These large-sized, shaggy-coated sighthounds have a very athletic appearance. They are often described as resembling a shaggy-coated greyhound. They come in a variety of colours: dark blue-grey, darker and lighter greys or brindles and yellows, sandy-red or red fawns with black points. Adult males measure 76cm and above and weigh about 45.5kg; adult females are 71cm and above and weigh about 36.5kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Little
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Usually quiet
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Hound
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Low
Shaggy-haired hounds have existed in Scotland since before the 16th century. It is thought that short-coated hounds were introduced to Britain before the Roman invasion but when these hunting dogs were used in the Scottish Highlands they were at a disadvantage because of their short coats. These hounds were then probably crossed with native hairy-coated dogs to get the Deerhound dog breed. They were used in packs by the Scottish Chieftains to hunt deer, and they had to be strong enough to pull a stag to the ground.
The Deerhound is a gentle, friendly dog. They get on well with children but do not make particularly good guard dogs; they are not known to bark a lot. Most Deerhound dogs still have a very strong instinct to hunt, so early introduction to other household pets, especially cats, is necessary.
The most serious health problems that the Deerhound breed is predisposed to are an aggressive type of bone cancer and heart disease. Recognised inherited disorders include liver and eye conditions, but due to routine screening and careful breeding programmes these are relatively rare.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. Deerhounds are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Deerhounds do need regular grooming – about two or three times a week. The coat may need to be hand plucked once or twice a year depending on its condition.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
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What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information