Its original range is unclear, but current knowledge suggests that Turkey and southern Europe were the post-glacial refuges of the species. The species was introduced to the western Mediterranean by the Phoenicians, and to central and northern Europe by the Romans and Normans. The distribution in Europe is much more scattered and patchy than indicated on the map (which shows its general extent of occurrence). This is a a highly adaptable species that can survive in a wide range of habitats, including forest, shrubland, grassland, pastureland and plantations.
Fallow deer have four main variations of coat:
- Common – tan/fawn, with white spotting on flanks and white rump patch outlined with black horseshoe shaped border. Coat fades to a general grey colour during the Winter;
- Menil – paler colouration with white spots year-round and a caramel horseshoe shape on rump;
- Melanistic – black, almost entirely black or chocolate coloured;
- White – white to pale sandy-coloured turning increasingly white with age (this is a true colour and not albino).