Discover the Scottish Deerhound: Gentle Giant & Loyal Companion

August 24, 2023

If you're looking for a dog that is both gentle and imposing, the Scottish Deerhound may be the perfect fit for you. This ancient breed has been favored by Scottish nobility for centuries and is renowned for its loyalty and affectionate nature.

While the Scottish Deerhound may appear intimidating due to its size and history as a sighthound, it is actually quite gentle and sociable. Its unique appearance and characteristics make it an excellent choice for families looking for a loyal companion.

closeup of a Scottish Deerhound

Key Takeaways:

  • The Scottish Deerhound is a gentle and loyal dog breed
  • It has a unique appearance and history as a sighthound in Scotland
  • The Scottish Deerhound is great with children and other pets

Scottish Deerhound Breed Overview

The Scottish Deerhound is an ancient breed that originated in Scotland, where it was developed as a sighthound for hunting deer. It is a large breed, standing up to 32 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 75 and 110 pounds. It has a long, narrow head, and a shaggy coat that comes in a variety of colors including brindle, blue, fawn, and gray.

The Deerhound is a Scottish sighthound and is one of the tallest sighthounds. They are known for their powerful speed and athletic ability, making them a popular breed for lure coursing competitions. Despite their size and strength, they are gentle and affectionate dogs that make fantastic family pets.

Scottish Deerhound Temperament and Personality

The Scottish Deerhound is renowned for its gentle, affectionate, and loyal personality, making it an excellent family pet. They are famously known as "gentle giants" due to their large size and gentle nature. They adore human companionship and thrive on being close to their owners.

They are incredibly loyal to their family and form strong bonds with their owners. Scottish Deerhounds are not aggressive dogs and tend to be friendly with everyone they meet, including strangers. However, they can be wary of unfamiliar people if they sense a threat to their family.


Their temperament is what makes them stand out among other breeds. Scottish Deerhounds are docile, patient, and very good with children. They have a gentle nature and are not known to be aggressive. They are sensitive dogs and do not respond well to harsh treatment or training methods. Owners must use positive reinforcement techniques to train them effectively.


The Scottish Deerhound is a sensitive dog that thrives on attention and love. They enjoy playing and running around in the yard but also love cuddling with their owners. They can be quite lazy and will enjoy lounging around the house if given the opportunity. However, it is important to ensure they get enough exercise to maintain their health and wellbeing.

"Scottish Deerhounds are docile, patient, and very good with children. They have a gentle nature and are not known to be aggressive."

It is worth noting that while the Scottish Deerhound is very loving and affectionate, they are also independent dogs. They don't need constant attention and can happily entertain themselves if left alone, but they do require companionship and interaction with their owners.

Deerhound Care and Grooming

Scottish Deerhounds have a wiry coat that requires regular maintenance to keep it healthy and looking its best. Brushing your Deerhound's coat at least once a week will help remove any tangles or mats. You can also trim any longer hairs around the ears or feet to help prevent dirt and debris from accumulating.

Bathing your Scottish Deerhound as needed is important to maintain their coat's condition. However, be sure not to overdo it, as frequent bathing can strip their coat of natural oils. Additionally, their large size may make bathing a bit challenging, so it is recommended to use a bathtub or walk-in shower.

ExerciseNutritionVeterinary Care
Exercise is key to a Scottish Deerhound's health and happiness. They require regular and intense activity, including long walks and off-leash running. A safely fenced yard is essential to providing them with the space they need to run and play.A high-quality, protein-rich diet is important for keeping your Scottish Deerhound healthy. Be sure to feed them an appropriate amount of food according to their weight and age, and avoid giving them table scraps or excessive treats.Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor your Scottish Deerhound's health and catch any potential problems early on. Be sure to keep up to date with vaccinations and preventative measures, such as heartworm medication.

Scottish Deerhounds are generally a healthy breed, but some potential health concerns include bloat, heart issues, and bone problems. By providing proper exercise, nutrition, and veterinary care, you can help keep your Deerhound in top condition.

Training a Scottish Deerhound

Training a Scottish Deerhound can be a delightful experience, as these dogs are intelligent, responsive, and eager to please. However, like all dogs, they need consistent and patient guidance to learn the ropes.

Start with basic obedience training, such as teaching your Deerhound to come, sit, stay, and walk on a leash. Use positive reinforcement methods, such as praise, treats, and toys, to reward good behavior and motivate your dog to learn.


Socialization is also critical for a Scottish Deerhound, as they can be quite sensitive and reserved around strangers if not properly exposed to different people and situations.

Expose your Deerhound to a variety of environments, textures, sounds, and people, including children and other animals. Take them on regular outings to the park or other dog-friendly areas to promote their social skills and confidence.

Advanced Training

Once your Scottish Deerhound has mastered basic obedience, you can move on to more advanced training, such as agility, tracking, or obedience competitions. These activities can provide mental stimulation and physical exercise, as well as a sense of accomplishment for both you and your dog.

Keep in mind that Scottish Deerhounds have a strong prey drive, so be cautious when introducing them to small animals or off-leash areas.

Living with a Scottish Deerhound: Family and Home Compatibility

The Scottish Deerhound is a gentle giant that makes a wonderful family pet. Their affectionate nature and loyalty make them excellent companions for children and adults alike. However, it's important to consider the size of this breed when living in a smaller home or apartment.

Due to their sighthound instincts, Scottish Deerhounds may have a high prey drive towards smaller animals. It's important to supervise interactions with other pets in the home and socialize them early on to prevent any potential issues.

Scottish Deerhound Exercise and Activity Needs

Scottish Deerhounds are an active breed that require plenty of exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. As sighthounds, they have a natural instinct to chase prey and will enjoy the opportunity to run and play.

Owners should aim to provide their Scottish Deerhounds with at least one hour of exercise per day, which could include brisk walks or runs in a safe, enclosed area. Off-leash running is ideal for this breed, but it should only be done in a secure and supervised location due to their strong prey drive.

In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation is also important for Scottish Deerhounds. Activities such as obedience training, agility, and tracking can help keep their minds active and engaged. Puzzle toys and interactive games can also provide mental stimulation when outdoor exercise is not an option.

Scottish Deerhound Health Concerns

As with all breeds, Scottish Deerhounds are prone to certain health issues. It's important to be aware of these potential concerns so that you can take preventive measures and seek appropriate treatment if necessary.

One of the most common issues with Scottish Deerhounds is bloat, also known as gastric torsion. This occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, potentially cutting off blood flow to the organs and causing a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms of bloat include a distended abdomen, restlessness, drooling, and vomiting. To reduce the risk of bloat, feed your Deerhound multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal, avoid exercise or vigorous activity immediately before or after meals, and consider a slow-feed bowl that slows down eating.

Scottish Deerhounds are also prone to certain heart issues, particularly dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This is a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and weakened, leading to heart failure over time. Symptoms of DCM include lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Regular veterinary check-ups can help catch DCM early and potentially delay its progression.

Other potential health concerns to be aware of in Scottish Deerhounds include bone cancer, hip dysplasia, and eye issues such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Maintaining regular veterinary care and staying up-to-date on recommended screenings can help catch and manage these conditions.

Working closely with a reputable breeder or rescue organization can also help ensure that your Scottish Deerhound is as healthy as possible from the start. Ask about health clearances and history before adopting or purchasing a Deerhound, and be prepared to provide ongoing care and attention to their health needs.

Socializing a Scottish Deerhound

Socializing a Scottish Deerhound is essential to ensuring they become well-rounded and adaptable dogs. These gentle giants can grow to be quite large, so it's important to introduce them to a variety of people, places, and experiences early on to help them feel comfortable and confident in any situation.

Begin socializing your Scottish Deerhound puppy as soon as possible. Introduce them to new people, including children and adults, and other animals, such as other dogs, cats, and small pets. Take your puppy on outings to new places, such as parks, pet stores, and other public areas, to help them become accustomed to different environments and stimuli.

Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior during socialization, rewarding your puppy for calm and friendly interactions with people and animals. Avoid overwhelming your puppy with too much stimulation at once, as this can be intimidating and counterproductive to the socialization process.

Finding a Scottish Deerhound Puppy or Rescue

If you've decided that the Scottish Deerhound is the perfect breed for you, you may be wondering where to find a puppy or adopt a rescue.

Finding a Puppy

A great place to start is the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, which has a breeder referral program that can connect you with reputable breeders in your area. It's important to find a breeder who health tests their dogs and is knowledgeable about the breed.

When you visit a breeder, be prepared to ask questions about the puppy's parents, health history, and temperament. A responsible breeder will want to ensure that their puppies are going to good homes and may ask you questions as well.

If you're open to adoption, you can also check with breed-specific rescues. While Scottish Deerhounds may not be as common as other breeds, there are still rescue organizations that specialize in placing them in loving homes.

Choosing a Rescue

If you're considering adopting a Scottish Deerhound from a rescue, be sure to do your research. Ask about the dog's background and temperament, and spend time with them to get a feel for their personality. Some rescues may require a home check or reference checks before you can adopt.

It's important to remember that some rescue dogs may have special needs or require extra care, so be prepared to provide any necessary accommodations.

Whether you choose to adopt or purchase a puppy, always remember to provide plenty of love and attention to your new Scottish Deerhound companion.

Scottish Deerhound in the Show Ring

The Scottish Deerhound's regal appearance and graceful movements make them an impressive sight in the show ring. As a member of the sighthound group, they are judged on their ability to hunt by sight and their adherence to the breed standard in terms of physical appearance.

In dog shows, Scottish Deerhounds are evaluated on their gait and overall structure, including the length and shape of their head, their coat texture and color, and their height and weight. Judges also consider the dog's temperament and overall impression, looking for traits such as alertness, intelligence, and trainability.

Scottish Deerhounds have achieved notable success in dog shows, including multiple Best in Show awards and recognition for their impressive agility and speed. Their beauty and athleticism make them a popular choice among show exhibitors and enthusiasts alike.

Scottish Deerhound laying in the grass

Famous Scottish Deerhounds

The Scottish Deerhound has been a beloved companion of many famous individuals throughout history. Among them is Sir Walter Scott, the esteemed Scottish novelist and poet, who was known for his love of the breed.

The breed has also made appearances in popular culture. In the Harry Potter series, Hagrid's loyal companion Fang is said to be a boarhound, which is believed to be a reference to the Scottish Deerhound. The breed has also appeared in Disney's animated feature "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" as a loyal ally to the Dalmatians.

Perhaps the most famous Scottish Deerhound of all is the beloved dog "Bran" from the television series "Game of Thrones". Bran's companion Hodor often rode on his back as they journeyed across the vast landscape of Westeros.

These examples serve to highlight the breed's enduring popularity and the affection that people have for these gentle giants.

Scottish Deerhound and Other Animals

The Scottish Deerhound is generally friendly and gentle with other animals, including dogs and cats. However, it's important to socialize them from a young age to prevent any potential issues with other pets. While their prey drive is not as high as some other sighthound breeds, they may chase smaller animals, so it's important to supervise them around rabbits, rodents, and other small creatures.

When introducing a Scottish Deerhound to other animals, it's best to do so gradually and in a controlled environment. Start with short introductions, gradually increasing the time spent together as the animals become more comfortable around each other. Always supervise their interactions to ensure everyone's safety and well-being.

If you have a small pet, such as a guinea pig or hamster, it's important to keep them secure and out of reach from your Scottish Deerhound. Additionally, it's important to teach your Deerhound appropriate play behavior with other dogs and avoid any aggressive or rough play that may cause harm to the other dog.

Scottish Deerhound as Therapy and Assistance Dogs

The Scottish Deerhound's calm and gentle nature makes them excellent candidates for therapy and assistance work. Their big hearts and intuitive nature make them ideal companions for individuals in need.

Scottish Deerhounds can be trained to work with individuals, such as those with disabilities or mental health conditions, to help them manage symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. These noble creatures excel in a variety of roles, including emotional support animals, therapy dogs, and service animals.

As therapy dogs, Scottish Deerhounds provide comfort and support to individuals in stressful and difficult situations. They can visit hospitals, nursing homes, or schools to help reduce anxiety and bring a sense of calm to those in need.

Scottish Deerhounds can also serve as assistance dogs, helping individuals with mobility or sensory issues. Their intelligence and willingness to learn make them ideal candidates for tasks such as opening doors, retrieving objects, or even alerting their owners to potential danger.

Overall, the Scottish Deerhound's gentle nature and strong intuition make them excellent candidates for therapy and assistance work. Their big hearts and calming presence can truly make a difference in the lives of those they work with.

Scottish Deerhound Clubs and Resources

There are many resources available for Scottish Deerhound owners and enthusiasts, including breed-specific organizations, online communities, and educational materials. These resources can provide valuable support and information for those interested in the breed.

Scottish Deerhound Club of America

The Scottish Deerhound Club of America is the official breed club for Scottish Deerhounds in the United States. The club is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the breed, and provides education, resources, and events for members. Their website offers a wealth of information on the breed, including breed history, health concerns, and finding a reputable breeder.

Scottish Deerhound Club UK

The Scottish Deerhound Club UK is the breed club for Scottish Deerhounds in the United Kingdom. The club is dedicated to the welfare and promotion of the breed, and provides resources, events, and socialization opportunities for members. Their website offers information on breed standards, health concerns, and rescue organizations.

Online Communities

There are several online communities dedicated to Scottish Deerhounds, offering a place for owners and enthusiasts to connect, share information, and seek support. These communities include Facebook groups, subreddits, and online forums, and can be a valuable resource for those looking to learn more about the breed and connect with others.

Educational Materials

There are also many educational materials available on Scottish Deerhounds, including books, articles, and online resources. These materials can provide valuable information on the breed's history, temperament, health concerns, and training needs, and can be a helpful source of guidance for owners and enthusiasts.


After learning about the Scottish Deerhound, it's hard not to fall in love with these gentle giants. Their loyal and affectionate nature makes them a perfect addition to any family, and their unique history and physical characteristics make them a fascinating breed to own and care for.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into the Scottish Deerhound breed. From their temperament and care needs to their potential as therapy and assistance dogs, there are many reasons to consider a Scottish Deerhound as your next furry companion.

If you're interested in learning more or connecting with other Scottish Deerhound owners and enthusiasts, there are many resources available, including breed-specific organizations and online communities. By joining these groups, you can gain valuable information and share experiences with others who adore the breed as much as you do.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope it has been informative and helpful in your search for the perfect four-legged friend.


Q: What is a Scottish Deerhound?

A: A Scottish Deerhound is a large breed of dog known for its gentle nature and loyalty. It is a sighthound that originated in Scotland and is often referred to as a "gentle giant."

Q: What are the characteristics of a Scottish Deerhound?

A: Scottish Deerhounds are known for their large size, athletic build, and long, wiry coat. They have a dignified and noble appearance.

Q: Are Scottish Deerhounds good with children?

A: Yes, Scottish Deerhounds are generally good with children. They are gentle and patient, making them suitable companions for families.

Q: Do Scottish Deerhounds get along with other pets?

A: Scottish Deerhounds can get along well with other pets if properly socialized. However, their hunting instincts may make them less compatible with smaller animals such as cats or small rodents.

Q: How much exercise does a Scottish Deerhound need?

A: Scottish Deerhounds are an active breed and require regular exercise. They enjoy long walks, running in a secure area, and engaging in activities that stimulate both their mind and body.

Q: What are common health concerns for Scottish Deerhounds?

A: Some common health concerns for Scottish Deerhounds include bloat, heart issues, and bone problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive measures can help maintain their overall health.

Q: How do I find a Scottish Deerhound puppy or rescue?

A: To find a Scottish Deerhound puppy, you can research reputable breeders who specialize in the breed. Alternatively, you can consider adopting from a rescue organization that focuses on Scottish Deerhounds.

Q: Can Scottish Deerhounds be trained?

A: Yes, Scottish Deerhounds are intelligent and trainable. Positive reinforcement methods and early socialization are key to their training success.

Q: Are Scottish Deerhounds suitable as therapy or assistance dogs?

A: Scottish Deerhounds have the potential to excel as therapy or assistance dogs due to their calm and gentle nature. Their size and temperament make them suited for these roles.

Q: Are there any famous Scottish Deerhounds?

A: Yes, there are several famous Scottish Deerhounds throughout history and popular culture, known for their achievements or roles they played.

Q: Are there resources available for Scottish Deerhound owners?

A: Yes, there are Scottish Deerhound clubs and resources available, including breed-specific organizations, online communities, and educational materials for owners and enthusiasts.

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