Scottish Deerhound – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Scottish Deerhound is a breed that can thrive only in hands of an experienced dog owner. Do you think that you have what it takes to care for this large dog? if so, read on and learn about this breed's needs just to be sure.
Dog Breed Group:
Hound Dogs
28 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder
75 to 110 pounds
Life Span:
8 to 11 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Scottish Deerhound or the Royal Dog of Scotland is a large cousin of another famous breed, Greyhound.

This is a large and tall dog, standing to a minimum of 32 inches, making them a true king when it comes to a dog’s height.

In fact, among the AKC breeds, this breed is the tallest one.

The Scottish Deerhound, often named Deerhounds, is a sighthound originally bred to hunt the red deer by coursing.

This tall dog is gentle, sensitive, and extremely brave. They are devoted and love spending time with their humans.

When needed they will be alert and fast to react.

Deerhounds may adapt to city life, but due to their size and activity needs, they are often seen in more rural areas or places with extremely large backyards.

Quick Facts

Real name: Scottish Deerhound
Other names: Deerhound
Origin: Scotland
Breed type: Hound Dogs
Weight: 75 to 110 pounds
Height: 28 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 8 to 11 years
Litter Size: 4 – 8 puppies
Color: Gray, gray brindle
Coat: Long, harsh and wiry coat

Scottish Deerhound History

The Scottish Deerhound is originally from Scotland, and his roots can be traced back to the 16th century.

The history of this breed is rich and so ancient that it’s hard to separate the breed’s origin from myth and legend.

Different documents claim that these dogs were in Scotland before the Scots even arrived.

These large dogs were used to bring down the wild red deer. At the time, these dogs has been valued for their skills and appearance.

It’s only fair to say that these dogs were highly valuable. Still, they were almost extinct during the 18th century. This was mostly affected by the collapse of the Scottish nobility after the battle of Culloden and the Jacobite rebellion.

Just like many dog breeds, the large Scottish deerhound almost disappeared during World War I.

Luckily, due to breeders’ efforts, the breed survived. Another major effect on the breed’s declined numbers was related to large estates and their large estates.

It was common for owners of larges estates to have these large dogs.

Scottish Deerhound Physical Appearance

The Scottish Deerhound is commonly described as large size dog.

They are known for their tall stand and wiry coat that only adds to their rough appearance.

The Scottish Deerhound is a member of the greyhound family, and as such has its family traits including long and slender legs, next to the deep chest, arched loin, and long tail.

As for the size, the Scottish Deerhound usually stands between 30 to 32 inches for males and around 28 inches for a female.

As for the weight, males tend to have between 85 to 110 pounds and females between 75 to 95 pounds.

Overall, these dogs are gray or gray brindle. Due to their unusual appearance, these dogs are often mixed with the Irish Wolfhound.

The biggest difference is that the Scottish Deerhound is more slender and refined, and has more of an elegant head.

Their coat may be crisp to the touch, but it serves perfectly because it can war doff damp perfectly next to dirt.

Plus, this breed isn’t a big shedder. In fact, many owners of this breed describe the Scottish Deerhound as no sheeder.

Other easy-to-spot features of this breed include profuse eyebrows and bears.

Scottish Deerhound Personality

The Scottish Deerhound is considered to be a true gentleman within the canine world.

Gallant doesn’t even describe it enough. This dog is strong, powerful, elegant in his stand, extremely brave, and very sensitive.

They are loyal, quiet, and alert when needed. On top of that, Deerhound will be the first one to stand in front of danger and the last to be aggressive.

Deerhounds are also huge lovers of chill time. Lounging is something that this breed is a huge fan of.

Do not confuse their love toward relaxing for being lazy. They are far from being lazy, they just love to have laid-back moments. When the time comes, this easy-going dog will be a true runner.

They were used to hunting on the run, and running distance is nothing for this large size dog.

Deerhounds are goal-achievers, and they won’t stop until their chase is complete. Personality is always affected by several different factors, such as genes, training, socialization, and overall heredity.

Like every dog, the Scottish Deerhounds need proper training and early socialization.

Make sure that you expose your Scottish Deerhound to different people, different places, sounds, sights, and experiences when they are young. The socialization period should be used to create a well-behaved dog.

Living With Scottish Deerhound

This is a really large size dog, and it feels only fair to discuss sharing space with this canine.

As expected they aren’t fit for small, or extra small living areas where they cannot move freely and have enough room to stretch.

A really small space for them is like living in those boxes, and that is something that no one but small pets can handle. They need also a large backyard, where they can run daily.

Fitting this huge dog into a miniature space just isn’t far – think about this before you get yourself a Scottish Deerhound.

Be honest, and ask yourself – Can I really provide to this dog what he needs to be healthy and happy? If you have any doubts, then you are not ready to own this dog yet.

However, if you are fond of bigger dogs, check this list of large size dogs and see if some would fit your life better.

On the other hand, if you have a large living space, and enough room for this dog to stretch out, the Scottish Deerhound could find the needed happiness.

Another factor to think about when getting this breed is to think about expenses related to food, medicine, and boarding bills.

If you have a huge space covered with tiles that are chill, expect to see your Scottish Deerhound sitting on tiles all day long.

They enjoy colder weather, and choosing to sleep or chill on hard or cold surfaces is something that is part of their character. This habit tends to produce calluses that do not heal easily.

Scottish Deerhound Training

Every dog should be trained from day one, but with large size dogs training should be taken extra seriously. That being said, Scottish Deerhounds aren’t the easiest of breeds to train.

Just like any other breed, they can be easily trained if you have strong experience as a dog owner, and are armed with patience and understanding.

Did you know that puppies can learn basic commands as of eight weeks of age? This means that once you get your puppy you should start training him.

The socialization period should be used for your dog to learn the following:

  • Basic commands, such as ‘come‘ and ‘sit’
  • House rules
  • Not to jump on furniture or people
  • Not to roam freely in the house
  • Not to move when unsupervised
  • How to walk on a leash

Some dogs are more sensitive than others are, and Scottish Deerhound is one of them. In fact, the Scottish Deerhound is one of the most sensitive breeds alive.

As such, they won’t tolerate, just like any other dog, any harsh treatment, or negative training methods.

Any harsh treatment will lead to creating a shy and scared with major trust issues.

If you are a first time dog owner, this isn’t the breed for you.

As a novice owner, you need a smaller size dog of calm temper and more of a lap dog.

Check here which dog breeds are suited for novice owners.

If you feel like you need help with training think about puppy classes or hiring a professional dog trainer.

Scottish Deerhound Exercise

Scottish Deerhounds thrive on activity.

Not only that being active is great for overall health, but it also enhances mental stimulation and keeps joints strong.

If you are looking for a jogging companion, this is the breed for you. Do you prefer long walks when it’s colder outside? If so, this is the breed for you. They really love long, long, long walks.

All in all, this breed needs at least two hours of exercise per day. This is not something that any owner can easily keep up with, so be well aware of this need when thinking about getting the Scottish Deerhound.

Scottish Deerhound Grooming

Scottish Deerhounds will demand regular brushing.

Their coat is 3 to 4 inches long and very harsh and wiry. As such, this coat was created to help the dog survive the rough terrain of the Scottish Highlands. The hair on the belly and head is soft.

Climate is a big factor when it comes to Deerhound’s coat.

For example, in the States, these large dogs will usually have a mix of wiry and silky hair.

As for the color, they will usually be gray, dark gray, or light gray. Some may be sandy red or yellow.

Use a wire slicker brush once a week to keep that coat clean, shiny, and in order.

Regular brushing is the best way to remove dead hair and distribute natural skin oils.

How to brush? Always brush the dog’s hair in the direction the hair grows. You can also use a metal comb, otherwise known as a greyhound comb – this is the most effective way to be sure that you haven’t missed any tangles.

Be careful when combing belly and other areas that are covered with thin skin.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe with dog shampoo only when really needed
  • Learn when to clean dog’s ears and how
  • Use brushing to check the skin for any sign of fleas or skin infection

Make sure that you make grooming a positive experience.

Dogs are extremely touchy about their feet, so as soon as they learn to be handled they will see it as a way of communion and not a potential danger. Always reward positive behavior and another handling.

Scottish Deerhound Health

Scottish Deerhounds are generally healthy dogs.

This is especially true if you are working with responsible dog breeders. Responsible dog breeders will do their best to deliver the finest breed representatives.

Responsible dog breeders will screen puppies for most common health issues, and present you medical documentation on puppies.

Experienced breeders will ask you a lot of questions to help you choose the puppy that best fits your energy and lifestyle.

As a general rule, Deerhounds’s breeders should present you following papers on the breed:

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
  • Certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF)

As for the most common health issues in the breed you can see:

  • Anesthesia Sensitivity
  • Cystinuria
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Factor VII Deficiency
  • Bloat
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism

Bloat is a very dangerous condition that commonly appears in large size dogs.

Do your research on bloat and learn how to prevent this scary condition in your dog.

Is Scottish Deerhound For You?

Again: if you are a first time dog owner, this breed isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you are an experienced dog owner, and you know your way around large size dogs, this is a breed to consider.

In fact, the Scottish Deerhound is for you if you want a dog who is:

  • Large is size
  • Has calm temperament and loves to lounge
  • Is graceful and athletic
  • Is polite with strangers and gentle with other dogs
  • Doesn’t bark a lot

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