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Scottish Deerhound (Dog Breed Information)

The Scottish Deerhound – The Dog of the Highlands

The Scottish Deerhound is a very rare dog breed. They are very gentle and well-mannered. Pretty docile and ready to please. The SD makes a great family dog as they love people and other animals and are affectionate. They will, however, give chase to smaller animals outside if given the chance due to their high prey drive.

The Scottish Deerhound an extremely big coursing hound that is one of the tallest dog breeds next to the Irish Wolfhound. Deerhounds were bred to take down the giant wild red deer in the Highlands of Scotland. They prefer a colder climate over a warm one.

At A Glance

  • Breed: Scottish Deerhound
  • Breed Group: Hound
  • Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Polite
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -6/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: Scotland

General Information And Breed History

The Scottish Deerhound is a large dog derived from the Greyhound. Part of the hound group, they are a sighthound and were bred for hunting and taking down red deer in the highlands of Scotland. It is said they were in Scotland before the people arrived, but their age is not really known. We guess that they have been around since the 16th century.

Valued by nobles for its ability to taking down the Scottish red deer at least since the 16th century. The Scottish Deerhound was restricted to only those who were ranked an Earl or higher during the Age of Chivalry.   This rough-coated hound hunted red deer namely in the Scottish Highlands where the red deer were plentiful. These dogs were hoarded by Highland Chieftains and this resulted in a decline of the deerhound in the 1700s following the end of the Culloden clan. 

The Scottish Deerhound continued to decline in numbers because rifles were used by the hunter in the 1800s and they replaced coursing.  However, by the mid-1800s a great effort was put in place to replenish the breed, and it was a success, although the numbers were not that high, the quality of the hound was great.   

In England the first Deerhound club was established in the 1860s, the same time the Scottish Hound was entered into dog shows.   World War I almost made this dog obsolete because they were owned by a limited number of people who owned big estates that did not survive the war.  Ever since the numbers of Scottish Hound have been small, but so very high in quality.

General Appearance

The body of the Scottish Hound is similar to that of a Greyhound but is quite larger and big-boned, which helps it run at great speeds of 35mph using double suspension gallop that does not affect strength and endurance.  Their coat is rough and messy looking with a dark grey/blue color. They stand at 32 inches and can weigh up to 110lbs.

They have been confused with the Irish Wolfhound as they have similarities in appearance like the hight, and wiry gray coat. 


Their body is much like that of a Greyhound, but they are much stronger and bigger boned than the Greyhound.  The chest is deep instead of broad, but not too narrow. A good girth of chest indicates great lung power. The loin is well-arched and drops at the tail.  The neck is long just like the Greyhound and incredibly strong for holding deer. Their Shoulders are sloped and blades well back with not a lot of width between them. They have a skull that is long and flat and their ears are small and folded


The Scottish Deerhound has harsh and wiry hair about 3 or 4 inches long on the body, neck and quarters, while it is softer on the head, breast, and belly.  A slight fringe on the inside of the forelegs and hind legs is very common. Ideally, the coat should be thick, and ragged, while being crisp or harsh to the touch.

Legs & Feet

Scottish Deerhounds have broad and flat legs. Their forelegs are straight while the feet are close and compact.

Tail & Hindquarters

The SD’s hindquarters droop a bit is wide and extremely powerful, which is great for chasing down the red deer.  Hips are set wide apart.

 Their tails are long, tapering, and reaching to within 1½ inches of the ground and about 1½ inches below the hocks. 

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 8-11 years
  • Height (at the withers): 
  • Male: 30-32 inches
  • Female: 28 inches & up
  • Male Weight:  85-110 lbs
  • Female Weight: 75-95 lbs

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 35.2inches
  • Door Width: 22.4 inches
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 43.2 inches
  • Interior House Length: 70.4 inches
  • Interior House Width: 44.8 inches

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $ 1,000 – $2,500 USD

Starter Costs: $3,500

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500- $1,000

How The Scottish Deerhound Reacts To


This big dog is affectionate toward everyone, including family, friends, children and even strangers making them a great family dog but not so much a guard dog.  The Scottish Deerhound loves children, especially older children. But do not ever let your child take this dog out for a walk on its own.  Your child will not be able to keep up if this dog decides it sees something it would like to chase being a sighthound and all.

This dog is best suited for homes with older children because they are rather big and can knock over a small child unintentionally  Older children understand how to interact with dogs, while a smaller child might this it is fun to poke, prod and pull at the dog. This dog does not really enjoy this and will walk away from the child. As always never leave a small child and a dog together unsupervised.

Other Dogs:   

The Scottish Deerhound generally gets along really well with other dogs, especially with those that are closer to their size. They can get along with smaller dogs, but they will have to be trained that the smaller dog is a friend, not prey.


Scottish Deerhounds can get along with cat house pets, but if they see them outside then they may give chase. This dog should always be on a leash when taken out for walks.

Other Animals:

SDs get along with other house animals, but like the cat, if they see them outside their hunter instincts may kick in and give chase. Again, this dog should always be on a leash when taken outside.

Care Requirements


Scottish Deerhounds are athletes and therefore, they do require a good amount of exercise. An active family that enjoys jogging or running would be ideal for this breed. A nearby dog park or large backyard can also help to provide the necessary exercise for this active dog.

If you find that your puppy is being disruptive it is due to the fact that it is not getting enough exercise.  Don’t force puppies into running with a bike because it will affect their growing bones since they are not at full maturity.  A good romp in the fenced area is good for puppies, but they need at least an hour of it daily.  

You may find that dog sports is a thing that you and your pup can do together, and why not?  It’s fun and you both get to meet new friends.

Grooming & Coat Info

The Scottish Deerhound’s harsh, wiry coat is easy to care for!  Yes, that’s right, not only is this breed a wonderful family dog, it has a coat that is very low maintenance. The Scottish Deerhound’s coat only needs to be brushed every week or so in order to keep it healthy. A good slicker brush and fine-toothed metal comb are recommended for this breed.

Nails will have to be trimmed as well so that they do not get too long. Long nails can lead to your dog’s discomfort and can interfere with its walking and running.  At least once a month bathing is recommended to keep them healthy and to minimize the typical “dog smell”.

Health & Nutrition

Scottish Deerhounds will do very well on a high-quality dog food diet. Make sure to get your vet’s approval on the food you will be feeding your dog because you want to make sure your dog is eating a proper diet for its age and size. Due to the SD being a large dog, there is risk lof bloat which is a life-threatening issue. It is recommended to feed your dog smaller, but more frequent meals in order to avoid bloat.  No extreme exercise before eating because a full stomach increases the risk of bloat.

Scottish Deerhounds are generally healthy dogs, but there is one major concern with this breed and that is Bloat, owners should be aware of the signs and know what to do if bloat occurs. 


The Scottish Deerhound is harder to train because they take longer to mature. You need to have a lot of patience and give your dog lots of love in order to get good results. Patience is required when training this dog breed. If you do not have patience, then this breed is not the breed for you. They do well with rewards by treats, so you should keep a baggie of treats at the ready.

Recommended Book:

“ Great book to learn more about this magestic dogand wonderful family dog! .”

Christine , 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

How Fast Can The Scottish Deerhound Run?

The Scottish Deerhound is a very large sighthound from Scotland, originally bred for deer hunting. They can reach up to speeds of 35mph, and they excel at lure coursing and other sprinting activities. Dog sports are a great way for the Deerhound to get their required exercise and maybe make new friends.

Are Scottish Deerhounds Known To Be Aggressive?

his dog is not aggressive at all. The SD loves people and gets along well with other animals and because of this, it makes them a great dog for families. Smaller animals, however, may be at risk, that is because this dog is a hunter. Therefore it may want to give chase to smaller animals that it sees while outside. It is recommended to keep this dog breed on a leash when out for a walk. therefore, it is a good idea to keep this dog on a leash at all times when out for a walk.

Is the Scottish Deerhound Ideal As A Family Dog?

The Scottish Deerhound loves being around people. They are great with children, adults and even strangers, therefore, they do make a very good family dog. However, they are best suited for families whose children are past the toddler stage. The Deerhound is a large dog and may accidentally knock over a small child during playtime. These dogs also do not accept poking, prodding or having their tails pulled, therefore it is best to teach a child how to approach a dog, and that playtime is gentle.


  1. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds – D. Caroline Coile Ph. D.
  2. American Kennel Club –
  3. Wikipedia –
  4. The Kennel Club –
  5. The Scottish Deerhound Club of America –

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