These large-sized, shaggy-coated sighthounds have a very athletic appearance but are elegant despite their size. They are often described as resembling a shaggy-coated greyhound.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Large dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 8 – 11 years
Weight:  34 – 50kg 
Height:  70 – 82cm 
Colours:  A variety of colours are known, including dark blue-grey, darker or lighter greys, brindles, yellows and red or red fawn with black points, however it is now unusual to find adults in any other colour than grey. Small white patches on toes, chest and tail tip are accepted
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Hound


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 5/5


Gentle and unassumingly friendly, the Deerhound can make an excellent pet if their instincts to chase and hunt are taken into account. Typically a quiet and reserved hound, Deerhounds can be very demonstrative in their affections with family and friends, but not overwhelming or outrageously rude. A gentle sense of humour is to be expected, and adult Deerhounds normally seem to be aware of their size around smaller animals or children and act carefully, although every dog’s personality will be different. As with all large or giant breeds, Deerhounds take several years to mature into calm adults. 

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Scotland

Rough coated or shaggy, tall sighthounds have existed in Scotland for over 500 years, and their original purpose was hunting wolves, rather than deer. As the wolf population reduced, deer became the chosen quarry and the early ancestors were refined into the smaller, more elegant yet still rough coated and robust Deerhound we know today. 

Whilst deer hunting with hounds slowly fell out of popularity and more recently became illegal, the Deerhounds laid-back but noble nature meant they still appealed as pets for those who had the space, and the Victorians were in particular responsible for their survival.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Deerhound

Training Deerhound

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Often mistaken for the Irish Wolfhound, in fact the Deerhound is one of the breeds used to recreate the Irish Wolfhound, along with several other breeds.
  • A Deerhound named Cleod played the role of Padfoot, Sirius Blacks Animagus form in two Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2005) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
  • The Deerhound is an extremely old breed and can be definitively traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries. 
  • Sir Walter Scott owned a Deerhound called Maida who he referred to as “a most perfect creature of heaven”. 
  • Deerhound’s are incredibly skilled at lure coursing and in 1994, a 14-month-old Scottish Deerhound won the inaugural National Lure Coursing Championship. 

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