Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound

Group: Hound Group

Origin: Great Britain

Males: 30 to 32 inches (76-82 cm) at the shoulders.
Females: 28 inches and up at the shoulders.

Weight: Males: 85 to 110 lbs. – Females: 75 to 95 lbs.

Scottish Deerhound
Fernhill’s Flavour for Chess
Photo courtesy: Chess Scottish Terriers

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Breed Profile

The Scottish Deerhound is one of the largest of the Hound breeds and was originally used for both his strength and speed necessary to chase and catch deer weighing as much as 250 pounds. The Deerhound usually hunted alone or in pairs. He also has a keen sense of smell which has been used for tracking.

It is unclear when the breed became known as the Deerhound; however, as early as the third century, dogs of the Greyhound type were used for hunting. By the middle of the 18th century, there were two distinct types of Deerhounds — the Highland and the Lowland — with the Highland being taller, stronger, and with a heavier coat than the Lowland. These ancient hounds were powerful, courageous and moved with tremendous speed. During midieval times, only very high ranking noblemen were allowed to own the Scottish Deerhound, also known as the “Royal Dog of Scotland.” Old Scottish tales state that the breed was highly regarded for his courage and tenacity as a stag hunter and for his loyalty to the chieftain and his family.

The Deerhound resembles a rough-coated Greyhound but larger in both size and bone structure. He is an obedient, quiet mannered, easy-going dog and a faithful companion. Affectionate, friendly and excellent with children, the Deerhound carries himself with quiet dignity and should never be aggressive or nervous.

He has a long, harsh, wiry coat that that sheds very little and comes in various shades of grey, brindle or fawn with dark ears and a dark muzzle.

Health Issues

  • Anasthetics — Like all members of the Sighthound family, the Scottish Deerhound is sensitive to a number of anesthetics. It is very important to discuss this with your Veterinarian in advance of any required surgery. For additional information, see: Anesthesia and your Saluki from the Saluki Club of America.
  • Bloat — As with any deep-chested dog, the occurrence of Bloat or Gastric Torsion is a real possibility in the Scottish Deerhound. If you are not familiar with this condition, it is absolutely necessary to learn about it and know the symptoms — This is a real emergency and a life threatening condition that requires immediate Veterinary attention. See Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – Bloat in the Health and Nutrition section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs for more information and First Aid for Bloat for an article describing some of the things you can do if you are faced with this situation.
  • Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) — This is a cancer that almost always appears in a leg bone and is more common in large and giant breed dogs. The first signs are typically lameness or a lump in one leg. Once the cancer appears, it grows and spreads rapidly to the lungs. The average age of onset in Deerhounds is 8 years old and females are at a greater risk.
  • Cardiomyopathy (Heart Disease) — Cardiomyopathy can occur in most large and giant breeds. The heart muscle gradually deteriorates in dogs affected with this condition and they may develop arrhythmias, go into heart failure, or die suddenly. While medications can treat irregular heartbeats and heart failure, there is no cure for the underlying heart disease. The average age of onset of this disease in Deerhounds is 6 1/2 years and it is four times as common in males as it is in females.

If you are considering the adoption of a Scottish Deerhound puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:

Grooming Information

  • Grooming the Scottish Deerhound
  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Lure Coursing Information
  • Whippets and Other Sighthounds — A very informative website dedicated to Sighthounds explaining why a Sighthound thinks and acts differently from other breeds of dogs.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Breed Listing

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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