Scottish Deerhound vs. Irish Wolfhound

What's the difference?

Scottish deerhounds

The Scottish deerhound is a large scenthound from Scotland that belongs to the sighthound family of dogs. There are two theories about where it came from: some say its ancestors were crossbred in Mesopotamia between 4000 and 2000 B.C., while others claim the Vikings brought them during their invasions in the 8th century A.D. The deerhound was bred as a high-speed hare hunter and has never been used as a fighting dog or for guarding livestock. In addition, it was not used for hunting deer (deer are too small), but instead, after being trained, it chased down stags at full speed using sight-tracking rather than scent-tracking. It has a calm and quiet disposition, is independent-minded, and can also be obstinate when food. Although the dog was common in Scotland for many years (as evidenced by several mentions in literature), its numbers reduced over time due to lack of interest from breeders and farmers alike; until today, there are an estimated 600 specimens still alive throughout the world.

A scottish Deerhound.

The Scottish deerhound has been recognized as a distinct breed since at least 1885.

Irish wolfhounds

The Irish wolfhound is one of Ireland’s oldest native breeds of dogs and is believed to have existed for more than 2000 years. In Irish mythology, they were considered descendants of the ancient god Cúchulainn’s dogs, and they were the symbol of hospitality. They are large dogs that could reach up to 2 meters in height (hound name) or more than 3 meters tall when measured at the shoulder, sometimes even 4 meters. The Irish wolfhound is an excellent guard dog because it has an imposing appearance and lets out a loud, deep bark; however, it gets along well with people so long as they don’t try to touch it. In addition, it has a great sense of smell thanks to its vast olfactory epithelium oval, nostrils, and long nasal cavities, and thus serves as an excellent tracking dog for hunters who seek big game such as moose, deer, or bears.
As a member of the hound family of canines, the Irish wolfhound is a scent hound, which means that it uses its highly developed sense of smell to hunt for game and find trails. A lot of effort has been put into making this dog breed always be able to work on difficult terrain or weather conditions and be capable of chasing down animals three times his size (some could weigh up to 300 kg). Today there are an estimated 3,000 specimens still alive throughout the world, although over 90% live in Ireland. It was recognized as a distinct breed by English standards in 1773 and by Irish standards in 1880.
What’s the difference between a Scottish deerhound and an Irish wolfhound?
Irish wolfhounds should not be confused with similar-looking Scottish Deerhounds, which were recently bred from Scottish deerhound and german hounds.
Irish wolfhound and Scottish deerhound share the same bloodline but have been bred for different purposes.

Irish Wolfhounds were bred to be hunting dogs.

Deerhounds are well known for being companion animals. They were originally bred to follow their master on the hunt without driving game too far from where it was killed before returning home with the remains of the prey – a useful skill to keep peasants fed when wolves roamed free in rural areas!
In contrast, there is no record of Irish wolfhounds ever being used for such purposes. While they were used for hunting wolves before the wolf was extinct in Ireland, deerhounds were not. Instead, they are known for their ability to chase down stags at full speed using sight-tracking rather than scent-tracking.
A deerhound is also smaller and stockier, with larger ears and more and longer fur around its feet, making it better suited for cold climates. It can also be a different color, although the original coat of all three dogs is white marked with tan or brindle.


Scottish deerhounds are large and kind of lazy. They spend their days lounging around, and they’re happy to be with a person as long as that person gives them the attention they feel they deserve. So the Scottish deerhound is a good dog for people who want a pet that can take care of itself on walks but doesn’t need a lot of exercise.
The Irish wolfhound is said to be the tallest domestic dog in the world. This makes it an energetic dog that has to be given room to explore outdoors all day – every day. Therefore, these dogs are not recommended for apartments or small homes.
Irish wolfhounds are known as calm and mannered dogs that don’t bark too much or make a fuss in general.
Scottish deerhounds have the reputation of being gentle giants – which means that they’ll do anything for anybody who loves them! However, they can still get “loud” when they want something from you, and many dislike loud noises.


The Scottish deerhound also boasts a longer lifespan than the Irish wolfhound, at around 12-14 years. However, the average lifespan of an Irish wolfhound is between 7 and 8 years, which is still plenty for most people who want to add a pet to their family.

As for grooming needs:

Both breeds were bred as working dogs that needed less maintenance.
Even though they’re large dogs, the Irish wolfhound does not need professional grooming every other week, nor will it require daily brushing to keep its fur in good condition. It only has to be bathed when it gets uncomfortably dirty or smelly (once every few months, especially if you’re living in the country where it is allowed to roam free). Be sure to check out his ears and brush his teeth regularly.
On the other hand, Deerhounds require more frequent brushing (every day) because they’re also heavier shedders. If you’re not used to grooming dogs regularly, this may seem like much work.

Guess what else both dogs have in common? We have Art Prints of both dogs in our store! Perfect for decorating your wall fast, easy, and affordable, with a Print of your favorite dog! Get yours now!