Scottish Deer Hound
A Gentle Giant Among Dogs!

The Scottish Deer Hound, a large and powerful sight hound with a history dating back to the 16th century, was bred to hunt red deer in Scotland. It is a modified version of the ancient wolfhound, its ancestor.

Scottish deerhound face portraitImage: M.Robinson

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

In its earlier days, the Scottish Deerhound, also known as the Royal Dog of Scotland, resided on the property of large landowners in Scotland, but during the end of the nineteenth century many of these estates were broken up and hunting practices changed. Subsequently, the SDH numbers dwindled. Today the breed is kept mainly as a family dog.

Fame At Last!
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.

Characteristics of the Scottish Deer Hound

The Deer Hound's physical prowess 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.

As for his temperament, the Scottish Deer Hound in an easy going dog that enjoys being part of the family. He is a good-natured fellow, both friendly and dignified.

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.

Scottish Deerhounds inside carFather and Son

Physical Stats And Care

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

The Deer Hound's 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.

How Active is the Deerhound?

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.

Ideal Living Space

Apartment life would not be suitable for the Scottish Deer Hound.

House with a fairly big fenced yard to provide some romping room for this large breed dog, is the ideal environment.

Scottish deerhound illustration

The SDH With Children?

The Scottish Deer Hound has a patient and gentle disposition and is considered a very good breed in families with children that have been taught how to be considerate with pets.

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.

Seniors or Less Active families?

The exercise requirements of the Scottish Deer Hound would not make this breed the best choice for sedentary owners.  Active seniors would be an exception.

Health Notes

An extensive amount of health information can be found here at  Though the guidance is mainly intended for professional breeders, it is unquestionably recommended reading for anyone considering a deerhound.

Further Reading

book about various sight hounds
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 photos.

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Father-Son image: License CC BY 2.0 M.Robinson image: license: NC 2.0
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