Gray Brindle Scottish Deerhound Running through Grass Brown

Scottish Deerhound Dog Breed

Other names:

Originally bred in Scotland in the 16th century, the Scottish Deerhound was bred to bring down large stags in the highlands. Today the breed is not used as much as a large game hunting dog, even though the breed's hunting instincts are still strong. Scottish deerhounds are affectionate friendly dogs which will befriend anyone. However, due to their strong prey instincts, they are not recommended to live with smaller pets (which considering the scottish deerhounds size is everything smaller than a medium sized dog).

Scottish Deerhound Breed Details

Below are the details and specs for the Scottish Deerhound dog breed.

8 - 11 yrs.
28 - 32 in.
75 - 110 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

Scottish Deerhound Breed Description

The scottish deerhound is a large dog breed. Adults often weigh in excess of 100 pounds and stand 28 to 32 inches tall from ground to shoulder. Despite the breed's size, the scottish deerhound is relatively inactive indoors making them a good companion inside homes (as long as you have a comfy couch). However, the breed's size will likely exceed the pet size restrictions most apartments have, so the scottish deerhound may not be the best apartment pet.

The scottish deerhound does well with children, but does best with older mature children. This is because the deerhound isn't the best playmate breed and prefers not to be poked, pulled, or grabbed unexpectedly. Their size also makes them a difficult breed to have around small children since they can easily unintentionally knock over a small child. The scottish deerhound has a very strong prey instinct and will chase animals they consider prey. Because of this, the aren't recommended for households with smaller pets.

Scottish deerhounds are medium maintenance dog breeds. Their coat sheds throughout the year so it is necessary to brush them regularly to prevent mats and tangles from developing in their coat. Despite the breed's size, the deerhound is a mellow breed and doesn't require as much exercise as you would expect. Generally a 30 minute walk daily will suffice.

Scottish Deerhound Breed History

Scottish Deerhound history begins in the Highlands, a mountainous region in Northwest Scotland--but the specific time frame of the breed's origin is largely unknown. Early deerhounds of this type had several names: the Scottish Greyhound, the Highland Deerhound, and the Irish Wolfdog (some historians believe they were once used to hunt wolves as well as deer), among others.

It is known, however, that as far back as the 1500s the breed was well-known for its ability to track and bring down deer in the Highlands wilderness. Even then, the Scottish Deerhound was pretty rare, as only people of noble descent were allowed to own them. (In fact, for a long time the breed was known as the Royal Dog of Scotland.) Through the centuries, breeders refined the bloodlines, until the Scottish Deerhound as we know it today emerged during the 19th century. At some point the Scottish Deerhound made its way to North America, where it soon began appearing in the show ring; the American Kennel Club formally recognized the breed in 1886.

During World War I, the already rare Scottish Deerhound further declined in numbers due to the political turmoil in Scotland, England, and elsewhere. Luckily a few breed members survived, and over the next few decades its population rose again (though the breed is still not very common).

As of 2021, the Scottish Deerhound ranks 158th in popularity on the AKC's list of 284 recognized breeds.

Scottish Deerhound Appearance

At first glance, the Scottish Deerhound is a pure sighthound: tall, rangy, and long-legged, with a thick, scruffy coat to protect its body from the thorny underbrush in the wilderness.

But exactly what does a Scottish Deerhound look like? The head is fairly narrow, with a long muzzle, close-set brown eyes, and medium-sized, hanging ears. The Deerhound neck is fairly long, the chest is wide and deep, and the body is long and streamlined. The breed's long, muscular legs give it great speed and agility for hunting. The tail is long, sabre-like, and low-hanging.

The Scottish Deerhound coat is thick and rough, and provides plenty of protection from thick, pointy vegetation.

Scottish Deerhound Colors

The images below represent the coat colors and patterns associated with Scottish Deerhounds.

Additional Coat Colors
Black Brindle
Blue Gray
Gray Brindle

Scottish Deerhound Variations

The Scottish Deerhound breed doesn't see much variation in size, coat, or physical features. That said, some breeders (usually dishonest ones) will utilize selective breeding techniques to create what they might call "Miniature Scottish Deerhound" or "Miniature Deerhound" dogs, when in fact no size variety exists for the breed. These so-called "Mini Scottish Deerhounds" are often mixed breeds, crossed with smaller sighthounds like the Whippet or the Italian Greyhound.

Some are also confused about the Scottish Deerhound vs. the Irish Wolfhound, and whether they're two varieties of the same breed. In short, they're two separate breeds. While the Deerhound and the Wolfhound are similar in many ways, there are slight differences--mainly that the Wolfhound is generally the larger breed.

Scottish Deerhound Temperament

Gentle, energetic, affectionate with family members, loyal, and at times stubborn and strong-willed, the Scottish Deerhound temperament is one of both dignity and activity. These dogs will be easygoing and friendly around the house--but get them in the fields on a hunt and they become focused, athletic, and highly energized. They'll be very affectionate with loved ones, and they can get along well with kids and other pets, but they're also known for their high prey drives (which mean they'll instinctively chase small animals). Owners say it's best if your Scottish Deerhound grows up alongside any children or household pets, so they're accustomed to one another's company.

Scottish Deerhound characteristics regarding training: these dogs are smart enough, and they can respond well to training--but their potential stubbornness means they may need a few repetitions when learning commands, tasks, or tricks. As with any dog, firm, consistent, reward-based training methods are best.

And the Scottish Deerhound's watch- and guard dog skills are decent. Deerhounds don't bark very much, and they're extremely friendly--so they may or may not bark at and investigate unknown sights or sounds. They are large and imposing-looking, though, which may be enough to deter potential threats like intruders.

Living Requirements

As with any dog, living with a Scottish Deerhound has its own set of concerns. The main one is that, though these dogs are typically friendly and easygoing, as hunters they have very high prey drives--so it's in their nature to chase small animals (cats, birds, even smaller dogs). It's important to keep your Deerhound leashed at all times when out for walks, too.

A Scottish Deerhound is just too large and energetic for apartment living. Homes with large, fenced yards are preferable; be advised, though, that if a Deerhound sights in on potential "prey," not even a fence may deter the dog from chasing the animal.

And is a Scottish Deerhound hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, this breed is not. The Deerhound's scruffy coat sheds regularly all year long, so allergy sufferers may want to consider another breed.

Scottish Deerhound Health

Below are health issues common with the scottish deerhound dog breed.

Scottish Deerhound Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Scottish Deerhounds.

Drug sensitivity
Dilated cardiomyopathy
Factor VII deficiency

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:November 7, 2022