Scottish Deerhounds look like someone crossed a Greyhound with your grandpa. (Hairy ears and all!) It's not hard to picture these stately beasts galumphing across the Highland's misty moors in times of yore. But this dog also shares your grandpa's wacky sense of humor — though a Scottish Deerhound's idea of a joke is less “pull my finger” and more “huh, I don't know how those teeth marks got on your slippers. I bet the cat did it. Let's find her and suggest she take a good long look at herself and her choices.”
Originally from — you guessed it — Scotland, this large-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 75-110 pounds and lives an average of 8-11 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Coursing
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 8-11 years
Size: Extra Large
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 127
FAMILY sighthound, Southern (sighthound)
AREA OF ORIGIN Scotland
DATE OF ORIGIN Middle Ages
ORIGINAL FUNCTION coursing stag
TODAY'S FUNCTION lure coursing
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 30-32 Weight: 85-110
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: >28 Weight: 75-95
OTHER NAME deerhound
Energy level Low energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Not very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability Low
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SCOTTISH DEERHOUND'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, dignified, and polite dogs when they're not getting into mischief. They're nuzzle-y and nappish when at home with you, and love to be in a full-out gallop outdoors. This breed doesn't mind well-mannered children, but they're not especially playful, and should be supervised around little ones. Unlike that other famous Highlander (of which there could be only one), the Scottish Deerhound does best in a home with canine playmates to keep her company.
WHAT IS SCOTTISH DEERHOUND BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Your Scottish Deerhound wants to chase after any and all cats, squirrels, and (of course) deer who cross her path. Equal parts acceleration and poor impulse control, this dog is all about bursts of incredible speed over long distances and extended snuggly naps with you after. You'll need a lot of fenced-in space to make sure this active breed has enough room to run and roam. This is not a dog you can crate all day while you're at work.
Deerhound puppies play “ruff,” and are sometimes a bit overly exuberant for dog parks.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SCOTTISH DEERHOUND?
This breed definitely knows her own mind, so training can be a bit of a challenge. They are smart and perceptive, though — it just requires patience and consistency on your part. It's especially important to discourage your Scottish Deerhound from jumping up on folks — these dogs are just behind Irish Wolfhounds in height. Face kisses are adorable when they're little, but six feet of affectionate adult canine in your face is going to be a lot.
Scottish Deerhounds never outgrow their prey drive; yours will never be too old to think she should find out where that chipmunk is going at top speed. For this reason, this breed is not a good candidate for off-leash play outside a well-fenced area. And we mean well fenced: a Scottish Deerhound will dash right through an underground electronic barrier before you can say “haud yer wheest.”
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SCOTTISH DEERHOUNDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
A Scottish Deerhound's crisp, wiry coat sheds seasonally. Brush and bathe this easy keeper as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SCOTTISH DEERHOUNDS HAVE?
As a breed, Scottish Deerhounds are generally healthy. Some are prone to cardiac disease or blood-clotting disorders. This breed is also sometimes sensitive to certain drugs or anesthesia and may have serious issues with bloat, neck pain, allergies, and cystinuria.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE SCOTTISH DEERHOUNDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Scottish Deerhounds among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Scottish Deerhound!
WHAT IS A SCOTTISH DEERHOUND'S BEST DAY?
A Scottish Deerhound's best day involves a wide-open, traffic-free space to run through until she just can't chase another squirrel. (Mind you, to get her back, you may be better using an enclosed field.) Take her home for a peanut butter cookie and a couch nap, and she's golden.
SHOULD I ADOPT A SCOTTISH DEERHOUND?
These dogs don't mind the cold, but they get a bit droopy in the heat. They won't need much grooming, but your Scottish Deerhound is definitely an outlander: she wants to be outside, preferably with you, as much as possible. If you have the space and time to ensure this hound gets enough mental and physical activity, she could be your true-blue canine companion for life.
Have you decided that a Scottish Deerhound is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.