The chital's coat is pinkish fawn, marked with white spots, and its underparts are also white. Its antlers, which it sheds annually, are usually three-pronged and curve in a lyre shape and may extend to 75 cm (2.5 ft). Compared to the hog deer, its close relative, the chital has a more cursorial build. It also has a more advanced morphology with antler pedicles being proportionally short and its auditory bullae being smaller. It also has large nasals. The male chital averages about 90 cm (35 in) tall at the shoulder, with a total length of 170 cm (67 in), including a 20 cm (7.9 in). Males, at a typical weight of 30 to 75 kg (66 to 170 lb), are a somewhat larger than females, at 25 to 45 kg (55 to 99 lb). Exceptionally large males can weigh up to 98 to 110 kg (220 to 240 lb). The lifespan is around 8–14 years.
Chital have well-developed preorbital glands which have hairs that are like stiff little branches. They also have well-developed metatarsal glands and pedal glands on their hind legs. Males have larger preorbital glands than females and are opened very often in response to certain stimuli.