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Choosing a Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish deerhound looks like a long wirehaired version of a greyhound but is actually larger. Hailing from the British Isles, this dog is an excellent running and biking companion and does well with active families.

History and Origin

The Scottish deerhound originated in the British Isles hundreds of years ago. It is thought that the greyhound, which had been around for centuries, was bred to be a little bigger and have a harsher, longer coat. This breed eventually became known as the Scottish deerhound, since he was primarily used to hunt large Scottish deer. At one time, his popularity with Scottish royalty led the deerhound being the royal dog of Scotland. The fall of the Scottish clan system contributed to the breed’s decline in popularity and the breed nearly became extinct. Fortunately, interest in the breed grew in the 1800s, primarily due to the efforts of brothers Archibald and Duncan McNeill.

Although originally used to hunt large deer, the Scottish deerhound is now a beloved companion dog. Uncommon in the United States, the deerhound has a loyal following and is growing in popularity.

In 1886, the Scottish deerhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the hound group.

Appearance and Size

The Scottish deerhound has an appearance similar to a greyhound. The chest is deep and narrow with an arched loin. The forelegs are straight and the rear end droops. The tail is long and almost reaches the ground when held straight but can also be curled at the end. The head is long with a tapering pointed muzzle. The ears are set high on the head and folded back.

The coat of the Scottish deerhound is harsh, wiry and about 3 to 4 inches long. The color is most often dark blue grey but can be light grey, brindle, yellow, red or red fawn with black points.

The adult Scottish deerhound stands around 28 to 32 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 75 to 110 pounds.


The Scottish deerhound is a gentle and patient dog that is wonderful with children. He has a dignified air and a loving manner, therefore he does not do well as a watch dog or guard dog

Home and Family Relations

The Scottish deerhound is a great dog for active families. He can do well in the city or country and loves to be a jogging or biking companion. The breed can do well with children if introduced to them at an early age.

The Scottish deerhound tends to be an active breed when outdoors and needs plenty of room to exercise. They prefer to live in a home with a fenced yard. Inactive indoors, the deerhound can live in an apartment if taken on several long walks every day. As with other sight hounds, he should not be allowed to roam off leash since he may chase small quick little creatures without paying attention to his own safety. This breed can live with other dogs but may chase household cats and should be supervised when with other animals.


The Scottish deerhound can be trained in basic obedience and can do well in lure coursing. Some can be willful and will perform commands at their own pace.

Special Concerns

The Scottish deerhound does tend to enjoy chasing small animals and should not be allowed to roam.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The Scottish deerhound is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. Gastric dilatation and volvulus has been reported.

The average life span of the Scottish deerhound is 8 to 11 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.