The Scottish Staghound (better known as the Deerhound) has been used to hunt deer for centuries and has changed little over time. Despite its size and strong build, the greyhound is agile and graceful in movement. Deerhounds are eager to please their master and are easy to train – you can find out here what to look out for if you want to keep one of the noble giants.
Large, Raised, and Robust
Scottish Deerhounds resemble their fellow greyhounds in many ways, but as the Irish Greyhound, they are significantly larger than most other sighthound breeds. According to the FCI breed standard, males should reach a height at the withers of at least 76 cm, for bitches a minimum height of 71 cm is prescribed. Despite their imposing size, the dogs are slim and relatively light: males should weigh about 45.5 kg, and females should ideally weigh 36.5 cm.
The Scottish Deerhound from head to tail
- Head: The skull is long and flat, a stop is not discernible. The nose is slightly bent down and the head tapers towards the muzzle. The head has moderately long hair, and the structure of the hair is somewhat softer than on the body.
- Nose and muzzle: The muzzle tapers more than the head, giving the head a long wedge shape. The nose should be black in all coat colors. The bite is strong and very straight (scissor bite).
- Eyes: Framed by medium-length, mostly slightly lightened hair (eyebrows), which creates a gentle expression. The iris should be dark brown or hazel, the lids are black in color.
- Ears: The ears are small, pointed, and folded back. When excited, they can be put forward. Prick ears occur but are not allowed in inbreeding. In addition, the ears should be set as far back on the head as possible.
- Neck: The strong neck is relatively long, visibly tapering towards the head, and does not form a dewlap. Striking is the pronounced neck, which clearly protrudes behind the head (similar to that of a deer).
- Body: Deerhounds look like oversized greyhounds. The bones are slightly stronger and the physique indicates strength and endurance (that of the greyhound is geared more towards speed). The ribs should not be too narrow and the hips should be wide apart.
- Legs: Forelegs should be wide, strong, and straight with well-laid shoulders. The bones on the long hind legs are oval in shape. Overall the legs are long and muscular with low hocks and strong paws.
- Tail: The long tail is set high and reaches almost to the ground. It is covered with rough fringes that can form a narrow flag on the bottom. Even when very excited, the tail is not carried over the back (no curling up).
Deerhound Coat and Colors: Are Deerhounds Always Gray?
The Deerhound’s shaggy and rough hair reaches 8 to 10 cm in length on the back, sides, and chest. The hair on the belly and the inside of the legs are less bristly. Blue-grey and varying shades of dark gray to light gray are the most common. However, far more monochromatic coat colors are permitted for breeding:
- Yellow (usually with dark ears).
- Red (sandy to tan) with a black mask, tail, and legs.
- White markings on the chest, paws, and tip of the tail are acceptable but solid-colored
dogs are preferred in the breed.
Deerhounds and similar sighthounds: how to recognize deerhounds?
- Irish Wolfhound: The Irish Wolfhound is closely related to the Deerhound but slightly taller (minimum height for males is 79 cm, for females is 71 cm).
- Greyhound: The greyhound is smaller than the deerhound and comes in a variety of colorings. He wears short or medium-length fur.
- American Staghound: Unrecognized hybrid breed of Deerhound, Greyhound, and Irish Wolfhound. The face and chest are usually light in color.
- Longdog: General terms for hybrid dogs that are crossed from two different sighthound breeds.
- Lurcher: General term for hybrid dogs in which one parent is a sighthound and the other is a herding dog or large terrier.
- Borzoi and Silken Windhound: The breeds are similar in build to the Deerhound (although the Silken Windhound is smaller). The fur is somewhat softer, comes in almost all colors (blue and brown are undesirable), and forms flags on the inside of the legs, on the tail, and on the belly.
- Saluki: The feathered Saluki is colored similarly gray to Deerhounds, but the fur is much shorter and only forms flags on the ears, legs, and tail.
The Origin of the Scottish Deerhound
The history of the great greyhounds of Scotland can be traced back to Roman times and beyond. It has been proven that the first greyhound-like hounds were brought to Scotland by Phoenician traders. The Irish wolfhound was being bred at about the same time as the slender and hardy deerhound. Although the Scottish Deerhound is believed to have descended from the Irish Wolfhound, it is not clear which breed is older.
Deerhounds Throughout history
Even in Celtic times, Deerhounds were used to hunt deer. They are powerful and fast enough to take down a full-grown deer, so they are still used for hunting today. In the 19th century, loyal hunting dogs also became popular with the English nobility, and parallel show breeding lines formed.
Nature and Character of the Deerhound
The dogs are known for their calm and balanced nature and their loyalty to the owner. Once they have recognized a human as the “leader of the pack”, they are easy to train and always try to please. Therefore, if you are looking for a large dog but have only had experience with small and medium-sized dog breeds, the Scottish Deerhound could be a suitable candidate.