The black-tailed deer or blacktail deer is subspecies of the mule deer found in western North America, specifically in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California regions. It has been treated as a species, but virtually all recent authorities maintain it is a subspecies of the mule deer. Black-tailed deer can be distinguished from mule deer by their larger tail, the back of which is completely covered with black or dark brown hairs. Mule deer have smaller tails in which only the tip is covered with black hairs. Black-tailed deer are generally smaller than mule deer. The Black-tailed deer is currently common in northern California, western Oregon, Washington, in coastal and interior British Columbia, and north into the Alaskan panhandle. It is a popular game animal.
Though it has been argued that the black-tailed deer is a species, virtually all recent authorities maintain it as a subspecies of the mule deer. The black-tailed deer group and the mule deer group (sensu stricto) hybridize, and it appears the mule deer evolved from the black-tailed deer. Despite this, the mtDNA of the white-tailed deer and mule deer is similar, but differs from that of the black-tailed deer.