History & Overview
Deerhounds are adaptable to all sorts of lives and conditions. Though large, they are neat, and many live in small houses with no trouble. Deerhounds are friendly and gentle to everyone.
Scottish deerhounds were owned only by nobility in Scotland during the Middle Ages and were used to course deer. It hunts primarily by sight and owes its origin to the Greyhound. It is sometimes confused with Irish Wolfhound. However, there is a substantial difference between these two breeds. In the UK it is simply called Deerhounds.
This breed is one of the most undemanding and obedient dog breeds. Although this large, powerful animal can adjust to city life, it is better off in suburban and rural settings where they have room to exercise and stretch their long graceful legs. In general, 10 to 11 years is a good lifespan for a Deerhound, but there some who do not make it into double digits.
Keen in the field, the Scottish Deerhound is gentle and friendly, easy to train and eager to please. Docile and good-tempered, never suspicious, aggressive or nervous, he carries himself with quiet dignity. Deerhounds usually get along with other dogs, but will chase cats, and, given a chance, may even kill them. These dogs are generally tolerant animals, and most of them enjoy the company of children, especially if they have been sensibly introduced while the dog is still young. However, the limits of their patience should never be put to the test. Never let your children play with these large dogs unsupervised.
Deerhounds are very large: For dogs the minimum height at withers is 30 inches and weigh between 85 to 110 pounds.
The coat is thick, close-lying, ragged, and harsh or crisp to the touch. The hair on body, neck and quarters are harsh and wiry (about 3 inches long); that on head, breast and belly is much softer. There is a slight hairy fringe on inside of fore- and hindlegs. The color is dark blue-grey. A white chest, white toes and a slight white tip to stern are permissible but the less white, the better, since it is a self-colored dog.
When considering ownership of a Scottish Deerhound, it is essential to bear in mind that this powerful dog has enough power and endurance to pull down a stag. Make sure that your family situation and home environment are suitable for a dog of this size and power.
These dogs can move with great speed. Remember this when exercising your dog off-leash. Always exercise your dog in a secure area. Although trainable, the Deerhound is still a sighthound with strong hunting instincts. Young hounds should never be overexercised until their period of fastest growth is complete, but an adult can readily cope with several miles a day.
Known Health Risks
Compared with other breeds, the Deerhound is a healthy breed. Anesthesia is one of the various medications to which they are sensitive. Additionally, flea prevention, wormers and some antibiotics may cause fatal reactions in these dogs. Scottish Deerhounds have the highest blood pressure among the sighthound breeds. In some cases, dogs with high blood pressure suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart problem in which the heart muscle becomes feeble. All litters should be tested for liver shunt to detect any affected puppies.