Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Polite
- Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28 inches & up (female)
- Weight: 85-110 pounds (male), 75-95 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 8-11 years
- Group: Hound Group
The crisply coated Scottish Deerhound, “Royal Dog of Scotland,” is a majestically large coursing hound struck from the ancient Greyhound template. Among the tallest of dog breeds, the Deerhound was bred to stalk the giant wild red deer.
Should be broadest at the ears, narrowing slightly to the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to the nose.The headshould be long, the skull flat rather than round with a very slight rise over the eyes but nothing approaching a stop. Ears: Should be set on high; in repose, folded back like a Greyhound’s, though raised above the head in excitement without losing the fold, and even in some cases semi-erect. A prick ear is bad. Big thick ears hanging flat to the head or heavily coated with long hair are bad faults. The ears should be soft, glossy, like a mouse’s coat to the touch and the smaller the better. There should be no long coat or long fringe, but there is sometimes a silky, silvery coat on the body of the ear and the tip. On all Deerhounds, irrespective of color of coat, the ears should be black or dark colored. Eyes: Should be dark-generally dark brown, brown or hazel. A very light eye is not liked. The eye should be moderately full, with a soft look in repose, but a keen, far away look when the Deerhound is roused. Rims of eyelids should be black.
About the Scottish Deerhound
Stand back: You need a little distance to fully appreciate the majesty of this ancient beast. In silhouette we see a noble coursing hound struck from the classic Greyhound template. Deerhounds are, though, much larger and more substantial than Greyhounds—a good-size male can stand 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh 110 pounds. The crisp coat is seen in several colors; breed aficionados prefer the dark blue-gray coat. The tapered head and long neck add extra lift to an already stately hound.
NUTRITION The Scottish Deerhound should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Because of the risk of bloat, several smaller meals per day are preferable to one large meal, and strenuous exercise is not recommended before or after feeding time.
GROOMING The Scottish Deerhound’s harsh, somewhat wiry coat is very easy to care for, requiring only an all-over brushing and combing every week or so. He will also need a trim of his nails every few weeks if they aren’t worn down naturally. Grooming tools to have on hand include a slicker brush, a fine-toothed metal dog comb, and an electric nail grinder or a pair of heavy-duty dog nail clippers. A occasional bath will help to reduce any doggy odor. Grooming sessions are a good time to inspect the dog all over for any new lumps or skin problems, and to check that the eyes and ears are healthy and trouble free.
EXERCISE Deerhound puppies are difficult to raise to their potential without a companion playmate and a large, securely fenced play area. This breed cannot be left crated in the house while the owner is at work all day if it is to develop properly to adulthood, both physically and mentally. Both puppies and adults need to be able to exercise freely on a daily basis and do what Deerhounds were bred to do—run for the sheer joy of running. Destructive puppies are generally not getting enough exercise. Forced exercise, such as running with a bike, should be avoided with immature hounds. Older Deerhounds are hard to pry off your couch, but they do require regular daily exercise regardless. While nutrition and exercise are key to raising a puppy into a fit, well-muscled adult, the secret to a healthy, long-lived Deerhound (in addition to good genes) is being happy and well exercised. This is not a breed that handles stress well, nor is it a breed that will thrive with just a daily leash-walk around the city block. Fitness should be maintained throughout old age.
TRAINING The most beautiful Deerhound puppy in the world will turn into a wonderful adult only if given lots of gentle human companionship, exercise, and proper nutrition. Deerhounds are sensitive and respond best to positive training methods. They won’t do well in a kennel or left in a crate while their people go to work. While he possesses a quiet and dignified personality in the home, the Scottish Deerhound may try to chase any furry animals that run past him. For that reason, the breed should be exercised on leash or in a fenced area. Although he enjoys his family, his size may be intimidating to smaller children.
HEALTH Like other sighthounds, Deerhounds can be dangerously sensitive to anesthesia and certain drugs. Large and deep-chested breeds are susceptible to bloat, a sudden, life-threatening stomach condition. Owners should learn what signs to look out for, and what to do should it occur. Reputable breeders will screen for health conditions such as cardiac disease and Factor VII deficiency. While nutrition and exercise are key to raising a puppy into a fit, well-muscled adult, the secret to a healthy, long-lived Deerhound (in addition to good genes) is being happy and well exercised. This is not a breed that handles stress well. Nor is it a breed that will thrive with just a daily leash walk around the city block. Fitness should be maintained throughout old age.