The adult Père David's deer reaches a head-and-body length of up to 1.9–2.2 meters (6.2–7.2 ft) and stands about 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) tall at the shoulder. The tail is relatively long for a deer, measuring 50–66 centimeters (20–26 in) when straightened. Weight is between 135 and 200 kilograms (298 and 441 lb). The head is long and slender with large eyes, very large preorbital glands, a naked nose pad and small, pointed ears.
The branched antlers are unique in that the long tines point backward, while the main beam extends almost directly upward. There may be two pairs per year. The summer antlers are the larger set, and are dropped in November, after the summer rut. The second set—if they appear—are fully grown by January, and fall off a few weeks later.
The coat is reddish tan in the summer, changing to a dull gray in the winter. Long wavy guard hairs are present on the outer coat throughout the year, with the coat becoming woolier in winter. There is a mane on the neck and throat and a black dorsal stripe running along the cervicothoracic spine. The tail is about 50 centimeters (20 in) in length, with a dark tuft at the end. The hooves are large and spreading, and make clicking sounds (as in the reindeer) when the animal is moving.
A semiaquatic animal, Père David's deer swims well, spending long periods standing in water up to its shoulders. Although predominantly a grazer, the deer supplements its grass diet with aquatic plants in the summer.
*information courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A8re_David%27s_deer