Wonderfully written by our good friend, Glenda Konopka - Annadar Whippets

With the exception of “sighthounds,” every and all other breeds of dog used by mankind for hunting game (I’m not talking about verminators [Welsh Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers, etc.] that kill pests like rats, mice, moles, etc.) is an “assistant” to the human hunter: retrievers bring back what the hunter shoots out of the air; spaniels, setters, and pointers find game by smell and “point out” the game so the hunter can either flush it himself or let the dog do that so he can shoot it; “scent” hounds (Bloodhounds, Bassets, Treeing Walkers, Foxhounds, Beagles, etc.) chase by scent and either run the game to ground, chase it up a tree, or otherwise ‘corner’ the prey so the human can kill it (whether or not he uses a “ground” dog to get whatever it is out of its hole in the ground).  None of these breeds of dog are expected to kill the quarry as a true and important part of their job assisting humans to hunt.  They work (mostly) under direct human instruction (a/k/a Field Trials, Earth Dogs, Coonhound competitions, etc.) and don’t kill the prey, the human kills it with a bow, gun, or other weapon.  The human picks up the prey and off they go back home to cook.

On the other hand, Sighthounds are expected to work independently (I understand the Scottish Deerhound walking with its master to look for prey, whippets for rabbits, etc.) of their human in the hunt.  They (hopefully) find and flush the game on their own (using all senses), chase it down well out of reach and control of the human “hunter,” and (what distinguishes them the most) they make the kill, not the human.  Hunting with a Sighthound generally doesn’t involve the hunter killing anything or even carrying a weapon unless it’s to dispatch fatally wounded game.  I had an Irish Wolfhound owner add that the sighthounds are also magnanimous enough to share “their” kill with the human they choose to work with, not for, like other breeds.  Sighthounds are the ONLY breeds we humans expect to do ALL the hunting work – find it, chase it, hold it, kill it, bring it back or wait for help.  No other breeds that I know of carry this kind of responsibility.  I think it’s why they have such different personalities and behaviors and are considered “aloof” – they are actually independent, not uncaring.  They love us enough to share “their” kills with us as we become the leader of their pack in our homes.  It’s why there is always a little bit of the “wild” in any Sighthound worth its salt and why they work “with” us and not “for” us; it’s a partnership, not a Master-Slave relationship, at least the way I see it.


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