Brollachan Deerhounds
About the Breed


The history of the Deerhound can be found in more detail on many websites and books, so I shall be brief on this subject. They are an ancient breed which originated in Scotland for the hunting of Red Deer. For this purpose they were bred with strength, stamina and courage. They were a prized possession by Clan chieftains. In the early 19th century a decline in the breed occured which was due to the introduction of sporting guns and the decreasing amount of forestation due to farming. In 1831 a renewed interest in the breed took hold and with dedicated breeding of only the best dogs we now see the breed we have today. Little has changed from the dogs of yesteryear to today, except that todays dog may be taller.


The Deerhound is a human-orientated breed and loves the company of his family. It is not a breed that can be kept in a kennel for long periods as he is as much as a companion dog as he is a hunter. The Deerhound, as a rule, is not an aggressive breed, infact he can be very sensitive and will sulk and hound you for forgiveness if scolded. They are a very loving dog and would sit in your lap if they could fit. They love to nuzzle, and most of all they love their ear rubs. As written by Kay Barrett, author of Living with Deerhounds, " Gentle and friendly. Obedient and easy to train because eager to please. Docile and good tempered, never suspicious, aggressive or nervous. Carries himself with quiet dignity."


Despite their size Deerhounds make wonderful house dogs. They take up very little room when curled up on their favourite chair and there is very little smell if any.The rough shaggy coat is dealt with, with a weekly brush, and if they have been playing in the rain and become muddy, it easily brushes out. Adult Deerhounds do not need excessive exercise. Fortunately for us we live on a small property so the dogs will run themselves, On many occasions they need a bit of encouragement, as they are quite comfy lazing indoors. When we lived in suburbia, I walked Dana nearly everyday for 40 minutes to a dog designated exercise area where she could have a run. If I became lazy and didn't walk her for a couple of days, she soon let me know by doing whizzy whizzies in the lounge room. Deerhounds are sighthounds and have a strong hunting extinct. It is important when exercising or having them off lead that they are in a safe, or fenced area. Once a quarry is in their sights they will not respond to recall, or at least rarely, and will chase any furry looking animal. They have no road sense so a fenced yard is imperative. Feeding an adult Deerhound is not as daunting as it may seem. They eat surprisly little for their size. Puppies though need more due to their rapid growth and bone development.


In general the Deerhound is a healthy and sound breed. Apart from suffering from normal canine afflictions and diseases, there are three main life threatening health problems which Deerhounds (and all giant breeds)can be prevalent to:

  • Bloat
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Cardiomyopathy

Bloat or Torsion is a condition where the stomach twists and fills with air. It needs to be treated immediately as dogs will go into shock quickly and can die. The stomach will become necrotic rapidly due to the blocked blood supply. Symptoms of Bloat do vary, but they include general discomfort, tenderness in the abdominal region, panting, increased size in the abdominal region and restlessness. There is no known cause for bloat, but there are certain risk factors which have been identified with this condition. Risk factors include rapid eating, oversized meals, and exercise directly before and after eating.

Osteosarcoma is a cancer which arises from inside the bone. The most common bones affected are those of the legs and the first symptoms are lameness or a lump. It tends to be a very aggressive form of cancer and spreads quickly.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which causes the heart to enlarge and not work properly. The occurance of Dilated Cardiomyopathy increases with age and has an age onset between 4-10 years. The cause of Cardiomyopathy in dogs is still unknown but many factors suggest a genetic cause.