Scottish deerhound secret gem in dog world

Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:10pm EDT
 
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By Hyungwon Kang

FLINT HILL, Virginia (Reuters Life!) - Until a lanky five-year-old Scottish deerhound won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York few people knew about the large, gentle breed.

But Hickory, the 85-pound (38-kg) grey and white female who nabbed the top prize from about 2,600 competitors in February, could change that.

She is the first deerhound to win at Westminster and has shown traits of a champion since her win at a North Carolina show in 2007.

"People kept telling me that we should keep showing Hickory," Cecilia Dove, who bred and raised Hickory, told Reuters in an interview. "But we couldn't afford to do that on our own, our first son was in college and second son was starting college."

After hearing of Dove's financial dilemma, dog show enthusiast Sally Sweatt, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, came to the rescue and became Hickory's sponsor.

"To me, Hickory reminds (me) of the racehorse Secretariat when she moved," Sweatt said about the gentle dog with the effortless gait.

"There was such beauty, elegance and style to her. This dog is a one in a million dog. A dog like this doesn't come in a lifetime," she added. "We'll probably never see a dog like her again."

Dove had intended to get another breed, a Borzoi, in 1975 when she went to a farm in Keswick, Virginia. But she ended up also buying a deerhound and described herself as thunderstruck when she saw the breed, which sheds less than some other dogs.   Continued...

 
<p>An eight-month-old Scottish Deerhound named Vanity Fair shows excitement seeing her breeder Cecilia Dove in the morning at Dove's 56-acre farm in Flint Hill, Virginia, March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang</p>