The Gentle Scottish Deerhound

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Scottish Deerhound
Weight Male: 85 — 110 lbs
Weight Female: 75 — 95 lbs
Height:Male 30” — 32”
Height Female 28” — 30”
AKC Rank 2008 #131
Lifespan: 8—10 yrs
Group Hound

Dog Breed Info - Scottish Deerhound

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Breed Overview

Origin: Scotland, Middle ages. Original purpose: Coursing stag. Today: Lure coursing. Colors: All shades of grey and grey-brindle, dark blue-grey.

The Scottish Deerhound is among the most aristocratic of breeds. It has been valued by nobility for it’s ability to run down deer since at least the sixteenth century. The exact history is difficult to trace but it possibly came from ancestral shorthaired Greyhound stock and though breeding was increased in size and given long hair. The deer population in England declined and rough coated dogs suited for hunting stag became concentrated where the deer were still in plentiful supply, namely the Scottish Highlands. This is where the breed gets the name, Scottish Deer hound. The dogs were valued and horded by Highlands Chieftains. The demise of the Clan System contributed to the serious decline of the breed in the 1700’s The popularity of deer hunting with guns began to replace coursing by dogs and the breed further declined in the 1800’s. The Deerhound is now growing in popularity in parts of Europe as a companion dog and its’ numbers are growing, but not in America. The AKC registered the breed in 1886.

Two Deerhound dogs resting
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The Scottish Deerhound can learn most commands and obedience, is willing to please, but has a stubborn streak and can be willful. The best method for this kind of dog is clicker training Also, this breed is extremely sensitive so the clicker with positive reinforcement is necessary. The dog needs a firm but kind upper hand in training. The gentle touch of a clicker goes a long way toward success.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Scottish Deerhound puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Generally, the Scottish Deerhound puppy is fairly easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

The loving, gentle Deerhound
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This is a mellow and low-key, low-energy scenthound that is quiet around the house and rather good with children and other dogs. The Scottish Deerhound is a loyal family breed that craves lots of human companionship. His temperament is such that he is a very poor watchdog and guardian. He needs a family that can show alpha-pack leadership with a firm but very kind, gentle hand, as this is a sensitive dog. Your Deerhound will be a calm, gracious, and well-mannered house pet when he once realizes you are in charge and all he has to do is follow your lead.

When outdoors, this dog loves to run and chase anything that moves so he most be kept on leash. He’s an excellent jogging, biking, roller-bladding or hiking partner. His exercise needs are actually moderate but he does like a good ruin of it for awhile.

If you happen to get a Deerhound with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Good. The Deerhound is not aggressive and usually likes other dogs as long as they are not aggressive toward him.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Accepts other pets but a cauti0on about small animals in the house. The Deerhound like to chase anything that moves fast which could include other house pets including cats, ferrets, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs and lizards. Other dogs and stationary cats should be no problem,.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Okay here too, as the Deerhound generally likes people and as long as the strangers don’t appear threatening, there should be no problem. This is a sensitive dog, so a stranger approaching with a bad attitude or yelling could cause a problem


Not very playful. Will fetch a ball if trained to do so, will chase after kids and roll around a bit in the grass, but is is somewhat reserved otherwise.


Fairly affectionate for a big dog. He loves his family and the children and can show it with physical closeness. He craves attention from his family of humans.

Good with children

Yes, especially older kids. Well mannered children 6 or 7 and up are great. The Scottish Deerhound will gladly romp and run with the kids and may be up for a game of fetch.

Caution with very young kids—this is a 100 pound dog and a small child or toddler could easily be injured by accident.

One drawback—This breed has a fairly short lifespan of around 9 to 10 years and this can be a problem for some young children to lose their “:best friend” at an early age. Just a thought.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes—The Scottish Deerhound could be a good partner for seniors that are into jogging or power walking for health, as so many are these days. As long as the senior can bend over to pick up the poop, or use a scooper, and drive to the vet for the annual health checkup, this could be a wonderful pet for seniors. The dog is quiet, calm, loyal, gets along with other dogs, pets and people as well as children and is not aggressive so why not?

Living environment

House with large fenced yard is best so the Deerhound can wander, sniff and explore. A farm or a ranch is even better.

The Scottish Deerhound CAN survive in an apartment, flat or condo as long as he gets out for his exercise each day, but he will need room to stretch out in the apartment and hopefully enough room to wander from room to room..

It is medically necessary for this breed to sleep on a soft bed. They must not sleep on a bare floor. See to it the dog can stretch out fully on something cushiony and soft.

Energy level

Moderately low. Rate this 3 bars out of 10 for energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. Two good walks OR a jogging or biking session along with some play time fetching a ball will satisfy his needs for exercise.


No. Not a barker, likes people too much, might not even warn of a fire.

Guard dog

No, not really. Just not in his character.


Normal shedding, nominal.


Comb the harsh coat twice a week and clip around the muzzle, face and ears a few times each year. Some stripping may be needed.


Suggested Reading - The Scottish Deerhound
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • At far left - Comprehensive Owners Guide for Scottish Deerhound owners, hardcover edition. (Nearly sold out).

  • 2nd from the left is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog" that offers a variety of simple to teach and play games for almost any dog.

  • 3rd book from the left is "How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With." This is an interesting and informative book.

  • Book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual and (Dog First Aid) for every dog owner. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Dog Health Issues For The Scottish Deerhound
Below is the dog illness or illnesses or medical problems listed for the Scottish Deerhound by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous articles by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.Scottish Deerhound dog illness list:

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Cardiomyopathy—Disease of the heart muscle causing the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Cause is unknown. Older, bigger dogs , 4 to 10 years are usually affected. The prognosis is generally about 6 months to 2 years for a dog with this form of heart failure and only a matter of weeks for some severe cases.

  • Osteosarcoma—A leg bone cancer in large breed dogs of any age but usually in large, older dogs. Osteosarcoma in the limbs is “appendicular osteosarcoma” if talking to a vet. The dog will be in great pain as the disease destroys the bone from the inside out. The dog’s inability to walk will progress over only about 3 months time as the bone is destroyed by the tumor. Unfortunately, surgery to remove the leg is the only way to give your dog the only total relief needed.

  • Cystinuria—Hereditary. A genetic defect. Kidneys are unable to process a basic amino acid called cystine the right way. It generally takes many years before it is noticeable in the dog. The retained cystine clumps together and forms stones or blockages in the urinary track which is a life-threatening condition that requires quick surgery.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Allergies. Hair loss and dry skin - Treating - There can be a number of causes for a dog losing hair. Hair loss and dry skin are common. See a vet to find out the CAUSE of the hair loss, such as hypothyroidism, flea allergies, dust or mite allergies and so on. Hair loss is usually treated with a topical ointment if it's a fungal infection, ringworm, pyotraumatic dermatitis or other forms of dermatitis. Dry skin problems are often associated with hair loss so look at both together with your vet. The vet should look for food allergies or Atopy, Demodectic or sarcoptic mange and so on. Once the SOURCE is determined, you can treat the hair loss and/ or dry skin on the dog effectively, sometimes with medicated shampoos, creams. diet changes, oral medication, disinfecting the house or whatever is needed.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the Scottish Deerhound’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

Other health problems could occur with your Scottish Deerhound. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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