AKC Dog Breeds: Scottish Deerhound

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Hound  Group
Height:28-32 inches   Weight: 75-115 pounds  
dark blue gray, dark and light gray, brindles, yellow, sandy red and fawn

The Scottish Deerhound is a giant of a dog, with a certain regal charm, elegance, and dignity about him. A very friendly and loveable breed, the Scottish Deerhound can come off as intimidating, however is very gentle. Described best as a gentleman, this breed is quite willful and rather difficult to train. The Scottish Deerhound originates from the UK and enjoys a long history. These dogs were bred and used by Highlanders in Scotland in the Middle Ages, and their job was to hunt down large deer. Some think that the origins of the Scottish Deerhound go back around three thousand years. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1886.

General Appearance
The Scottish Deerhound appears to be a rough-coated Greyhound. He is however, larger in size and bigger in bone. He is a tall and slim sighthound with a saggy 3-4 inch long coat, beard, mustache and mane. The harsh, wiry coat comes in various shades of gray (blue-gray is preferred), fawn, or brindle, with dark ears and a tapering dark muzzle. A little white is allowed on the chest, feet and tail. The hair is softer on the underparts and head. The head is carried high, long, level and in balance with the whole dog. The eyes are either chestnut or hazel, and the nose is a dark color. The teeth should form a level bite and there is little stop. The soft ears lie back against the head unless the dog is excited, in which case, they become half-perked. The long straight or curved tail nearly reaches to the ground.

Very loyal and devoted, the Scottish Deerhound is a docile and loving breed, and is a bad choice for those looking for a watchdog or guard dog! These dogs have great agility and speed, and need plenty of space to run around and exercise, although they are not demanding in terms of walks and accompanied exercise. However, that is not to say that he will appreciate being neglected, as he does thrive on the affection and devotion of his owner and family. A fenced and secure area for the Scottish Deerhound to exercise and run is essential for his own safety, as he can be up, off, and away in next to no time. Although Scottish Deerhound puppies can be boisterous and energetic, these dogs tend to be very calm when they are older, and do enjoy their creature comforts. The Scottish Deerhound is sensitive and sweet natured, but can sometimes be stubborn. He is best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. Early socialization is important with this breed to promote a stable attitude and temperament. The Scottish Deerhound gets along well with children, and is usually polite around strangers. He may give chase to small animals such as little dogs and cats, but tends to get along okay with household dogs. The Scottish Deerhound is not a demanding breed, and his quiet, calm dignity and grace makes him ideal for those that want a solid, dependable companion who is not clingy. However, it is essential that those considering a Scottish Deerhound as a family pet have the necessary space, both indoors and outdoors, to accommodate this gentle giant.


Scottish Deerhounds have a very wiry coat that is extremely low maintenance. Regular brushing in the direction of the hair growth with a slicker brush will keep the coat in great condition. Some stripping will be required if the dog will be shown. The Scottish Deerhound can also be bathed fairly regularly. Bathing will make the coat somewhat softer than desirable for a short period of time, but will help keep it clean and shiny and ensure that the dog has no dog smell. This dog is an average shedder.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Scottish Deerhound is around 8-11 years, and there are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed. This breed is particularly susceptible to Bloat, especially if they are fed one large meal each day. For this reason, it's best to feed them 2 or 3 small meals each day and to avoid exercise right after a meal. They should also get plenty of water. If the bloating problem is not properly managed, it can be life threatening. The breed is also prone to cardiomyopathy and bone cancer. In recent years, veterinarians have seen this breed dying at an early age more and more often from heart disease and bone cancer.

Activity Level

Scottish Deerhounds need lots of exercise. They love to run and are quite fast. This is the perfect breed for the human runner who wants a companion. A large yard will provide some good exercise opportunities for the Scottish Deerhound, but a good long run on occasion is what this dog really needs. However, he loves the run so much, that he is likely to wander too far. In addition, he may be likely to chase other animals. Though the type of hunting a Scottish Deerhound was bred for is illegal in then, they make good dogs for other types of hunting. They are classified as a sight hound, but have a keen sense of smell, as well. They can be trained as hunting dogs of the type Americans are used to.


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