At this year’s National Dog Show, the winner was Claire, a lovely Scottish Deerhound. Up until her win, I personally had no idea that Scottish Deerhound was a breed! This large, regal breed is similar to the Irish Wolfhound in many ways but still remains a distinct breed. Scottish Deerhounds are known as the ‘Royal Dog of Scotland’ and have historically been used by hunters as sighthounds.
Scottish Deerhounds are gentle, dignified giants. They often stand 28-32 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 75-110 pounds! Their large stature helps them stalk the giant red deer of Scotland, a reason why the breed came about and why they’re called Scottish Deerhounds. The actual origin of the breed is a bit murky, with truth and legend intertwining because of how old the breed is. It is known that they were used to hunt and take down deer in the Scottish Highlands starting in the 16th century. While the breed is old and cherished by some, there were several times throughout history when it was nearly lost, including during the first world war. Scottish Deerhounds are still a fairly uncommon breed but was registered and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886!
While Scottish Deerhounds are incredibly friendly and affectionate, these dogs aren’t great for novice owners or apartment dwellers. Their large size and energic nature could make a small home difficult and their intense prey drive and wanderlust potential means training is very important. Their size and playfulness might make it hard for them to be around small children/toddlers but mostly because they might not be aware of their size and can easily knock a small child over without meaning to.
In addition to exercise, enrichment, and training, these dogs will need regular grooming and vet care like any other breed. Their coat colors include dark blue-gray, light gray, brindle, yellow, sandy red, and red fawn. They don’t shed a lot but weekly brushing and the occasional bath will keep their coats healthy. They’re also prone to health problems like osteosarcoma (bone tumors), kidney and bladder stones, and hip dysplasia. Regular trips to the vet and a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference.
Scottish Deerhounds do look really similar to Irish Wolfhounds but there are differences between the two breeds. Irish wolfhounds are generally taller and more muscular with a long, slightly curved tail and double coat. Scottish Deerhounds are slightly shorter, with a more Greyhound like structure and their tails are long and tapered, to the point that it almost reaches the ground. Their faces and ears are different as well! Irish wolfhounds have ‘small and Greyhound like’ ears while the Scottish Deerhound’s ears are high set and folded back, although they can be raised when excited.
Ultimately, these dogs can be great companions if you’d like an affectionate running partner! These large dogs can be fantastic and loving but also love to do what they want to do. While they’re great family dogs, they shouldn’t be left alone for small children.
Do you have a Scottish Deerhound?