Its life span is 10 to 12 years and it is a graceful and agile dog also used in competitive coursing coyote and hare. It is known to be as fast as a Greyhound but with great endurance. Because of its sweet nature and even temperament it also makes a good companion that is affectionate but not good as a guard dog.

The American Staghound at A Glance
Name American Staghound
Other names Staghound
Nicknames AS
Origin United States
Average size Large to giant
Average weight 45 to 90 pounds
Average height 24 to 32 inches
Life span 10 to 14 years
Coat type Shag, slick or broken
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, blue, brindle, brown, white, yellow
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Average to above average
Tolerance to heat Good but nothing too hot and definitely no extreme heat
Tolerance to cold Good to very good – the shag version does better with cold
Shedding Moderate – there will be some hair in the home
Drooling Moderate
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Low to average – depends on coat type
Barking Occasional – will be some barking but shouldn't be constant
Exercise needs Fairly to very active – needs active owners
Trainability Low to average – requires proper technique or experienced trainer
Friendliness Good – more introverted than an extrovert
Good first dog No – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization – but best kept away from toy breeds
Good with other pets Moderate – socialization is essential but still likely to chase and attack small animals
Good with strangers Good with socialization but wary
Good apartment dog No – needs space and a yard at least
Handles alone time well Low – not good being left alone
Health issues Fairly healthy, some issues include sensitivity to anesthesia and bloat
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for license, miscellaneous items, toys and basic training
Average annual expenses $1000 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported
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The American Staghound's Beginnings

The American Staghound was developed in the 1600s by original settlers when they crossed the dogs they brought with them including Scottish Deerhounds and Greyhounds. As well as being used to hunt with getting them fur and food, it was even then used for entertainment in coyote coursing. The coyotes were a big problem for settlers, they were very agile and very persistent. The American Staghound was developed with that in mind, a dog that was also agile, had a lot of stamina and strength and could also deal with any kind of terrain. Over several hundred generations of dogs it was perfected.

Since the 1800s the American Staghound tends to be bred mostly with just other American Staghounds but sometimes top first generation crosses of Scottish Deerhounds and Grey hounds are added, as the focus for this breed was and still is on its function rather than its appearance. The famous George A Custer and a number of Staghounds in his pack of dogs. If though the right to pursue quarry with dogs was taken from huntsmen it is likely this dog would head towards extinction.

New Lease on Life

The American Staghound today is not an officially recognized breed, in part because of that mixing still going on, even though it has been around in some form for hundreds of years. Neither is it even in the process of wanting to be recognized, many breeders of working dogs do not view mainstream recognition with much favor as it tends to lead to the breed being bred to conform to looks rather based on ability.

The Dog You See Today

This dog is large weighing 45 to 90 pounds and standing 24 to 32 inches tall. It is a type of sight hound and the need for it to be agile and strong has lead to a dog that has long legs, a powerful deep chest, muscular but lean and visually looks like a blend of the Scottish Deerhound and the Greyhound. It has folded ears though it can have one erect and one folded, dark eyes and long narrow muzzle that tapers to the end and a black nose. It has three types of coat it comes in, slick (smooth like a Greyhound's coat) shag (rough so more like the Deerhound) and broken, which is a blend of the two. There are a variety of colors it can come in, all colors are accepted common ones being black, blue, brindle, brown, white and yellow. The rough coated version is better in colder climates and the smooth coat better suited for warmer climates.

The Inner American Staghound

Temperament

The American Staghound when indoors and raised properly is a calm and affectionate companion that needs lots of attention from its people. It will not like being left alone for long periods, it is completely devoted and will try to be close to you wherever you are in the home. In the past it has been a dog kept mostly for coursing quarry with, but in recent years some people are opting to keep it just as a companion but that only works if it is well exercised. This is a dog that needs experienced and in control owners too.

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It is alert and can be good at being a watchdog, its great vision means it spots things out of place and it will bark to alert you, but it is not protective, and it is not a guard dog. When out in the field the AS is more determined, focused, bold and tenacious. It has a stubborn side to it which is partly why its owner being a good pack leader is important. It is more of an introvert than extrovert and is reserved around strangers. Most prefer not to be petted by a stranger until they adjust to them.

Living with an American Staghound

What will training look like?

When training the American Staghound you need to be confident, consistent, firm and always in control. It responds best to positive training methods, offer it treats to motivate, encourage it and praise it. This is a large dog, it is trainable but it may also test your leadership and you need to stick to the rules and be prepared to stay its leader. Never use aggressive or negative techniques, it does not respond well to them and may even become aggressive or defiant. Make sure you start early socialization as well as early training, introduce it to different places, people, sounds, animals, situations and so on. This way it will learn how to react appropriately and be a more trustworthy and happier dog in general.

How active is the American Staghound?

American Staghounds are very active dogs and will need lots of physical and mental activity to keep them happy. This is not an apartment dog, it needs a larger space to live in, at least a large yard, or preferably land to run on. It could adapt to an urban environment with space and enough exercise but really it is a rural dog. Give it at least an hour a day of walking, but then some additional physical play on top of that, and some challenges and some chance to run free off leash somewhere safe. Once it is older than a year it can join you when you cycle, hike, jog and so on. Under a year keep activity gentle so as not to damage its joints. In many cases owners opt to muzzle the dog when it is off leash.

Caring for the American Staghound

Grooming needs

When it comes to maintenance and grooming the American Staghound has minimal to average needs. Its coat does shed some so there will be some loose hair in the home. Having different coat types also means there is a difference in how much care is needed. Smoother and short coats are easier to look after, the shag types can pick up burs and such more easily. It will not need professional grooming though, brush it a couple of times a week, the smooth coat can be wiped down now and then. Only bathe as needed, too often can dry out the skin. For the same reason only use a dog shampoo to wash it.

The teeth should be brushed using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste two to three times a week, or even daily if possible. Its ears need to be checked for infection signs like irritation, a bad odor, redness and then wiped clean. Use a dog ear cleanser to do that or a damp cloth but never a cotton bud. Do not insert anything into its ears. Its nails should be clipped with the right tool when they get too long. Active dogs sometimes wear down their nails naturally, so how often that will be needed can vary. Just do not cut too far down where the blood vessels and nerves are.

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Feeding Time

The AS will eat somewhere between 3 to 6 cups of an excellent quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals to avoid problems with bloat. How much exactly will change from Staghound to Staghound depending on their size, health, age, activity level and metabolism. Always give them access to fresh water.

How is the American Staghound with children and other animals?

When the American Staghound has had good socialization and training, and if it has been raised with children especially, it is very good with them. Due to its size though it may not be as good with toddlers and young children as they will easily get knocked over by accident. Be sure to teach children how to properly play and touch dogs in a kind way. Usually these dogs get on well with other medium sized dogs or larger, it is used to being part of a pack. However it is best not around toy sized dogs as they can easily hurt or kill them during a play session without meaning to. How it gets on with other pets can vary. With socialization and when raised with them some can learn to get along with them but some cannot.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This dog has a life span of about 10 to 14 years and has no known health problems that are genetic. However some issues include bloat and sensitivity to anesthesia.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dogs attacking people and doing bodily harm in the last 35 years in the US and Canada there is no mention of the American Staghound. This is not an aggressive breed towards people but there are no guarantees with any type of dog, not matter its size. There are some things that can drive a dog to act against its usual nature. To lessen that chance make sure you train your dog, socialize it carefully, give it enough stimulation and exercise, attention and care.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

An American Staghound puppy will cost about $1000 from a good and trustworthy breeder for a pet quality dog. For something from a top breeder that will go up a lot. Avoid using quicker means to get your dog like puppy mills, pet stores or backyard breeders. There is another way to get a new companion, look to shelters and rescues. The chances of a mixed breed are higher but mixed dogs are still great companions and can have a lot to offer. Adoption fees will be around $50 to $400 and that covers some basic medical needs too.

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Initial items your dog will need when you bring it home include a crate, carrier, bowls, collar and leash and such. These will cost about $200. Your dog should be taken to a vet as soon as you bring it home and that will cost another $290 for a physical, blood tests, deworming, micro chipping, vaccinations and spaying or neutering.

Annual costs are also a factor when deciding whether you can own a dog. You will need to feed it a preferably high quality dry dog food and dog treats for about $270 a year. Miscellaneous costs like a license, toys, miscellaneous items and basic training will cost another $245 a year. Then there are its basic health costs for things like insurance, check ups, tick and flea prevention and shots. They come to about $485 a year, giving an annual total starting figure of $1000.

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  • The American Staghound is a great coursing dog but can also be a great companion in the right homes. It needs a lot of activity and it will want a lot of attention. Owners will need experience and commitment to this dog. Take care if you have a smooth coated in colder climates, or a rough coated in warmer ones, they will need watching to make sure they do not over heat or get too cold. It can get on fine with children but not younger ones, it is likely best not in homes with toy sized dogs or other pets.

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