There’s hardly a dog more striking than the Irish Wolfhound. So aptly named, the dog’s scrappy appearance and majestic stance draw in onlookers everywhere he goes. This hunting breed dates backs to Roman times. He carries his lineage proudly with a thoughtful, protective nature.
Physical CharacteristicsIrish Wolfhounds are one of the most recognizable breeds. Easily identified by their massive size, Wolfhounds are the tallest of any AKC breed, even larger than the Great Dane. They are generally slim and graceful with a long, curving tail.
These sight hounds have wiry fur in shades of gray, fawn, white, black, red and brindle. They have heavy, deep chests with long legs. Most Wolfhounds have pensive gazes and carry a sense of confidence with their heads always raised highly. They look especially noble while hunting and chasing after prey or a desired object.
TemperamentThe striking looks of an Irish Wolfhound draw in many admirers. However, it is temperament that turns admirers to loyal fans. An intelligent and reserved breed, the Wolfhound isn't prone to clownish antics. He is ever dignified and unique in his own right. No two Irish Wolfhounds are the same.
Irish Wolfhounds are often chosen as family pets as they bond well with their owners. Most are cautious and loving with children with proper training. Their large size and quiet nature require consistent but kind guidance.
These dogs are often much more patient than other breeds. An Irish Wolfhound makes an excellent companion for long walks and outdoor events. He has both the stamina and calm nature to transition well from place to place. Teach your Wolfhound manners in short, regular training sessions. Giving your dog a job to do such as carrying a pack builds trust and confidence, especially for this workhorse of a breed.
Care & GroomingGive your young Irish Wolfhound plenty of time to mature. It is crucial that this dog receives plenty of exercise. However, overexerting him will only cause development issues. Allow plenty of time between feedings and exercise to avoid stomach upset and gastric torison. Dogs of this size require careful consultation with a knowledgeable veterinarian. They are prone to skeletal and joint issues.
As for grooming, Irish Wolfhounds are generally low-maintenance. They need weekly brushings and regular nail trimming. Use a stripping brush to gently remove tangles and dead hair. Use grooming scissors and brushes to keep his coat neat and tidy. By doing so you'll avoid painful mats. Be sure to begin grooming sessions at a young age. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with a large, ornery dog at bath time.
HistoryThe Irish Wolfhound has a long and fascinating history. There are texts mentioning the giant Irish dog from as early as 600 AD. It was often referred to as the "Cu," which roughly translates to the breed's present-day name. The breed was used to hunt as wolves as one might guess from its name. Reports tell of Irish Wolfhounds killing as many as 40 wolves in one single night of hunting. They were only owned by nobility and massively exported across Europe during the early 19th century. This excess of popularity left the breed in jeopardy of extinction.
Thanks to Captain George A. Graham, the Irish Wolfhound still exists today. He saved the breed's lineage and created its standard by 1885. Efforts were again made during both World War I and II to keep the breed alive. In 1925, it joined the Kennel Club in the sporting breed category.
Despite the breed's name, it is not recognized as the official dog of Ireland. The breed's fans range far and wide. The official Irish Wolfhound Society was created in 1981. They work to ensure that the breed will live on to its standards and monitor hereditary health problems.