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Irish Wolfhound

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Irish wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world with its 28-35 inches shoulder height. The wolfhound was originally bred for hunting, but that is illegal today. Instead it is a loving and friendly family dog, which becomes very attached to its family. Despite its great size this breed only requires limited exercise and it does not eat an overwhelming lot.

Character and behaviour
Irish wolfhound is an utmost intelligent breed, which will do everything possible to please its owner. It is good with children and puts up with a lot. Its loving and gentle nature contributes to the dog not being suited as a guard dog. It greets visitors warmly. However, it will start barking if it feels uncomfortable or sense that its people are insecure.

Indoors the Irish wolfhound is nice and quiet. So despite of its size it is not inconvenient given that it will either lye down or walk carefully around. It takes about to years for an Irish wolfhound to grow up mentally and physically. But due to their size they grow fast and must be fed quality feed.

An Irish wolfhound is relatively easy to train. It requires firm, but gentle and consequent training. It is important that it, as a puppy, gets exercise daily, but it should not be overdone. As long as, socialisation is being provided the Irish wolfhound will have no problems associating with other dogs. However, it is difficult to wean it from chasing other small animals such as rabbits and cats.

History of the breed
Irish wolfhound was originally used for hunting wild boars and deer and as guard dog and fighting dog. It can be dated back to the centuries before Christ. In 1400 the wolf population in Ireland became really big and a bill was passed saying that all estates had to have at least 24 wolfhounds. It was in connection with this specialisation of the dog that it got the name Irish wolfhound.

In 1800 when the wolves became extinct the wolfhound was also on the brink of extinction. However, a dedicated breeder managed to re-establish the breed. And today, the Irish wolfhound is the national dog of Ireland.

Appearance, grooming and health
Irish wolfhound is a very large dog with a friendly expression. The head is long and narrow. The ears are small and turned backward when the dog relaxes. The legs are straight and strong. The long slightly bend tail is hanging down. The back is long. The chest is deep and the lower back is arched.

Irish wolfhound is 28-35 inches and weighs 90-150 pounds.

The coat can vary in colour from cream coloured to almost black. The coat has a coarse feeling to it and is longer over the eyes, under the jaw, and on the chest. It requires regular brushing in order to remove dead hair.

Irish wolfhound may be prone to suffer from heart conditions, bone cancer and bloat. In return, it hardly ever suffers from hip dysplasia. Due to its size the average age of an Irish wolfhound is only 7 years.

What you should know about the breed:

  • A friendly and loving dog.
  • Enjoys running free, but does not require excessive exercise
  • .

  • Becomes closely attached to the family.
  • Does not like to be home alone for longer periods.
  • Good with children.
  • Suitable as a family dog.

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