Scottish Deerhound

Type: Sighthound and Pariah

Height: Females: 28 30 inches; Males: 30 - 32 inches.

Weight: Females: 75 - 95 lbs.; Males: 85 - 110 lbs.

Life Span: 8 - 11 years.

Litter Size: 8 - 9 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: Indoors - Low. Outdoors - High.

Watch-dog: Low

Guard-dog: Low


Description: The Scottish Deerhound has grace, dignity and beauty. As a companion the Deerhound is ideal, being tractable and easy to train and possessing the most dependable loyalty and utmost devotion to their masters. Scottish Deerhounds are a mellow, low-key and easy going breed who loves outdoors and will chase anything that moves. They are excellent hunters and were used for this purpose long ago in Scotland. Scottish Deerhounds must be trained around any other animals, including livestock and cats, in order to keep them from using their well-developed hunting skills. They are gentle in the home, however, and remain faithful and loyal pets. The Scottish Deerhound is a large dog, both heavy and tall. They have wiry rough hair on their bodies, but on the stomach and chest it is soft. They have a rather long neck, and their heads look rather small in comparison to the body. Deerhounds have long tails, almost reaching the ground. They have dark eyes and a dark nose, and come in colors of dark blue gray, lighter gray, brindle, yellow and fawn. Sometimes they have white on the feet, toes, chest or tail tip. Scottish Deerhounds are a royal breed of majestic looks and noble personality.

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Other Names: Deerhound, Royal Dog of Scotland

Colors: Dark blue gray and lighter grays; brindles and yellow; sandy red or red fawn with black points. They often have white on the toes, chest, and tail tip.

Coat: Shaggy but not over coated. They have a thick, medium length coat that is mostly wiry but soft on the chest and belly. It is harsh and 3 - 4 inches long. The fur on the head is long and soft, and they often have a beard as well.

Temperament: Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, active, loyal, and tranquil. They are intelligent, strong-willed, but very attached to its owners. They are courageous and very good at hunting, but charming and calm inside the home. This breed can have a lot of energy, but is not over-excited. They are faithful, quiet and dignified. Scottish Deerhounds are good-natured.

With Children: Yes, when socialized.

With Pets: May chase cats, other small pets, or even livestock because of their strong hunting instincts. They should be socialized and trained around any other animals.

Special Skills: Family pet and hunter by sight of large game.

Care and Training: Regular grooming of the Scottish Deerhound's coat should consist of brushing, plucking excess hair from the ears and trimming the pads of their feet. Plucking of the coat should be done twice a year. Deerhounds need a tremendous amount of exercise which should consist of free time off leash as they love to run. They make a great companion to run along side a bicycle. Training needs to begin at a young age. Scottish Deerhounds should be allowed to meet new people and other dogs and cats. They are quick learners if handled correctly. A friendly tone of your voice will get them to do what you need.

Learning Rate: Low. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Low.

Special Needs: Exercise, fenced yard, grooming, leash, and socialization.

Living Environment: Lots of space, they are a large breed when full grown. It is recommended that Deerhounds also have a home with a high fenced yard as they can easily jump a six-foot fence. Owners should be a patient, easy going and never harsh and should appreciate the breed's sensitivity to the smallest changes. The best owner would be an active family living in the country or in a suburban home.

Health Issues: Allergies, sensitivity to anesthesia, cardiomyopathy, osteosarcoma, bursa and gastric torsion (bloat). Bloat is a common health problem in dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs second to cancer.

History: Scottish Deerhounds may have arrived in Scotland over 3000 years ago with the Phoenician traders. Some believe they are closely related to the Irish Wolfhound. There is a statue called the Hilton of Cadboll from the 8th century that depicts two hounds attacking a deer. During this time there were reports in literature about "highland Greyhounds" with long, course hair. Large Greyhounds of the time are thought to have been crossed with a shaggier native breed to create what is the Scottish Deerhound today.The Scottish Deerhound is featured in the writings of novelist Sir Walter Scott who had a female Deerhound named "Maida", whom he called "the most perfect creature of heaven." When his hound died, he buried her under a sculpture that read, "Beneath the sculptured form which late your wore, Sleep soundly, Maida, at your Master's door." They became a favorite among the Scottish Highlanders who used them to hunt wild deer in the glens. During medieval times, there were laws passed that would not allow anyone below the rank of Earl to own a Scottish Deerhound. This could have been to ensure that there were enough deer for the noblemen to hunt with, but it created a method of not over-breeding the Deerhound. In short, there were very few Deerhounds. After the collapse of the clan system from a loss at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, the breed began to lose its purpose. The introduction of guns also removed the use of the breed. In the 1800s Archibald and Duncan McNeill revived the breed by finding the few remaining pure specimens. Landseer, the famous painter, painted this breed often. After the second World War the numbers were extremely low, and a few breeders set out to revive it. The breed is still not very popular and does not have many numbers in registries, but fans seem to be satisfied by their numbers.

First Registered by the AKC: 1886

AKC Group: Hound Group

Class: Hound

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 10), KC (GB), UKC