The giant Scottish Deerhound coursing joyfully through a field is a glorious sight. This majestic and ancient breed has been prized since at least the 16th century for its endurance, courage, speed, and great skill at bringing down deer. In fact, the ‘Royal Dog of Scotland’ was so highly esteemed that, in early days, ownership was exclusive — no one ranked lower than earl could possess one.
Because of that, the breed almost became extinct. But there’s another reason the Scottish Deerhound is so treasured: his gentleness, dignity, charm, and attachment to his family. Here’s what to know about this magnificent breed:
1. The Scottish Deerhound may have existed before Scottish people themselves.
2. The Deerhound was bred to hunt giant, wild red deer.
Packs of Irish Deerhound would pursue and bring down wild red deer: swift 400-pounders with punishing antlers
3. People often mistake Scottish Deerhounds for Irish Wolfhounds.
4. The Deerhound is one of the largest dog breeds.
A male Deerhound can stand 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh 110 pounds.
5. Research is key to owning this breed
The Scottish Deerhound is a wonderful companion but isn’t for every family. They love to chase, but probably won’t play fetch. They are loyal, but probably won’t bark when a stranger shows up at the door. A typical walk around the block won’t work either — these dogs need to run and need lots of exercise.
6. Their love of the chase makes them a natural at lure coursing.
At the inaugural National Lure Coursing Championship in 1994, a 14-month Scottish Deerhound won. Today, they continue to excel in the sport.
7. Despite their size, Deerhounds are gentle giants
The breed is adaptable, polite, easy-going, and will return an owner’s affection and care. These large dogs can sometimes play rough but do well with children under supervision.
8. Deerhound puppies need plenty of exercise and can’t be crated all day.
Both puppies and adults need to be able to exercise freely on a daily basis and do what Deerhounds were bred to do—run for the sheer joy of running. Destructive puppies are generally not getting enough exercise. While adult Deerhounds tend to love relaxing on the couch, they too need regular exercise. This is not a breed that will thrive with just a daily leash-walk around the city block
9. Sir Walter Scott called the Deerhound the “most perfect creature of heaven”
Sir Walter Scott was a proud Deerhound owner and named his Deerhound Maida, “a most perfect creature of heaven.”