Irish Wolfhound


Overview of Irish Wolfhounds

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  • The Irish Wolfhound is a historic sighthound dog breed from Ireland that has, by its presence and substantial size, inspired literature, poetry and mythology.[1][2][3] Like all sighthounds, it was used to pursue game by speed; it was also famed as a guardian dog, specializing in protection against and for the hunting of wolves.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is a powerful hunter, so expect the Wolfman to have a high prey drive, as well as the Doberman’s protective streak, so for these reasons it’s important that the Wolfman is given a lot of early training and socialization to ensure that he does not become too overprotective and that he comes back when he is called by his master.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is predisposed to: gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV, bloat), hip dysplasia, cataracts, entropion, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), atrial fibrillation, von Willebrand’s disease, shoulder osteochondrosis (OCD), osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and Wobbler’s syndrome.
  • Irish Wolfhounds have a varied range of personalities and are most often noted for their personal quirks and individualism.[34] An Irish Wolfhound, however, is rarely mindless, and despite its large size is rarely found to be destructive in the house or boisterous.
  • Irish Wolfhounds also do best in homes with older, considerate kids–these are huge and heavy dogs that can easily knock over a smaller, unsuspecting child, and because they are gentle and tolerant, will be easily hurt by a child without letting you know.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient dog breed, possibly dating back to Ireland in 7000 BC, though the oldest written record of the Wolfhound is from Rome dating to 391 AD, when seven dogs were given to Quintus Aurelius as gifts.
  • Irish Wolfhound: Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), portosystemic shunt (a blood vessel that bypasses the liver), Von Willebrand’s disease (a blood clotting disorder) and cancer of the bone or blood vessels.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is one of the rarer parents on this list, so expect this mixed breed to be rare too, but once you do find him then your time and patience during the search process will be very much worth it.
  • Irish wolfhounds and Great Danes usually live about 7 or 8 years, but Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus usually live for 10 or 12 – a few may even see their 15th birthday.
  • Bloat

    It is also very important to avoid exercising your dog right around the time they eat.Since Irish wolfhounds are at risk of bloat, giving them exercise right before or after a meal can be dangerous.


    Genomic analysis indicates that although there has been some DNA sharing between the Irish wolfhound with the Deerhound, Whippet, and Greyhound, there has been significant sharing of DNA between the Irish Wolfhound with the Great Dane.[27] One writer has stated that for the Irish Wolfhound, “the Great Dane appearance is strongly marked too prominently before the 20th Century”.[9] George Augustus Graham created the modern Irish wolfhound breed that retained the appearance of the original form but not its genetic ancestry.[21]


    In a privately funded study conducted under the auspices of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America and based on an owner survey, Irish Wolfhounds in the United States from 1966 to 1986 lived to a mean age of 6.47 and died most frequently of bone cancer.[40] A more recent study by the UK Kennel Club puts the average age of death at 7 years.[41]


    Considered by the American Kennel Club to be the tallest of all dog breeds, describing the breed as, “of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight.However, the wolfhound is not to be confused with being the heaviest, as its structure should be similar to that of a Greyhound, with a very broad and deep chest that tucks up.The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type he is a rough-coated, Greyhound-like breed; very muscular, strong though gracefully built; movements easy and active; head and neck carried high, the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity”.[28] The average height of an Irish Wolfhound should be taller than that of a Great Dane.


    As the heart enlarges it has to work harder to continue to pump, resulting in decreased flow of oxygen throughout the body.Cardiovascular Disease: Heart disease is a condition where a muscle or a valve in the heart is weakened over time.In the former, a leaking valve reduces the heart’s ability to produce an adequate blood flow.In the latter, a weakness in the muscle of the heart causes the heart to swell under pressure.Large dogs are more likely to develop myocardial disease, so it is important to watch for any abnormal signs of breathing or energy levels in your Irish Wolfhound.The two forms that heart disease takes in dogs is chronic valvular disease and myocardial disease.Typically, dogs exhibiting signs of heart disease will experience a shortness of breath, a lack of energy, coughing, or swelling of the abdomen.

    Genetic Predispositions

    At the end of the booklet, we have also included a description of what you can do at home to keep your Wolfhound looking and feeling her best.This guide contains general health information important to all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Irish Wolfhounds.This information helps you and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs.You will know what to watch for, and we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.


    Regular grooming includes brushing the coat thoroughly a couple of times a week to prevent knotting and matting.Veteran Irish Wolfhound owners suggest professional grooming or using a professional grooming kit at least twice yearly to remove any dead hair from the coat.


    If you are thinking of buying an Irish Wolfhound puppy, make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by certain conditions.We’d recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder as they meet extra requirements which will benefit your puppy’s health.

    Heart Disease

    Irish wolfhounds may develop cancer.Oftentimes, your vet will be able to treat this disease.Osteosarcoma is a bone tumor most often found in the limbs, but it can also be found in the bones in a dog’s spine, ribcage, or even skull.Some Irish wolfhounds also develop heart disease.This can include dilated cardiomyopathy.


    Irish Wolfhounds are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper.Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, her age, and other factors.

    Life expectancy


    Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk.It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease.Obesity can be a significant health problem in Irish Wolfhounds.She’ll feel better, and so will you!Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats.


    If you’re having problems with excessive noise or barking, we recommend seeking the advice of an accredited behaviourist.In general, Irish Wolfhounds are not known for being big barkers.Like most dogs, Irish Wolfhounds are likely to make noise and it all depends on the training, socialisation and personality of your dog as to how much they bark.They do have a fairly loud bark though and will certainly use it to let you know if they are unhappy.


    Overall, if your home is large enough, active enough, and social enough for a Scottish Deerhound or Irish Wolfhound, then you’ll be blessed with a kind and relaxed companion, regardless of which breed you choose.


    Here’s what the ideal Irish Wolfhound owner looks like:Just by reading the negatives and positives of an Irish Wolfhound’s temperament, you can get an idea of what an ideal owner would look like.


    Even performing simple tasks such as sitting, retrieving, or completing actions can be a challenge.For training that requires sitting, it is theorized by many that Irish Wolfhounds fail to follow this command because sitting is not a natural position for their breed.Many owners recount difficulties training Irish Wolfhounds.These difficulties are less due to stubbornness and can be more easily attributed to their traditional role in history.While Irish Wolfhounds are undoubtedly an extremely intelligent breed, that intelligence does not necessarily correlate to easy training.With all that being said, many owners have found their Wolfhounds to be very well behaved towards others, human and animal alike.Wolfhounds are also not retrievers and were never bred nor intended for this purpose.Wolfhounds would much prefer to stand or lay than sit, with some even requiring demonstration on how to sit because it is so unnatural for them.

    How Much Does an Irish Wolfhound Cost?

    A typical cost for an Irish Wolfhound can be between £1,000 to £1,500.The Irish Wolfhound Society can put you in touch with a good breeder and offer advice.

    Are Irish wolfhounds good family dogs?

    Irish Wolfhounds are good family dogs for homes where there are no other small animals.Not to mention, Irish Wolfhounds do well with kids; they are loyal and very protective.Nonetheless, their prey drive and hunting instinct make them prone to attacking other pets like cats.

    Are Irish Wolfhounds hypoallergenic?

    The Irish Wolfhound breed is not hypoallergenic since it tends to produce lots of dander due to its size and the structure of its coat.Furthermore, since they need to spend plenty of time outside, they can trigger even more allergies because their coat will catch dirt and allergens.

    Are Irish Wolfhounds Hypoallergenic?

    Despite having a wiry coat, the Irish wolfhound is an average shedder and is not a good choice for anyone looking for a “non-shedding” or lightly shedding dog.And since they do shed regularly, they aren’t hypoallergenic.

    How Much Exercise Do They Need?

    The Irish Wolfhound is a giant dog, and they must receive frequent and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.Exercise also gives all dogs an outlet for their natural need to roam and exposes them to varying stimuli.Due to the rapid growth rate during puppyhood, they need to avoid heavy exertion.The Irish Wolfhound experiences fast growth spurts, so over-exertion can impact their bones.

    Are There Any Health Issues to Consider?

    The Irish Wolfhound is fairly healthy for a giant breed.

    Am I Ready For A Dog?

    Is your dog’s coat looking a little shaggy? Our grooming guide will help you safely snip and get them looking (and feeling) good again.

    How Often Does an Irish Wolfhound Need Grooming?

    An Irish Wolfhound’s coat is wiry and rough which means a weekly brush is essential to keep their skin and coats in good condition.It’s also important for these dogs to be hand stripped at least twice a year and more especially when they shed most which is during the Spring and then again in the Autumn.

    What is the biggest Irish wolfhound dog?

    Great question! The Irish Wolfhound typically will win the price for the world’s tallest dog but the record.

    Are Irish wolfhounds safe around children?

    Irish wolfhounds are safe around children.Noted for their gentle, sensitive nature, canines of this kind tend to be easy going.

    Breeders – Where Can I Get An Irish Wolfhound?

    A good place to start is: http://www.irishwolfhoundsociety.

    How Much Do They Cost?

    Depending on the breeder and their location, an Irish Wolfhound’s average cost is between $1,500 and $2,000.It’s essential to find a reputable breeder known for providing a healthy, safe environment for the puppies.You may also be able to find a rescue organization from which you can adopt.This option can reduce the cost significantly but may take more time to get your pup.

    What Kind of Diet Does an Irish Wolfhound Need?

    Wolfhounds are giant-breed dogs and prospective owners need to budget and keep in mind the large volume of food required over their lifetime.Their peak growth occurs around 18 months of age and, during this period, they need a large amount of calories and specific nutrients to keep up with their rapidly growing bodies.Make sure that they are fed a large-breed puppy diet.They are prone to gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV or bloat), so it may be helpful to feed smaller, more frequent meals and to avoid exercise around mealtime.

    Can Irish Wolfhounds be trained for hunting snakes?

    Irish Wolfhounds can be trained to hunt snakes since they have a great prey drive.They have been used to hunt big and dangerous game since the beginning, and that would include snakes.

    Are Irish Wolfhounds Cuddly Horses In Disguise?

    Irish Wolfhounds are one of the most massive dog breeds out there.Oftentimes, they reach 115 to 180 pounds, and their lanky structure only makes them look larger.Despite their size, they’re known for being gentle giants who are more cuddly and laidback than you’d expect.

    How Long Do Irish Wolfhounds Live?

    Sadly, Irish Wolfhound life expectancy is relatively short.

    Will An Irish Wolfhound Fit In With Your Home?

    If you’re looking for a sizeable and lovable pup to devote time and energy to, an Irish Wolfhound might be a good fit.If you need a low-key dog that can live in a smaller space, you may need to reconsider.There are lots of breeds that can thrive in a smaller space.Check out our guide to miniature breeds for a closer look at some options on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Are Irish Wolfhounds Good Pets?

    If you are looking for a long-lived breed, the Irish Wolfhound is not for you.They live roughly 6 to 8 years and his giant size predisposes him to many health problems.

    Are Irish Wolfhounds Good with Children?

    Irish Wolfhounds are known to be gentle and loving towards children.They are excellent companions and are patient with children.If a family has very young children, they are encouraged to supervise them together, as the immense size of the Wolfhound can inadvertently knock over a child if they are not careful.Lastly, Irish Wolfhounds, like other large breeds, have relatively low energy levels compared to dogs smaller in size.Therefore, they may not be a satisfying playmate for children that have very high energy levels.

    Did Irish wolfhounds nearly go exist?

    By 1800, the number of wolves and elk across Ireland descreased, reducing the demand for Irish Wolfhounds.

    Can Irish Wolfhounds be good search and rescue dogs?

    Irish Wolfhounds are not good search and rescue dogs due to their big size.Their size makes it harder to transport them and makes them more susceptible to trauma and injuries.Not just that, it would be almost impossible for Irish Wolfhounds to use rescue ropes.

    How Much Exercise Does an Irish Wolfhound Need?

    This pooch will adapt to your lifestyle and, if permitted, can willingly become a couch potato.

    How Does the Irish Wolfhound Behave?

    The Irish Wolfhound temperament means he can truthfully be called a “gentle giant.

    What Is Their Life Expectancy?

    The Irish Wolfhound is a very short-lived breed and has an average life expectancy of six to eight years.The most influential factor in this giant breed’s lifespan is its sheer size, which takes a toll on the dog’s internal organs and joints.

    How Should We Tackle the Breed-Specific Diseases?

    I think it is important to realize that our dogs have not come up with heart disease, cancer and bloat in recent years purely as a result of irresponsible breeding.It is likely that heart disease and other problems have been connected with the breed for a very long time.

    How tall is an Irish wolfhound?

    The Irish Wolfhound is widely regarded as the tallest dog breed in the world.

    How much does and Irish Wolfhound weigh?

    While the Irish Wolfhound is, on average, the tallest dog breed in the world, several other breeds can outweigh them.

    Where Are Irish Wolfhounds From?

    The Wolfhound is a member of the sighthound group that includes Greyhounds, Afghans, and Scottish Deerhounds.They originated in Ireland, a result of crossing English dogs and Middle Eastern coursing hounds.The exact year of their creation is unknown, but they were written about as early as the 4th Century.They were such brilliant hunters of wolves and the now extinct Irish Elk that their prowess was said to exceed that of Mastiffs and Bulldogs.The breed nearly became extinct in the early to mid 19th century, when prey dwindled and they were no longer needed for the hunt.Fortunately, they experienced a resurgence in the late 1800’s when Captain George Graham of the British army concentrated on a careful breeding and standardization program to restore their numbers.Today, they are mostly companions, though some owners let their stretch their legs by competing in lure coursing.

    Should I Choose an Irish Wolfhound as Pet for My Family?

    Taking on a giant breed is not a decision to be taken lightly.

    Do Irish Wolfhounds Shed?

    In a word: yes.

    Were Irish Wolfhounds used to hunt wolves?

    Irish Wolfhounds were genuine wolfhunters, They were also used to hunt wild boar and deer.Obedient, fast learners, some were bred for use in war, often dragging men off horses and chariots.

    What Is The Best Dog Food For An Irish Wolfhound?

    Due to their incredible growth rate, Irish Wolfhounds must receive adequate nutrition to develop strong bones and healthy organs.High-quality dog foods eliminate the need for additional supplementation.Most breeders advise avoiding supplementation of this breed altogether since it can increase their already rapid growth and lead to more health concerns.


    I would love to live in a family that loves long walks and outdoor life.My ideal family has older kids and has time to spend with me.I love to live with other dogs and also rarely chase cats.

    What kind of dogs are part of your family?

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    Should I Get an Irish Wolfhound?

    This needs a lot of thought and the breed should be thoroughly researched.They are not a suitable breed for someone who works full time.An Irish Wolfhound needs to be with his family and can be extremely destructive when bored.

    Where Are Irish Wolfhounds From?

    The Wolfhound is a member of the sighthound group that includes Greyhounds, Afghans, and Scottish Deerhounds.They originated in Ireland, a result of crossing English dogs and Middle Eastern coursing hounds.The exact year of their creation is unknown, but they were written about as early as the 4th Century.They were such brilliant hunters of wolves and the now extinct Irish Elk that their prowess was said to exceed that of Mastiffs and Bulldogs.The breed nearly became extinct in the early to mid 19th century, when prey dwindled and they were no longer needed for the hunt.Fortunately, they experienced a resurgence in the late 1800’s when Captain George Graham of the British army concentrated on a careful breeding and standardization program to restore their numbers.Today, they are mostly companions, though some owners let their stretch their legs by competing in lure coursing.

    History of Irish Wolfhounds

  • In 1875, Scotland records the first showing of this Terrier as a recognized breed.
  • In 1879, the wolfhound had its first debut at a dog show in Dublin.
  • In 1880, German dog judges officially recognized the boar hound as a specific breed different from the German Mastiff.
  • In 1880, German dog judges officially recognized the boar hounds ( Great in!
  • In 1885 Captain Graham with other breeders founded the Irish Wolfhound Club, and the Breed Standard of Points to establish and agree the ideal to which breeders should aspire.[18][26]
  • In 1902 a hound was first presented to the Irish Guards as a mascot.
  • In 1922 the United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club was founded.
  • In 1925, they created the Dogo by integrating a variety of other breeds, including the Cordoba Fighting Dog, Pointer, Boxer, Great Dane, Bull Terrier, Old English Bulldog, Irish Wolfhound, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees, and Spanish Mastiff.
  • In 1928 Antonio Nores Martinez wrote the breed standard for the Dogo Argentino.
  • In 1928, Antonio Nores Martinez, a medical doctor, professor and surgeon, set out to breed a big game hunting dog that was also capable of being a loyal pet and guard dog.
  • In 1928, Antonio Nores Martinez, a medical doctor, surgeon, Professor, and founder of the breed, combined the qualities of the Perro de Pelea, a dog breed famed for its fighting abilities in Córdoba, with a range of other breeds, with the aim of improving size and physical strength.It was not until the 12th generation that Martinez got a litter of six dogs considered pure breed.
  • In 1947 the breed was finally created.
  • In 1964 the Argentina Rural Society and Cynologic Federation of Argentina recognized the Dogo Argentino as an official dog breed.
  • In 1973 the Argentina Kennel Club officially recognized the Dogo Argentino.
  • In 1986, breeder Gretchen Bernardi (Berwyck, U.S.) conducted a privately-funded study of longevity and morbidity in the Irish Wolfhound in the United States.
  • In 2009, her dog won won Best of Breed at the Eukanuba Dog Show; in 2010 she had the #1 Irish Wolfhound, the first of its kind to get the Grand Championship title in the U.S.
  • In 2012, with limited showing of another Irish Wolfhound, Gail’s dog placed # 4 in the nation, and received an invitation to the Westminster Dog Show.
  • In 2020 Ferrell, an Irish Wolfhound from Tennessee, was recorded at 7 feet 9 inches from the tip of the nose to the end of its tail.
  • In 2020, the sequencing of ancient dog genomes indicates that in two Mexican breeds the Chihuahua retains 4% and the Xoloitzcuintli 3% pre-colonial ancestry.
  • In the 1700s, a French naturalist was travelling in Denmark, where he found a different version of the Boar Hound that had a slimmer appearance and looked similar to the Greyhound.
  • In the 1920s Antonio Nores Martinez began trying to develop a breed of dog that could be a big game hunter in his native Argentina.
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