Shaggy haired hounds have been known to exist in Scotland since before the 16th century. It is thought that short-coated hounds were introduced to Britain before the Roman invasion. When these hunting dogs were used in the Scottish Highlands they were at a disadvantage because of their short coats. These hounds were then probably crossed with native hairy-coated dogs to get the Deerhound. They were used, in packs, by the Scottish Chieftans to hunt deer and had to be strong enough to pull a stag to the ground. When guns were introduced and the forests began to be cut down in the early 1700’s these dogs were no longer needed. Some were still kept but they did not become popular again until the 1830’s. They have not changed in appearance very much over the centuries and are still relatively few in number today.
These large sized, shaggy coated sighthounds have a very athletic appearance. They are often described as resembling a shaggy coated greyhound.
They came in a variety of colours, more commonly seen in self-colours such as dark blue/grey, dark or light grey, brindle and yellow, sandy/red or red/fawn, some may have limited white.
Dogs should measure over 76cms at the withers and ideally weigh about 45.5kgs. Bitches should ideally measure over 71cms at the withers and weigh about 36.5kgs.
In general the Deerhound is a relatively healthy dog with bloat being one of the main causes of death. It is important that as puppies they are fed the correct diet to ensure the bones and joints form properly thus preventing any future problems. Breeders are now screening their stock for liver shunt problems, so it is advisable to purchase a puppy from screened stock.
The Deerhound is a member of the hound group. They were originally bred for hunting deer; today they are companions.
Diet should be monitored as this dog grows rapidly as a puppy. The breeder will be able to advise on the correct diet in the correct amounts. It is recommended that the adult dog is feed twice daily, rather than one large meal once a day. They also need an adequate diet as they have high activity levels.
The Deerhound is a gentle, intelligent, friendly dog. They get on well with children but do not make particularly good guard dogs; they are not known to bark a lot. Most Deerhounds still have a very strong instinct to hunt so early introduction to other household pets, especially cats, is necessary.
The Deerhound is an intelligent dog that will learn quickly what is wanted and expected of it. They are obedient and eager to please and will acknowledge gentle and calm commands.
Suitability for Children
Overall Exercise Requirement
As puppies the Deerhound should be restricted in its activities. They do require lots of exercise and need to be fed an adequate diet as a result. They love to run free and several short walks each day are not enough for this athletic hound.
Suitability as a Guard Dog
Ease of Transportation
Other Animal Compatibility
They do need regular grooming at least once a week. The coat may need to be hand plucked once or twice a year depending on its condition.