The roe deer is a relatively small deer, with a body length of 95–135 cm (3.1–4.4 ft) throughout its range, and a shoulder height of 63–67 cm (2.1–2.2 ft), and a weight of 15–35 kg (33–77 lb). Populations from Urals and northern Kazakhstan are larger on average growing to 145 cm (4.8 ft) in length and 85 cm (2.8 ft) at shoulder height, with body weights of up to 60 kg (130 lb), with the deer populations becoming smaller again further east in the Transbaikal, Amur Oblast, and Primorsky Krai regions.
Bucks are slightly larger than in does in healthy populations (where the population density is restricted by hunting or predators). Males from populations in bad conditions are similar or slightly smaller than females.
Bucks in good conditions develop antlers up to 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long with two or three, rarely even four, points.
When the male’s antlers begin to regrow, they are covered in a thin layer of velvet-like fur which disappears later on after the hair’s blood supply is lost. Males may speed up the process by rubbing their antlers on trees, so that their antlers are hard and stiff for the duels during the mating season.
Unlike most cervids, roe deer begin regrowing antlers almost immediately after they are shed.
Within Europe the roe deer occurs in most areas with the exception of northernmost Scandinavia, in Norway it occurs throughout the country with the exception of parts of northern Vestland and northernmost Nordland (north of Narvik), and the islands of Iceland, Ireland and those of the Mediterranean Sea islands. In the Mediterranean region, it is largely confined to mountainous areas, and is absent or rare at low altitudes.
There is an early Neolithic fossil record from Jordan. It is known there are roe deer that live in the Red Forest near Chernobyl.
Roe deer mate during July and August. After 10 months the female gives birth to 1-3 (usually 2) fawns, usually in May/June. They become mature when they are 1 1/2 year old. Roe deer can live up to 10-12 years in the wild, in captivity up to 17 years.