Let's talk Deerhounds

The phrase ”gentle giant” pretty much sums up the Deerhound. While these majestic Scottish sighthounds were initially bred to stalk wild red deer (they run fast and can keep it up), they are known to be one of the tenderest of breeds with their human families. And one of the tallest at around 30 inches (76 cm). Adjectives often linked to the Deerhound name are aristocratic, thanks to their noble posture, good-natured, and, as you would soon remark, highly affectionate. They just want to snuggle. With seemingly no understanding of just how large they actually are.

Official name: Deerhound

Other names: Scottish Deerhound

Origins: Scotland

Black and white portrait of a Scottish Deerhound
 Drooling tendencies  Very low Warm weather?  Very low
 Shedding level  Medium Suited to apartment living?   
 *Energy Level moderate *Friendly pet?
 Compatibility with other pets  Very high *Can stay alone?  Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

Inline Image 15
Illustration of a Scottish Deerhound
76 - 81 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
38.5 - 50 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
71 - 81 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
34 - 43 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  From 8 years

Scottish Deerhound stood in a field at sunset


Get to know the Deerhound

All you need to know about the breed

One of the tallest breeds around, the Deerhound, also known as the Scottish Deerhound, is a sight to behold. With their unkempt, gorgeously scruffy, wiry coat giving them a permanent canine bedhead look and doleful, deep eyes, one senses both the majesty and depth of this ancient breed. Originally bred to stalk large prey (it’s in their name), Deerhounds run fast and can do so over long stretches. So while they are an absolute gem as a family dog, the family home or surroundings must offer the space and exercise muscular, long-legged Deerhounds need to stay healthy. They will also benefit from an enclosed garden (the fence needs to be high!) to run around in, free from smaller creatures that might otherwise bear the brunt of that ancient chasing instinct.

Terrifically affectionate and great with children once trained, a Deerhound is however not recommended for families with smaller ones. They could easily knock over a young child unintentionally due to sheer size alone (and their size is sure to intimidate little people!). As with any breed, Deerhounds and children should always be supervised when together.

Despite their size, Deerhounds aren’t cut out to be guard dogs. Too tail-wagging open. Though their size can be off-putting enough to uninvited visitors on its own - they look more threatening than they are! - a Deerhound’s favourite place once their energy has been run off is at your side in front of a roaring fire.

Scottish Deerhound bounding through a green field


2 facts about Deerhounds

1. Lead the way

To see a Deerhound running at full gallop, whether on the moors or in a large enclosed garden, is to witness the visual definition of enthusiasm. It is for this reason that, while a Deerhound can live in an urban environment, they need access to a large secure outdoor space where they can all out run safely.

2. The downside

As with any ‘maxi’ or larger breed of dog, the downside is their relatively short lifespan compared to smaller breeds. Deerhounds reach adulthood from 15 months and are seen as mature from 5 years old. Average predicted lifespan is from 8 to 11 years. Of course, some Deerhounds live to ripe old ages, bucking this trait! Either way, they will return your affection and devotion throughout their lives.


History of the breed

Known as the "Royal Dog of Scotland," and the Scottish Deerhound, Deerhounds are valued both for their skill and noble good looks. They are such exclusive canines that, during the Medieval Age of Chivalry, from 1000-1500, only those with the title of Earl or above were allowed to own Deerhounds.

Even with these exceptional credentials, or perhaps because of them, the breed came close to extinction in the mid- to late-18th century coinciding with the collapse of Scottish nobility. And like many breeds, Deerhound numbers dipped down again after World War I when large estates suffered huge losses.

The Deerhound arrived on North American shores towards the end of the 19th century and was admitted to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Hound group in 1886. They are still a rare breed.

Black and white portrait of a Scottish Deerhound


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Deerhounds

1. Body

Tall, gangly, long body with well-sprung ribs.

2. Coat

Thick, close-lying ragged coat, harsh or crisp to the touch.

3. Tail

Tail well covered with hair, thick and wiry with longer underside.

Scottish Deerhound stood to the side in front of a lake


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Deerhound
Scottish Deerhound stood, tongue out, on a crop field


Caring for your Deerhound

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Deerhound's wiry coat is quite easy to care for, requiring only an all-over brushing and combing every week. Nails should be trimmed regularly if not worn down naturally, ears checked and kept clean and dry, and teeth brushed daily – long ‘nosed’ dogs tend towards dental problems. Don’t forget to check their coats for any seeds or twigs picked up outside, they could cause skin lesions. The occasional bath or grooming salon visit will help keep your Deerhound tangle-free and smelling sweet. Deerhounds only need one to three hours of exercise per day – but they do need to open it up and get their long legs moving. Their poetic lope is a pleasure to behold, but also a necessity for them. This means open spaces to run, and securely fenced in as their prey drive could see them heading in the opposite direction if they see or smell something interesting. Quite social, Deerhounds do well with companion dogs, ideally another Deerhound. Older Deerhounds can be couch potatoes but they still need ample exercise to stay fit. When training, sensitive Deerhounds need gentle, positive and consistent instruction. As fast as they are running, they can be slow in training until they see the interest. Laidback, even. Use treats to inspire them, taken from their daily kibble portion to ensure your Deerhound stays trim.


All about Deerhounds

Deerhounds have many traits, but aggression is not one of them. They are good-natured, calm dogs, more threatened by others’ noise than noise-makers themselves. Deerhounds like to run; then they like to relax on the couch (if allowed, of course).

It isn’t so much that Deerhounds shed a lot, it is more that they shed a bit all throughout the year which is quite noticeable. The bigger issue with their wiry coat is matting! Tangles can easily take hold if their coarse coats aren’t brushed through each week.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/