The Scottish Deerhound resembles a large greyhound with a rough coat. He is tall and slim, deep-chested and lithe. As with all sighthounds, the muzzle is long and tapers to a point without much of a stop. The eyes are dark brown or hazel in color. The teeth and lips are level. The ears are small and held close to the head except when alert. Then the ears are semi-pricked. The rough coat is wiry and about 3-4" in length, being slightly longer on the chest and mane area. The hair may be softer on the beard and mustache area. The tail is long and curved, nearly touching the ground. Coat colors may be shades of gray, blue-gray, brindle and black, red fawn, and others. There may be a small amount of white on the chest, toes and tail tip.
The Scottish Deerhound was also known as the Scotch Greyhound, Highland Deerhound, and Rough Greyhound. The Scottish Deerhound is closely related to the Greyhound but the longer rough coat was an adaptation to the colder climate. This is an ancient breed that came to be favored among Scottish nobility. In fact, no one who ranked under an Earl was allowed to own a Deerhound. They were used for hunting deer of a very large variety (up to 250 pounds.) As the number of deer decreased, with the invention of guns, and with the exclusive ownership rights of the nobility, the Scottish Deerhound numbers declined significantly. A breeding program to revive the breed ensued in the 1800s, but the numbers suffered again during the world wars. The Scottish Deerhound continues to be rare. Sir Walter Scott described this breed as "the most perfect creature of Heaven."
The Scottish Deerhound is noble in appearance and demeanor. He is a quiet and dignified in the home but prone to chase things outdoors as that is what he was bred for. Use a leash when not in a securely-fenced area. This dog is excellent with children and very loving and devoted towards his people. This dog will not do well guarding or protecting as he is very gentle and loves everyone. He rarely barks.
Breed Club Links: Scottish Deerhound Club of America
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Photo by Linda Lindt, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.