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Irish Wolfhound

Quick facts

Irish Wolfhound AKC Group: Hound
Height: Male: 34-38 inches, Female: 30-35 inches
Weight: Male: 120-135 lbs, Female: 90-105 lbs
Colors: gray, brindle, red, pure white, fawn and black
AKC recognized in: 1897

Irish Wolfhounds were among the first animals to be used in warfare. This is actually a very old dog breed. While horses were used to pull chariots, these dogs were trained to pull the drivers out. This tactic was also effective for horseback riders. This breed was also used as hunting dogs often to hunt for larger Irish elks. Size mattered for the wolfhound since they were used alone or in pairs instead of in packs.

Many believe that their use for hunting influenced their name rather than their appearance. The earliest references to the Irish Wolfhound dates as far back to Roman times. They were often used as royal gifts. This, combined with the disappearance of their prey, contributed to the breed's decline in Ireland.

The first thing to notice about the Irish Wolfhound is its large size and excellent stature. This breed is actually the tallest ones belonging in the Hound group. Being a hunting dog, you can expect power, agility and keen senses, especially its sight. A strong muscular frame allows this dog to perform demanding physical activities on the fly.


Irish Wolfhound Summary
Affection three paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training two paws
Energy level one paw
Exercise Requirements three paws
Friendliness : Children three paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness one paw
Protection Ability two paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

Despite their violent past, Irish Wolfhounds make for a great family dog. They are easygoing and quiet by nature which is very different from the dog the Ancient Romans feared. This dog breed is also known for being mild-mannered and patient making them ideal to be around children. Loyalty is also a major selling point for these dogs. Be warned though that they are not suitable for guard duty. They may be too friendly and welcome almost any stranger without alarm but their large size may be enough to scare people away.

Due to their hunting instincts, Irish Wolfhounds may react differently around other animals especially other dogs. If you are considering this dog breed and have other pets in the house, you may want to think twice before getting one. Early socialization should help you get around this problem. Keep in mind though that not all Wolfhounds have this problem.

Health and Exercise

Irish Wolfhounds only live to about five to seven years, a relatively short lifespan for dogs. This dog breed is prone to cardiomyopathy, gastric torsion (bloat) and bone cancer. Their diet should not include supplements if already consuming good dog food. The consensus among dog breeders is that this should be done to slow their rapid growth.

Although it is not as energetic as dogs of comparable size, this gentle giant still needs some exercise. A life in the countryside is highly recommended but city life works as well. Adequate space is needed to fulfill this dog's physical requirements though. As such, a large home and a large car should be in the arsenal of aspiring dog owners.

Caring for an Irish Wolfhound may be a handful for some. Its size and strict dietary requirements to prevent sickness are already demanding tasks for dog owners. In any case, expert advice should be sought as often as possible.

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have a Irish Wolfhound in your family, or know one in someone elses? Do you have a story to tell related to that Irish Wolfhound? Or maybe you have more questions that either or another of our visitors might be able to help you with? Feel free to add your comment or question below.


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