The Scottish Deerhound

Quick Facts

- Good for novice dog owners
- Good with children
- Good with other dogs
- Large size
- Medium exercise needs
- Medium shedding
- Low guard dog abilities
- Medium ease of training

Although the Scottish Deerhound did not originate in Scotland, they gained their fame there. They are an ancient breed; some Historians feel they predate recorded history. They were once favoured dogs of Highland chieftains and were so valued by the Picts and the Scots that battles were fought over the theft of a single deerhound.

Like all sighthounds, Scottish Deerhounds are fast and agile. They are not as fast as the Greyhound on a smooth surface, but far better suited than their faster cousin on rough or rugged terrain. They are also bigger and stronger than the Greyhound, able to take down larger prey. They are very quick dogs, capable of rousing and running down the fastest of prey, ranging from deer, stag, coyotes and jackrabbits.

Scottish Deerhounds are calmer than many of the other sighthounds. They are gentle quiet dogs, very mild mannered and good-natured. They are a little sensitive, but with patient positive techniques are easy to train, and make a fine choice for the novice dog owner. If ill treated or not properly socialized, Deerhounds can be a bit timid and skittish, early and thorough socialization is essential in helping them become calm confident adults. They should never be jerked around, yelled at or treated harshly. They are best suited for a calm owner.

Scottish Deerhounds are affectionate and sweet natured. Some can be a bit aloof with strangers, but as they are such gentle hearted dogs, they really cannot be counted as good guard dogs. However, their size alone is usually enough to keep most criminally minded away. They do well in the city, being quiet ad easy going, and do not require as much exercise as many other large breeds. They do well with an hour or so of daily exercise, preferably with some running time included as often as possible. When full grown they make excellent jogging and bicycling companions, and are wonderful dogs to take hiking and camping. Due to their sighthound heritage, they are fast agile chasers, so care should be taken when allowing them off lead, as they might see something they perceive as prey and be off in pursuit before you know it. Most Scottish Deerhounds enjoy the sport of lure coursing and due to their gentle disposition they make wonderful therapy dogs.

Scottish Deerhounds are generally not playful dogs. They are not a breed that will enjoy learning tricks, chasing balls or catching frisbees. They do well with children of all ages, but will be more of a stalwart companion, than a playful friend to them. They are usually good with other dogs, and may get along with the family cat if raised with him. However, due to their natural hunting instincts, they are not trustworthy with small animals, like rabbits and pet rodents, and may pose a threat to outdoor cats.

Appearance and Grooming:
Scottish Deerhounds look much like Irish Wolfhounds, just smaller. They are tall slender dogs, with a rough noble appearance. They are 28-30 inches tall and weigh between 75-110 pounds when full grown. Their coat is weather resistant and is available in fawn, dark blue-gray, light gray or brindle. To keep them neat and tidy, they require grooming twice a week and dead hairs should be stripped twice a year. They are average shedders.

Scottish Deerhounds are a healthy breed not given to the large amount of health issues that many other breeds suffer from. Cases of bone cancer have been seen in the breed and they are susceptible to bloat. To help prevent bloat, it is best to feed several small meals daily instead of one large, and to with hold exercise and water and hour before and after eating. The Deerhound is a short-lived breed, often only living 8-10 years.


Located in: Sighthounds