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Irish Wolfhound vs. Scottish Deerhound: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 9, 2023
Irish Wolfhounds are large, muscular dogs bred for wolf hunting, while Scottish Deerhounds, slimmer and smaller, were bred for deer hunting, each reflecting their respective geographic origins and hunting roles.

Key Differences

Diving into the canine world, the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound each boast a rich history and distinctive characteristics that set them apart despite their apparent physical similarities. The Irish Wolfhound, known for its enormous size and strength, was historically used for wolf hunting in Ireland, demonstrating its powerful capabilities. Conversely, the Scottish Deerhound, though also large, tends to be more slender and was originally bred for hunting red deer, presenting a contrast in both form and historical function.
Considering physical appearances, the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound showcase distinct features amidst their similar rough-coated exteriors. The Irish Wolfhound, notably one of the tallest dog breeds, displays a robust and muscular physique, aligning with its historical role in hunting large predators. On the other hand, the Scottish Deerhound exhibits a more elegant and slightly smaller build, with a particular gracefulness that aligns with the agility needed to chase deer in the rugged Scottish Highlands.
Examining their temperaments, the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound both share a gentle and friendly disposition, often surprising those unfamiliar with these giant breeds. The Irish Wolfhound is renowned for its gentle nature, combining a friendly demeanor with an impressive physical presence. Likewise, the Scottish Deerhound is often praised for its gentle and friendly temperament, displaying an amicable personality that contrasts with its hunting origins, elucidating the gentle giants that lie beneath their hunting ancestries.
In terms of care and lifestyle, the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound each require attentive consideration to their unique needs, given their large statures and energetic histories. The Irish Wolfhound, with its considerable size, requires ample space and moderate exercise, along with a nutritious diet to support its large frame. In parallel, the Scottish Deerhound, with its agile and active nature, demands regular exercise and a diet that sustains its energy levels, illustrating the distinct care each breed necessitates due to their varying physical attributes and energy levels.
Addressing health aspects, both the Irish Wolfhound and the Scottish Deerhound are prone to certain breed-specific issues that potential owners should consider. The Irish Wolfhound often faces challenges related to its large size, including hip dysplasia and heart issues, necessitating vigilant health monitoring. Similarly, the Scottish Deerhound may encounter issues like bloat and cardiac concerns, indicating the importance of regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care for both breeds to ensure their well-being.

Comparison Chart

Size & Build

Larger and more muscular
Slender and slightly smaller

Historic Use

Used for hunting wolves
Used for hunting deer

Coat Texture

Rough and wiry
Rough but slightly softer

Typical Temperament

Friendly and gentle
Gentle and friendly


Typically 6-8 years
Typically 8-11 years

Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound Definitions

Irish Wolfhound

Known for their friendly disposition, Irish Wolfhounds are sociable and gentle with families.
The Irish Wolfhound, despite its size, is often considered a gentle giant due to its sweet nature.

Scottish Deerhound

Despite their large size, Scottish Deerhounds tend to be docile and are known for their easy-going temperament.
While large, the Scottish Deerhound is often a couch potato, enjoying relaxed moments indoors with the family.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds possess a rough, wiry coat and a notably muscular build.
Despite its rough exterior, the Irish Wolfhound is celebrated for its gentle and friendly demeanor.

Scottish Deerhound

Historically, Scottish Deerhounds were associated with Scottish nobility, often seen in noble households.
In historical texts, the Scottish Deerhound was a noble companion, a symbol of stature in many Scottish estates.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a giant-sized dog breed known for its strength and stature.
The imposing Irish Wolfhound was historically utilized to hunt wolves in its native Ireland.

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhounds are characterized by their friendly and gentle demeanor, despite their hunting origins.
My Scottish Deerhound greets guests with a calm and friendly presence, revealing no trace of its predatory ancestry.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds, despite their hunting history, generally get along well with other dogs.
The Irish Wolfhound played amicably at the dog park, showcasing its friendly and sociable demeanor.

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhounds feature a distinctive rough, wiry coat and a particularly slim build, optimized for agile deer hunting.
The Scottish Deerhound moves with a grace that reflects its slim, wiry frame, originally bred for swift pursuit in hunting.

Irish Wolfhound

This breed, the Irish Wolfhound, often requires ample space due to its significant size and exercise needs.
Ensuring the Irish Wolfhound has enough room to move is vital due to its large size and active nature.

Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is a large, wiry-coated breed known for hunting red deer by coursing.
The Scottish Deerhound, admired for its elegance and agility, once pursued deer across the rugged Scottish terrain.


What is the main historical use of the Scottish Deerhound?

Scottish Deerhounds were primarily used for hunting red deer in the Scottish Highlands.

Is the Scottish Deerhound a good family dog?

Yes, Scottish Deerhounds are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them good family dogs.

What size are Irish Wolfhounds typically?

Irish Wolfhounds are one of the largest dog breeds, often weighing 140-180 pounds.

How much exercise does a Scottish Deerhound need?

Scottish Deerhounds need regular exercise to maintain their health and happiness.

Are Irish Wolfhounds prone to any specific health issues?

Yes, they can be prone to heart issues, hip dysplasia, and certain cancers.

How long is the average lifespan of an Irish Wolfhound?

Irish Wolfhounds typically live between 6 and 8 years.

Is it challenging to groom a Scottish Deerhound?

Moderate grooming is required due to their wiry coat, but they are relatively low-shedding.

What kind of diet is suitable for Scottish Deerhounds?

A well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, often with a focus on lean proteins.

How well do Scottish Deerhounds adapt to new environments?

They tend to adapt well, especially if they are given time to adjust and are properly socialized.

Can Irish Wolfhounds adapt to small living spaces?

Due to their large size, Irish Wolfhounds are best suited to homes with ample space.

What is the coat texture of a Scottish Deerhound?

Scottish Deerhounds have a wiry, somewhat rough coat.

Do Irish Wolfhounds get along with other pets?

Typically yes, Irish Wolfhounds generally get along well with other dogs and pets.

How do Irish Wolfhounds generally behave around strangers?

They are often friendly and gentle, though some may be reserved around strangers.

Can Irish Wolfhounds participate in dog sports?

Yes, they can participate in several dog sports, including lure coursing and obedience.

What kind of socialization do Scottish Deerhounds need?

Early socialization to various environments, people, and other animals is beneficial for well-rounded development.

Are Irish Wolfhounds considered good for novice dog owners?

They can be, but potential owners should be prepared for the challenges of owning a giant breed.

What is the ideal home environment for a Scottish Deerhound?

A home with enough space for movement and exercise, and a family that can meet their physical and emotional needs.

What are the exercise requirements for Irish Wolfhounds?

They require regular exercise but are also known for enjoying relaxation and lounging.

Is it difficult to train an Irish Wolfhound?

They are intelligent and capable but may sometimes be stubborn, so consistent, positive reinforcement training is ideal.

Are Scottish Deerhounds known to be vocal or bark a lot?

Not particularly; they are known to be relatively quiet and are not excessive barkers.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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