Dog Breeds Dogs

Deerhound in breed portrait

Deerhound dog breed image


Origin Scotland Life expectancy indefinite
FCI standard FCI Group 10: Greyhounds function Family dogs
size Large breeds of dogs Common diseases No
Weight 36 – 46 KG Fur length wire-haired, shaggy
Character / essence Sight hunter and gentle friend Coat color dark blue-gray, gray or brindle, yellow

1. Deerhound – Origin and breed history

The Deerhound or Scottish Deerhound is one of the oldest and finest dog breeds in the world. He is an impressive greyhound and hunting dog.

Together with his cousin, the somewhat larger Irish Wolfhound , he shows a distinctive, very impressive type of dog. He has the build of a large, very powerful Greyhound and at the same time a rough, shaggy coat.

As his name suggests, he was the hunting dog of the Scottish aristocracy for deer. The Deerhound always had to be fast, brave and strong enough to attack a full-grown stag and at least stop it until the hunter killed it with the lance.

The Deerhound also hunted other game such as elk and wild boar for the high nobility. The hunts took place in the rugged Scottish highlands. The dogs had to be fast, strong, persistent and at the same time extremely robust and resilient. So they were later used to exterminate wolves.

New firearms made it possible to kill deer from a distance without any problems. With the decline of the classic hunt of the high nobility and the new weapons, the Deerhound lost its importance and was ultimately almost lost.

British dog lovers, like the great painter Edwin Landseer, were committed to its preservation after 1800. Fortunately, that worked very well.

A team of geneticists led by Heidi Parker confirmed in genetic studies from 2017 that the Deerhound is closely related to the Irish Wolfhound.

Even today the Deerhound shines through its appearance, the conditions of antiquity and the Middle Ages in the Highlands.

There are few more impressive dogs. In Germany they first appeared in the 1920s, but then disappeared again. They have also found a permanent place in Germany since the 1970s.

The German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association looks after these greyhounds and enables them to pursue their favorite hobby, coursing. Between 60 and 100 puppies fall under the umbrella of the VDH each year.

2. Description

The Deerhound has the typical build of a large greyhound . Over it he wears his distinctive, rough, wiry, moisture-repellent coat.

The official standard describes its appearance as follows:

“The Deerhound resembles a wire-haired Greyhound of larger dimensions and stronger bones. The physique gives the impression of a unique combination of speed, strength and endurance, which are required to tear down a deer; nevertheless, his general attitude is characterized by noble dignity. “

With a height at the withers of 71 centimeters for bitches and 79 for dogs, they have an impressive appearance. Bitches should weigh around 36 kilograms, males around 45 kilograms. Otherwise applies to the coat:

“Shaggy, but not too much hair. Woolly hair not allowed. The correct coat is dense, close fitting, shaggy, feels harsh or stiff. Harsh and wiry on the trunk, neck and hindquarters, about 7-10 cm long; much softer on the head, chest and stomach. Slight fringe on the inside of the front and rear legs. “

It should be about 7 to 10 centimeters long. Dark blue-gray, gray or brindle and yellow are permitted. White spots are undesirable.

Unfortunately, it has become common practice at shows that dogs should show at least 10% additional height at the withers. Such a tendency to gigantism is detrimental to the health of dogs and makes the difficult growth phase even more difficult.

3. Character and essence

The Deerhound is a greyhound and a hunting dog. But it is much more than that.

He is a sensitive friend who absolutely needs a close connection to his human family. He shows a high level of empathy and adaptability to his people.

This strong and fast hunter is extremely gentle, calm and free from any aggressiveness towards his people – what a fascination.

He is gracious and patient with children. He always shows a certain pride. Because of his intelligence and sensitivity, he notices every unjust treatment. It hurts him.

The Deerhound is an extremely pleasant companion and easy to guide. It is also an ideal companion for equestrian sports or jogging.

In view of his hunting disposition, this requires a good upbringing and close ties to his master, who should be able to call him up at any time.

Walking through nature with these dogs is an incomparable experience. A Deerhound that has its natural abilities to run makes a great companion and family dog. 

For a harmonious coexistence it is therefore important that the Deerhound can meet its elementary needs. This includes running, ideally chasing after a dummy rabbit while coursing.

The official standard describes its character as follows:

“Gentle and kind. Obedient and easy to raise as he seeks to please. Docile and balanced, never suspicious, aggressive or shy. Shows himself with calm dignity. “

4. Attitude

The biggest challenge in keeping a Deerhound is the growth phase. For this it is essential to have expert guidance so as not to overstrain or understrain him physically and to determine the amount and quality of his feed correctly. Once this phase has been mastered, the big greyhound is extremely robust and adaptable.

It can be kept indoors or outdoors. Unconditional requirements are:

  • He needs a close connection to his people
  • regular exercise

If you can meet his needs as a greyhound who just wants to run every day and you want to get involved with his special nature, you will experience a wonderful, unique, wonderful piece of the thousand-year-old partnership between man and dog. You can also enjoy the rustic elegance and enormous speed of your Deerhound.

Make sure you look for a connection to the German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association , which also offers species-appropriate opportunities for exercise, especially for coursing. Ideally, the greyhound sport is or becomes a passion for you. If you have the opportunity to live together with one or more Deerhounds in a species-appropriate manner, it is a great experience and happiness.

Recommended Reading:

5. Upbringing

The Deerhound is very trainable. The basis is a close relationship of trust with master and mistress. The Deerhound wants the guidance of its people.

With submission one can only break this proud and sensitive dog. A good upbringing also gives him freedom so that he can walk with you through nature without a leash.

Always keep an eye out for game yourself so that you can put your Deerhound on a leash in case of doubt.

6. Care and health

The adult Deerhound is an easy-care dog. Regular brushing is enough.

Diseases typical of the breed

Adult Deerhounds are a tough breed of dog.

7. Nutrition / feed

Deerhounds need a high quality and varied diet. Especially in the growth phase is an expert guide essential.

8. Life expectancy

The life expectancy of a Deerhound is difficult to measure. There are specimens that can only last six years, while others can reach 12 or more years with the best fit.

9. Purchase

Do you want to live with the Deerhound? First, check if you have the opportunity to let this greyhound run free on a regular basis.

Ideally, you enjoy coursing.

Preferably buy your puppy from a breeder who is affiliated with the German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association. The costs of Deerhound are around 2,500 euros.


Leave a Comment