Breeds 101: Meet the Scottish Deerhound

Photo: National Dog Show/Steve Surfman
Photo: National Dog Show/Steve Surfman /

In the latest Breeds 101, we look at the Scottish Deerhound.

In the latest installment of our “Breeds 101” series of dog breeds introductions, we’re going to look at the Scottish Deerhound.

The Scottish Deerhound is a fairly obscure breed, ranking 158 the last time the American Kennel Club tallied the popularity rankings.

They are part of the Hound Group in dog shows, as a sighthound they’re built kind of like a shaggy Greyhound. They’re fairly tall, as females stand at least 28 inches at the withers (shoulders) and males around 30-32 inches, and are somewhat light for their size, as females weigh around 75-95 pounds, while males weigh more in the 85-110 range.

And for a large breed, they have a longish estimated lifespan of 8-11 years, which is around 64 to 80 in dog years.

The AKC Breed Standard for the Scottish Deerhound apparently hasn’t changed since 1935, so it mainly concerns itself with the basics of ideal jawlines, etc., not mentioning temperament as has become common in the years since.

As the name implies, the Scottish Deerhound comes from Scotland and was bred to help hunt down deer. According to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, they existed from medieval times, as no one lower ranked than an earl could legally own one.

The SDCA says that they would make pretty terrible guard dogs, and they tend to be lazy as adults (understandable, given that just existing would burn a lot of calories). On the other hand, Sir Walter Scott (who is responsible for the name of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, incidentally) called them “the most perfect creature of heaven,” which is quite high praise, indeed.

2020 National Dog Show results: Who won Best in Show?. dark. Next

Claire (registered name Claire Randall Frasier) just won Best in Show at the 2020 National Dog Show, keeping up her family’s conformation legacy as her mother Chelsea was runner-up at the 2015 NDS, and Chelsea’s mother Hickory (GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind) was Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.