The Scottish Deerhound has a body like that of a Greyhound but is of larger size and bone, enabling them to run at great speed using the double-suspension gallop without sacrificing strength and endurance. Their trotting gait is easy and true. Their hair is harsh and crisp, about three to four inches long on their body, ideally close lying. Such a coat imparts a weather- (and dirt-) resistant quality, an essential asset in cold, damp climates.
Among the most aristocratic of breeds, the Scottish Deerhound has been valued by nobility for their prowess in running after deer at least since the sixteenth century. Confusion regarding names makes tracing their exact history before that time difficult, but they are probably a very ancient breed, deriving from ancestral Greyhound roots.
Like their smooth-coated Greyhound relative, the rough-coated Deerhound could not be owned by anyone ranked lower than an Earl during the Age of Chivalry. As the stag population declined in England, the larger, rough-coated dogs suited for hunting stag became concentrated where the stag remained plentiful—namely, the Scottish Highlands—where they were valued and sadly, hoarded by Highland chieftains. This unfortunate hoarding resulted in the decline of the breed in the mid 1700s following the collapse of the clan system of Culloden. By the mid 1800s, however, a concerted effort to restore the breed had proved successful, and although their numbers were never great, the health of the dogs was high.
The First World War again decimated the breed’s numbers because most of the dogs had been the property of a limited number of large estates, most of which did not survive the war intact. Since then, the Deerhound has remained low in number but a classic in every sense.
The Scottish Deerhound is typically mellow, low-key, and easygoing, a gracious and well-mannered member of the family. Outdoors, they loves to run and may try chase anything that moves. Indoors, they needs plenty of room to stretch on a soft surface. They are often independent but willing to please; they can be extremely sensitive. They can be amiable toward but often reserved with strangers. They can be good with children, other dogs, and usually other pets, if properly socialized and introduced.
The Scottish Deerhound needs a good amount of daily exercise, either a long walk or a hike. They prefer temperate or cool climates and need plenty of quality time and interaction with their family. Scottish Deerhounds usually need soft bedding to avoid callouses. Their crisp coat needs combing one or two times weekly. Some scissoring is optional to neaten up straggling hair or occasional trips to a groomer.