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Deerhound

Other names: Scottish Deerhound

Deerhound
Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is a calm, chilled-out, loyal and friendly dog. This large dog is the ultimate gentle giant - in fact, we’d go as far to say that it’s one of the friendliest breeds around! A dog of this breed gets along with anyone and everyone they meet - except cats and small animals, who they’ll chase for hours.

Those who have a large space for their pets to roam around, live an active lifestyle and seek an undemanding, affectionate companion won’t go wrong in picking a Scottish Deerhound as their next pet.

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Key facts about the Deerhound

  • Life expectancy : Between 8 and 10 years
  • Temperament : Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Big
  • Type of coat : Long, Hard
  • Price : Between £400 and £800

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds

Section

Section 2 : Rough-haired Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Deerhound

Adult size

Female dog Between 28 and 30 in
Male dog Between 30 and 31 in

Weight

Female dog Between 79 and 82 lb
Male dog Between 99 and 101 lb

Coat colour

The Scottish Deerhound most commonly has a dark grey or blue-grey coat, though they’re also seen in true brindle. Historically, they were also seen in yellow, red, and fawn.

Type of coat

This breed has a medium length, wiry coat.

The Scottish Deerhound originates from the Scottish Highlands - their thick, harsh and rough-textured coat helped keep them warm and dry in bitterly cold, wet weather. The hair on the belly, chest and head is soft in comparison to the rest of the coat. The Deerhound also has a little bit of a fringe on the backs of the legs and lovely, thick eyebrows.

Eye colour

The Scottish Deerhound has very dark brown or black eyes.

Description

There’s no two ways about it - the Scottish Deerhound is a big dog! It’s sometimes described as a small horse due to is long, thin legs and lengthy neck. Despite their size, their height and lean, athletic appearance make for a very elegant pooch.

The head is widest from ear to ear and thins out towards the muzzle and nose, which is black. The ears are set high and turned back, while the eyes are full and dark. This breed also boasts a charming moustache and beard which definitely adds to their character.

Temperament

Affectionate

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You won’t find a friendlier dog than the Scottish Deerhound. They quickly make friends with everyone they come across - even complete strangers! This is a loyal and affectionate dog who will give you plenty of love and cuddles.

Playful

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The Scottish Deerhound is playful as a puppy - in fact, they can be quite boisterous in their young years. However, as they grow older, they’re known to be a little lazy and sometimes prefer chilling out on the sofa than playing games. Overall, not the most playful breed in the book but they’ll happily join in for half an hour.

Calm

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This breed is known to be calm, undemanding and gentle. However, this naturally quiet nature means they need a stress-free, peaceful home as they are super sensitive to stress.

Intelligent

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While the Scottish Deerhound isn’t exactly renowned for its intelligence, they are generally fairly smart, cooperative and pick things up easily.

Hunter

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We’ve bragged about how calm the Scottish Deerhound is, but there is one exception to that rule. Whenever this pooch spots a small animal (including cats and small dogs), they’ll run like the wind to chase it. This can be dangerous to other animals, meaning it’s essential to keep them on a lead when potential prey are around.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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He is a fairly sociable greyhound, compared to others, but he is still wary of foreigners and does not trust easily.

Independent

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Unfortunately, the Scottish Deerhound can be rather stubborn and independent at times - especially when it comes to training. However, with persistent and careful training, they usually grow into highly obedient dogs.

Behaviour of the Deerhound

Tolerates solitude

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A well-trained Scottish Deerhound can usually be left alone for a few hours with no issues. However, they can be prone to separation anxiety when suddenly left alone with no experience of solitude. 

It’s best to start leaving this breed alone for short periods of time as a puppy, and slowly increasing the time alone as they get older. Ideally, it should never be more than a few hours.

Easy to train / obedience

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The Scottish Deerhound falls right in the middle in terms of training - it’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not easy! They have a stubborn streak and short attention span which can make training tricky. 

Plenty of praise and tasty treats are the best motivation for the Deerhound - without it, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. Do bear in mind that this breed is very sensitive and will take harsh correction or criticism to heart.

Barking

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This friendly and calm breed rarely barks. If you’re looking for a quiet dog, they’re a fantastic choice.

Tendency to run away

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Although the Scottish Deerhound won’t run away for the sake of it, their prey drive can cause problems. They will try to jolt off unexpectedly, which can be extremely dangerous around busy roads. It’s essential to buy a top quality harness and lead to restrain them in these situations.

Destructive

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This breed is prone to chewing due to boredom. This is rare, though - as long as they have adequate exercise and company, they should be fine.

Greedy / Gluttony

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The Scottish Deerhound is a large dog, so be prepared to purchase plenty of dog food. However, they’re not greedy dogs and eat surprisingly little for their size.

Guard dog

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Being wary of strangers makes him a good guardian. Its big size (which can impress some) also helps to scare any intruders.

First dog

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The Scottish Deerhound has a friendly, easygoing nature and would make a good first dog for those who live an active lifestyle. However, first-time dog owners should be prepared to attend dog training classes as this breed can sometimes be difficult to train.

Lifestyle

Deerhound in a flat

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Although this breed is lazy within the house, they’re large dogs and need space to stretch their legs. We wouldn’t recommend housing one in a flat unless there’s a large, secure outdoor space and you’re prepared to take them for walks throughout the day.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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The Scottish Deerhound has a moderate-high exercise requirement. They’ll happily laze around for most of the day but do have lots of random spurts of energy. Therefore, at least 1-2 hours of daily exercise split up into several rapid walks is ideal. They’re a good match for joggers as they love to run.

Travelling / easy to transport

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The Scottish Deerhound is a fantastic travelling companion and love to ride around in cars. They get hot easily, though - so bear this in mind whilst travelling and never leave them locked in a car.

Compatibility

Deerhound and cats

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It is a very sociable dog that can easily coexist with other pets.

Deerhound and dogs

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The Scottish Deerhound enjoys spending time or living with other big dogs, especially Deerhounds. However, they may chase small and toy-sized dogs.

Deerhound and children

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This gentle giant is a natural with children and makes a wonderful, trustworthy family dog. However, you should always supervise a Deerhound around small children. Although they’d never do it on purpose, they’re large and could accidentally knock a child over.

Deerhound and the elderly

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This breed may be a good choice for a particularly active elderly person who lives in the countryside and has experience with dogs. However, for those who live in small flats and can’t walk a dog more than once a day, they’re best avoided.

Price

The Scottish Deerhound is hard to come across in the UK these days. If you manage to find one, they’ll cost between £400 and £800.

To care for a Deerhound, you would spend on average £140 to £210 per month.

Grooming

The Deerhound’s thick, wiry coat will need brushing once or twice a week and a bath only when they’re particularly dirty or smelly. It’s also useful to comb through their entire coat once a week to avoid tangles. Their nails grow fast and will need clipping regularly.

Check their ears and eyes for signs of infection and clean gently if necessary. Brush their teeth as often as possible - ideally daily but at least once a week.

Hair loss

The Scottish Deerhound sheds moderately all year round. Regular brushing will minimize this significantly.

Nutrition of the Deerhound

Feed your Scottish Deerhound a good-quality, complete dog food. This breed is prone to bloat, so meals should be split up into 2-3 meals as eating too much at once can trigger the condition.

Health of the Deerhound

Life expectancy

On average, the Scottish Deerhounds lives between 8 and 10 years.

Strong / robust

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The Scottish Deerhound is a strong, agile and athletic breed which is built for speed and endurance. Despite their friendly nature, they’re real tough cookies.

Withstand heat

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Due to their thick skin and coat, the Scottish Deerhound will get hot quickly and should be taken inside to a cool room and given ice water in hot temperatures. They won’t cope in hot environments.

Withstand cold

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On the contrary, this breed is truly suited and booted for the cold. They were originally bred to work in the harsh, cold climate of the Scottish Highlands, so their thick, wiry coat can take on all the elements.

Tendency to put on weight

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Although the Scottish Deerhound is a relatively athletic dog, the breed is known to be prone to weight gain. Make sure your dog gets adequate exercise and measure out food every day - it’s easier than you think to overfeed them!

Common illnesses

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Bloat
  • Allergies
  • Dental disease
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neck pain
  • Atrophy
  • Liver Shunt

Good to know

During the Age of Chivalry, nobody of lower status than an earl was allowed to own a Scottish Deerhound - yep, these pups were highly valued!

Origins and history

The Scottish Deerhound is native to the country which shares its name - Scotland, of course! This famous breed has been around since the 16th century but has formally been known by multiple names, including the Scotch Greyhound, the Rough Greyhound and the Highland Deerhound. For as long as the breed has been known, it’s been highly sought-after for its impressive ability to hunt deer.

Names

Good names for a Deerhound: Eyal, Kumi, Olko, Scarlet

Find out more dog name ideas here