The prognosis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) malignant neoplasms deeply relies on an accurate determination of the histological subtype, which currently involves the light microscopy visual analysis of histological slides, considering notably tumor architecture and cytology. RCC subtyping is therefore a time-consuming and tedious process, sometimes requiring expert review, with great impact on diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of RCC neoplasms. In this study, we investigate the automatic RCC subtyping classification of 91 patients, diagnosed with clear cell RCC, papillary RCC, chromophobe RCC, or renal oncocytoma, through deep learning based methodologies. We show how the classification performance of several state-of-the-art Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are perfectible among the different RCC subtypes. Thus, we introduce a new classification model leveraging a combination of supervised deep learning models (specifically CNNs) and pathologist’s expertise, giving birth to a hybrid approach that we termed ExpertDeepTree (ExpertDT). Our findings prove ExpertDT’s superior capability in the RCC subtyping task, with respect to traditional CNNs, and suggest that introducing some expert-based knowledge into deep learning models may be a valuable solution for complex classification cases.© 2023. Springer Nature Limited.