The DH.75 Hawk Moth was the first of a family of high-wing monoplane Moths, and was designed as a light transport or air-taxi for export. The aircraft had a fabric-covered steel-tube fuselage and a wooden wing. The Hawk Moth was first flown on 7 December 1928. The first aircraft used a 200 hp (149 kW) de Havilland Ghost engine. This engine comprised two de Havilland Gipsys mounted on a common crankcase to form an air-cooled V-8. With the Ghost, the aircraft was underpowered and a 240 hp (179 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine was fitted to it and all but one production aircraft. Changes were also made to the structure including increased span and chord wings and the aircraft was redesignated the DH.75A.
In December 1929 the first aircraft was demonstrated in Canada with both wheel and ski undercarriage. Following trials with the second aircraft on floats, the Canadian government ordered three aircraft for civil use. The first Canadian aircraft (actually the first Hawk Moth) did not have any doors on the port side so could not be used as a floatplane, it was used by the Controller of Civil Aircraft. Further tests were carried out by de Havilland Canada in 1930, and the second and third aircraft were cleared to use floats. With restrictions on payload when fitted with floats the Canadian aircraft were only used on skis or wheels. In attempt to complete with American designed aircraft, the eighth aircraft was produced as the DH.75B with a 300 hp (224 kW) Wright Whirlwind engine. Production was stopped and two aircraft were not completed.
With three aircraft operating in Canada a further two were exported to Australia. One of the Australian aircraft was used by Amy Johnson to fly from Brisbane to Sydney in 1930 when her Moth Jason was damaged.