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29 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Deerhounds: what are they?

  • Deerhounds are a noble and elegant breed with a long history.
  • They were originally bred in Scotland for hunting and coursing deer, hence their name.
  • These dogs are known for their tall and lean build, which allows them to chase prey with great speed and agility.
  • Deerhounds were once considered a royal dog and were only owned by nobles and kings in Scotland!
  • Male Deerhounds can reach an average height of 76 to 81 cm, while females are slightly smaller, averaging around 71 to 76 cm.
  • In terms of weight, Deerhounds typically weigh between 36 and 54 kg.
  • On average, they have a life expectancy of 8 to 11 years.
Deerhound  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Deerhounds like?

  • Deerhounds have a gentle and friendly temperament.
  • They are known to be affectionate, loyal, and great with families.
  • Despite their large size, they tend to be calm and reserved indoors, making them well-suited for a relaxed home environment.
  • They are generally good with children and can get along well with other pets if properly socialised.
  • Deerhounds can be somewhat independent and may have a stubborn streak, so consistent training and positive reinforcement techniques are important.
Derek, the Deerhound

How much exercise do Deerhounds need?

  • Deerhounds are an active breed that requires regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
  • They have moderate to high exercise needs and should have at least 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise every day.
  • This should include a combination of physical activities, such as brisk walks, jogging, or off-leash running in a securely fenced area, and mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or obedience training.
  • Deerhounds have a strong prey drive, so it's important to ensure they are exercised in a safe and controlled environment to prevent them from chasing after small animals.
  • Puppies also benefit from exercise, but their exercise needs are different from adult Deerhounds.
  • As growing puppies, their bones and joints are still developing, so it's important to avoid excessive high-impact exercise that could potentially harm their growth plates.
  • Puppies should have shorter play sessions and controlled exercise, such as gentle walks or supervised play in a secure area.
  • Deerhounds can reach full exercise levels at an adult level between 18 and 24 months of age, but it's always best to consult with your vet for specific guidance based on your individual dog.
Pip, the Deerhound

Do Deerhounds need a lot of grooming?

  • Deerhounds have a wiry and harsh coat that requires moderate grooming.
  • They have a double coat, with a harsh outer coat and a soft undercoat.
  • Regular brushing, at least once a week, helps remove loose hair and prevents matting.
  • They are moderate shedders, and their coat will require extra attention during shedding seasons to keep it in good condition.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Robin, the Deerhound

Are Deerhounds easy to train?

  • Deerhounds are intelligent dogs but can be somewhat independent, which may make training a bit challenging.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards, praise, and treats, so using these methods will help motivate them during training sessions.
  • It's important to start training and socialisation from an early age to establish good behaviour patterns.
  • Consistency, patience, and gentle guidance are key when training a Deerhound.
  • They may have a natural instinct to chase, so teaching a reliable recall command is crucial for their safety.
Rufus, the Deerhound

What do Deerhounds eat?

  • Feeding a balanced and nutritious diet is important for the health and well-being of Deerhounds.
  • High-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is recommended. Feeding twice daily works well for most Deerhounds.
  • The amount of food will depend on factors such as their age, metabolism, and exercise levels.
  • It's best to follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and adjust the portions as needed to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • When it comes to feeding Deerhound puppies, they have specific dietary needs to support their growth and development.
  • They should be fed a puppy-specific diet formulated for large breed puppies until they reach around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • These diets are specially designed to provide the right balance of nutrients to support their bone and muscle development.
  • Consult with your vet for specific dietary recommendations for your Deerhound puppy.

Are Deerhounds healthy?

Deerhounds are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the common health concerns in Deerhounds include:

Bones and Joints

  • Osteosarcoma - a malignant cancer of the bone
  • Panosteitis - a painful, inflammatory condition of the long bones of the leg


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure


  • Porto-systemic shunt (PSS) - when the blood circulation bypasses the normal cleaning processes of the liver resulting in signs like stunted growth and abnormal behaviours

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Deerhound is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Deerhounds

BorrowMyDoggy has 90 Deerhound members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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