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Scottish Deer Hound
A Gentle Giant Among Dogs!

deer hound

Background and Description

The Scottish Deer Hound, a large and powerful sighthound, was bred to hunt red deer in Scotland. It is a modified version of the ancient wolfhound, its ancestor.

The hunting expertise of this breed has also be used to hunt Kangaroo and Wild Boar in Australia, and were at one time also used to track down wolves in North America.

While at one time this breed resided on the property of large landowner's in Scotland, during the end of the nineteenth century many of these estates were broken up and hunting practices changed, the SDH numbers dwindled. Today the breed is kept mainly as a family dog.

The Deer Hound's physical appearance and running speed can be likened to Greyhound, though it is larger and has a long shaggy coat. This longer coat was no doubt bred in by design, in order to provide the dog with protection from the harsh weather that prevails in the Scottish Highlands.

The SDH can out pace the Greyhound over rough ground, but on smooth terrain the Greyhound has the edge.

A highlight for the breed came about at the 2011 Westminster Dog Show when judges selected a Scottish Deerhound, namely: GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, to receive the prestigious "Best In Show" award. This is the first time this elegant breed has been so honored.

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Appearance, Coat and Care

Height: 28-32 inches Weight: 75-110 lbs.
Color variations: Many dark colors, including blue-gray, gray, and brindle

The Deer Hound coat is wiry and hard, with a softer beard and brow. Surprisingly, not a great deal of brushing is needed to maintain the coat. Shedding is minimal.

Personality and Traits

An easy going dog that enjoys being part of the family. Good natured, friendly and dignified in temperament. Very obedient to his owner and eager to please, but like most hounds, has an independent streak.

Being a quick and intelligent learner, training can be accomplished with a patient and friendly approach, coupled with consistency and variety.

Activity Level:

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Although a quiet and placid dog inside, once outside it loves to be active. Needs a lot of room to run, coupled with long walks on leash. Ideal breed for a family that regularly likes to go running and/or hiking.

Space Needs:

Not suitable for apartment life. House with a fairly big fenced yard to provide some romping room for this large dog, is the ideal environment.


The Scottish Deer Hound has a patient and gentle disposition and is considered a very good breed in families with children. That being said, we always recommend that owners have an adult present when pets and children are interacting - no matter what the breed of dog.


The exercise requirements of the Scottish Deer Hound would not make this breed the best choice for sedentary owners.

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Book Recommendation:

comprehensive owner's guide to the Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound

A very comprehensive Owners Guide. Information includes the pros and cons of the breed, rescuing a dog, about the breeds personality, socialization, spaying, neutering, house breaking, obedience training, grooming and all aspects of care and enjoying the breed.

In addition, the origins and different types of the Scottish Deerhound are discussed.

Sight Houndssight hounds book

Sight Hounds: Their History, Management And Care

Covers history of the Scottish Deer Hound, as well as Afghan Hound, Borzoi, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Saluki and Whippet. Includes practical advice on the care of the breeds from breeding to rearing, grooming, training and general health. Many black and white photos.

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