More and more people are wondering about the possibility of having a deer as a pet. We can agree that it would be great if there were small deer breeds that you could adopt, right?
It is true that keeping deer as pets is legal and has continuously gained popularity over the years. But it is not done as you would think. Most people who have deer have them in ranches. So, which are some of these deer species that you should know about?
In this article, we will provide you with detailed information about seven small deer species. That includes their appearance, ability to keep in the US, and more.
Let’s get to it.
What Are Small Deer breeds?
Deer are some of the most popular animals in the world. They are known to thrive in different environments all over the world in herds. In general, there are around 55 species of deer around the globe. Some are big, for instance, the elk and moose. Others, on the other hand, are secretive and small.
Unfortunately, small deer species are usually rare, which means that there are laws that restrict ownership. Before you can even think of owning a pet, you have to consider if it is legal in your location. Deer, unlike other pets, can be a handful and might have a lot of maintenance requirements.
Small deer breeds/species might be as small as 12 inches tall. Some of these adorable animals include:
- Hog deer
- Fallow deer
- White-tailed deer
- Pygmy brocket deer
- Water deer
- Roe deer
Small Deer Breeds That Will Surprise You
In this section, we will look at seven of the most popular small deer species.
|Small Deer Species||Size||Appearance|
|Pudu||12 Inches, 30 Pounds||Reddish Brown|
|Water deer||22 Inches, 30 Pounds||Golden Brown|
|Hog deer||23 Inches, 121 Pounds||Red|
|White-tailed deer||26 Inches, 310 Pounds||Tan, Brown, Grayish Brown|
|Pygmy Brocket deer||27 Inches, 66 Pounds||Dark or Light Brown|
|Roe Deer||29 Inches, 77 Pounds||Dark Brown|
|Fallow Deer||47 Inches, 130 Pounds||Brown with white spots|
1. Hog Deer
Mostly, this deer hangs around grassy floodplains. It makes it easier to see this species. Hog deer is found in Pakistan and the northern parts of India. Some herds are in the Southeastern parts of Asia. The species is endangered and is therefore not as widespread as before.
The deer is stocky and low with a height of around 27 inches and a weight of 121 pounds. However, they have a muscular body and are built as creepers.
The hog deer has a smooth coat that is normally red. Hog deer also develop horns.
Even though you might see a small herd of these animals, they are normally solitary animals. They might, however, fall into small units similar to families. The deer is very cautious and is always ready to get away if any trouble comes up. A hog deer will normally hide in dense vegetation until the danger passes.
The hog deer has a diet that includes grass coupled with other plants.
Unfortunately, even though the hog deer is an adorable animal, it should not be kept as a pet. The males are very territorial. This might be a problem with a pet. They also grow horns that might be used to fight.
2. Fallow Deer
Fallow deer is originally from Western Eurasia. This beautiful animal is one of the most adorable species. In most cases, you will follow deer in zoos, parks, as well as estates.
This deer species will grow to around 130 pounds while the females only grow to about 90 pounds. They have short legs, which is the reason for their short stature. The average height of fallow deer is 47 inches
The coat of a fallow deer is brown and has some white spots. These spots do not disappear after birth like in other animals.
These are social animals. When in the wild, they form very large herds and will only split into smaller groups when food is scarce. The males, however, do not stay for a long time with the herds.
Mostly, the fallow deer feeds on green grass. The feeding routine involves hours of grazing, trying to find the best grass. The deer is very picky and will not just eat anything.
It is not recommended to keep a fallow deer as a pet. The animal is social and would be unhappy if separated from the herd. The males also tend to become aggressive during the mating season, which would lead to accidents around the house.
3. White Tail Deer
The whitetail deer is very common in most parts of the United States. It is very common to find places where this species has become a problem. The animal is one of the most popular in the United States for different reasons.
This deer is considered to be a medium-sized deer and weighs around 310 lbs. with a height of around 26 inches.
Whitetail deer have brown fur on the face and back with some white on the undercoat. During winter, the deer’s coat might become greyish brown and reddish-brown during summer. The white spot on its tail gives it a unique name.
This is a social animal and you can tell from the large herds that they form when winter comes. The females might live in separate herds while males have some bachelor herds. The whitetail deer is very agile and always cautious.
There is a possibility that you might get a whitetail deer for a pet. The problem is that it is illegal in certain states. Some of those who keep them do so for meat purposes. Others keep them as pets on their farms. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for these animals to be taken by animal control when fully grown.
4. Pygmy Brocket Deer
The first time you see a pygmy brocket deer, you might think that it has some relationship with the muntjacs, which is not the case. In fact, there isn’t a close relationship between both. This species is normally found in Yucatan Peninsula forests. It is also spread in Central and South America.
In the 90s, there was a discovery of just four species related to the brocket. Fortunately, that number is increasing.
The pygmy grows to around 27 inches with a weight of around 66 pounds.
The bodies of these animals are rounded and small. They have a dark or light brown coat. That shade might vary between animals of the same species.
All these animals have the same behavior more or less. They are secretive and tend to be shy. As a result, they are mostly nocturnal, which explains why they are hard to come by. Since they tend to be scared, you will find them living in a small space with boundaries marked by urine, feces, or eye-gland secretion.
Unfortunately, this animal species is sort of scared of any danger. Their small bodies are meant to help in escape, which is not recommended to keep one as a pet. However, there are states where it is allowed to keep this animal as a pet. Confirm what the law says before making a move.
5. Water Deer
The water deer is among the most unique deer species on the planet. This small and unique small deer lives in Korea and China. There are two main subspecies, divided by their habitat. You can have the Korean water deer or the Chinese water deer.
An adult water deer is very small, only growing to around 22 inches tall. They also weigh around 30 lbs.
You can identify a water deer by the golden-brown coat, matched with the white underbelly. You will also notice that the hind legs are longer compared to the front legs. These deer do not have any antlers like other species. However, they have tasks, which is one of the reasons why they are considered unique.
The interaction between humans and deer has not been any good for this fella. The deer have been hunted constantly for different reasons including colostrum milk and meat. Female deer, especially, are considered a prize because of the production of colostrum milk that only happens for a couple of days after it gives birth.
Since the deer is small, it does not require much. It only needs a couple of grass varieties and a hiding place. This deer does not form herds like most deer species. Instead, they either live alone or travel in pairs. Since they are shy, they travel while hiding in dense vegetation.
It is important to know that humans have not been able to domesticate this animal at all. Water deer are wild animals and they do not make good pets. They have some sharp tusks. They are therefore dangerous to have around, especially if threatened.
Pudu is a species of deer that lives in areas that have a warm climate such as Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. These animals live in the dense parts of the forest but will usually go to the plains in search of food.
This is the smallest species of deer on the planet. Their stature is one of the reasons why it is among the most adorable animals on the planet. When fully grown, a pudu will be around 12 inches tall with a weight of around 30 pounds. Even though the males might have antlers, they are extremely small.
Coats of pudu deer are normally reddish-brown.
The deer is very secretive and it is hard to identify their behavior because they try to hide it. That prevents predators from finding them however they want. One thing we know for sure about this species is that it is a solitary animal that will live alone except when mating or raising young ones. They are also territorial animals.
The pudu feeds on food on the ground. They will normally feed on twigs and leaves from the small plants and the lower tree branches. When it comes to feeding, they adapt very fast. It is even possible to have those that climb trees find some food.
Since they are small, they are constantly hunted and not only by man. For that reason, their population is decreasing and some efforts are put in place to avoid their extinction. That includes hunting or purchasing. They are only placed in captivity in zoos and such for controlled population decrease. That makes it hard to have one as a pet.
7. Roe Deer
This is a small deer species that is native to Europe and Asia Minor. The animal favors small forests that have croplands and high-grass terrain with small shrubs. They appreciate burns in croplands and forestlands because of revegetation.
Roe deer has a small body and a long neck. It normally grows to around 77 pounds with a height of around 29 inches.
In the winter, the roe deer is dark or greyish brown. You can notice a white caudal patch on the deer. During the winter, males will normally develop a certain thick skin on the necks and heads.
The roe deer will either live in small family groups with females and young ones or live solitary. When winter comes, they will mostly be in groups. However, when summer comes, they will spread out. They are mostly active at dawn and dusk but they are active for 24 hours.
It is not legal to own this deer in several countries. Before you decide to get one for your ranch, you should consider the laws of your location.
Can you Domesticate Deer?
Deer are not meant to live alone or with a human family. It is considered unfair to separate the animal from their natural habitat or their herds. These animals are very difficult to domesticate. They will, however, tolerate human presence when fed properly.
Even when in captivity, they are not good pets. It is possible to tame a small deer because it is adorable but as it grows, it becomes harder to manage. There are high chances that they might be aggressive and might attack, especially when mating season comes. Their motherly instincts might make them dangerous.
Even though deer might be very adorable, it is not always a good idea to get one for a pet, especially if there are children around. However, certain species would survive in ranches with proper care.
Alternatively, you can get yourself and family a small horse breed as a pet. They are quite easy to care for and maintained.