The American Staghound is a modern creation, a hybrid created by crossing Scottish Deerhounds, Greyhounds and other breeds. He courses hares and coyotes, primarily in the American West. This is a large dog, weighing 45 to 100 pounds. The American Staghound is not recognized as a breed, per se, and currently there is no plan to seek recognition from any breed registry such as the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring an American Staghound.
Is the American Staghound the Right Dog for You?
The American Staghound has typical sighthound traits: he is calm, affectionate but not demonstrative, and loves to give chase. Because of his laidback personality, he’s not much of a watchdog and certainly not a guard dog. His size and appearance may be enough to scare off intruders, however.
Like the Greyhound, he can be satisfied with a long daily walk and the occasional opportunity to run free in a large, safely enclosed area. He should always be walked on leash, or he is likely to take off after a squirrel, bunny, cat or other small, furry critter.
Confine him to your yard with a fence that provides a visual barrier. An underground electronic fence that gives a shock when the dog crosses it is useless with a sighthound. He’ll blow right through that without a second thought. Don’t forget that the American Staghound’s height of 24 to 30 inches and chowhound appetite make him the perfect counter surfer. Put food well out of reach if you don’t want him to help himself
The American Staghound is an independent thinker, but he can learn the basics of good dog behavior if you use positive reinforcement techniques, particularly food rewards. Begin training when he is young and still somewhat malleable, keep training sessions short and fun, and avoid harsh corrections.
The American Staghound comes in three coat types: shag, broken and smooth. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and free of dead hair. Trim his nails as needed, and keep his ears clean and dry to prevent infections. Good dental hygiene is also important.
This is a house dog. It’s an unhappy American Staghound who is relegated to the backyard with little attention from his family. And he’ll appreciate having access to the furniture or soft bedding to cushion his lanky body.
5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy American Staghound Puppy
- Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.
- Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in American Staghounds aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a American Staghound can live to be 12 to 14 years old, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.
- Puppy or adult, take your American Staghound to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
- Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questions asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you’ll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
- Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Health Issues Common to American Staghounds
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
That said, American Staghounds are generally pretty healthy dogs. Because of their deep chest, they may be prone to gastric torsion. There are so few of them that it’s hard to say what health problems they may eventually develop, but a common one in large sighthound breeds is osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.
Pet Insurance for American Staghounds
Pet insurance for American Staghounds costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because American Staghounds are a more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which American Staghounds are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your American Staghound is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.
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