This Week’s Creature Feature: King Lear Courts Queen Hickory

You’ve probably heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the assumption that anyone can be linked to the actor through six steps … like my sister worked for a man whose wife is the third cousin of Bacon’s hairdresser.
    We can go one better with Six Degrees of GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind.
    Hickory is Grand Dame of American dogs, the Scottish deerhound crowned Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show last month, the first of her breed to win the coveted title. To get to her, we needed only one step: Chesapeake Country’s own king — GCH Highland Fusilier D’Lux, aka King Lear.
    Lear, a twice-removed cousin of the queen, hopes to take their relationship to a more intimate level. He’s lined up to be chosen as Hickory’s own stud.
    “Before Hickory won Westminster, it was almost a sure thing,” says Alan Wilson, one of Lear’s three owners. “We thought we had done our courting dance really well. But now there are at least six other good boys in the mix.”
    While waiting, Lear spends the work week in Washington, D.C., and the weekends in Scientists Cliffs with Wilson and Steve Peters, another of his owners.
    “Lear loves Southern Maryland,” Wilson tells Bay Weekly. “He has two miles of beach, and he can run and run. Lear is five now and would not live anywhere except for Southern Maryland.”
    A king in his own right, Lear has a pedigree, with lineage certificates and awards filling file folders and ribbons enough to cover a wall. He is shown by his third owner, breeder and handler Janet Luxmoore Porter. Lear is only one of 10 Scottish deerhounds to achieve Grand Champion, a recent title bestowed by the American Kennel Club after a dog earns 25 Grand Championship points in a complex insider process.
    Hence the initials GCH heading Lear’s name.
    Only about 1,000 Scottish deerhounds are registered in America, but Lear and his owners hope to add to that number with Hickory.
    “Hickory is back in Flint Hill, Virginia,” Wilson says. “There will be a big party in March out at her place, so she can pick and choose.”
    “Oh, if only I had given her that steak bone,” Wilson pines. “But we still think we’re hot.”