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Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound


The history of the Irish Wolfhound in Ireland is well documented. From the first century AD there are many tales of these prized giant dogs, fearless and heroic, on deer hunts and in battle. Around 391 AD, Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius is said to have thanked his brother for a gift of Irish Hounds, the first such dogs in the city of Rome. King John of England presented one to the Prince of Wales in 1210. And decades later, Henry VIII requested the breed, and a brace was sent to Queen Elizabeth I. As you can see the Irish Wolfhound was a much coveted gift of royalty. By 1879, The Kennel Club of England admitted the Irish Wolfhound into its registry, while in America the first two were also registered. World War II saw a sad decline in the breed, but was revitalized in Britain when a prestigious American breeder sent a gift of one of her finest stud Wolfhounds. Thus the breed was able to make a come back and continues to be a treasured breed worldwide to this day.


A giant in size, with a heart to match, the Irish Wolfhound is by nature gentle and gentlemanly. Life with the Irish Wolfhound requires commitment and companionship. This is a breed whose life's desire is to be right by your side, at home or in the field. They have an affinity for the young and an instinctive rapport with the old and handicapped. Assured but not aggressive, the Irish Wolfhound is compatible with other dogs and enjoys a canine friend. But don't forget their origins as a hunter! Small dogs, cats, or other pets may lead them to chase and catch, as well they may be tempted by sheep and goats. For this reason, the Irish Wolfhound requires supervision around other animals and consistent socialization. Training brings out their best - affection, courage and dignity.

Breed Standards:

  • Hound Group
  • Males are 32 inches minimum at withers, 120 pounds minimum
  • Females are 30 inches minimum at withers, 105 pounds minimum
  • Full body maturity is reached at 2 years
  • Average litter = 3 – 4 puppies
  • Average life span is 7 – 9 years
  • Medium length, rough coat
  • Colors = Grey, Brindle, Red, Black, Fawn, White

Everyday Care:

  • Exercise: The Irish Wolfhound will never reach their full physical and mental soundness without an exuberant off-leash sprint or two at least once a day. Galloping is in their blood and it’s very important that you have an area that will lend itself to this exercise safely.
  • Feeding: It is best to feed two or three meals a day instead of only feeding once. An Irish Wolfhound should never be exercised one hour before feeding or for two hours afterwards. And they should never be allowed to gulp water.
  • Grooming: Daily brushing is required to stimulate the Wolfhound’s natural skin oils. Bathing is necessary only a couple of times per year. But the Irish Wolfhound does require hand stripping from time to time. Ears should be checked weekly and cleaned if needed. And nails should be trimmed when you can hear them clicking as the dog walks across the floor.
  • Attention: A Wolfhound should be kept in a home with his family. This is definitely not an outdoors-only or kennel dog. Because this is a bright, energetic breed, training and supervised play are crucial to the development of your relationship with them. Positive reinforcement, not punishment, is the very best method of training this quick-witted giant.

Health Considerations:

  • Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Cardio Myopathy
  • Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
  • Liver Shunt
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Progressive Retinal Apathy
  • Bone Cancer & Lymphosarcoma

Am I Right for You?

  • My adolescent years can be particularly challenging, as I am very clumsy and have a lot of energy at this stage in my life.
  • I need to be with my family, and CANNOT be left alone for hours on end.
  • I can live comfortable in an apartment, but require a large open space that will be safe for me to gallop in once a day.
  • I may chase and hurt other small pets or livestock.
  • You must be willing to be consistent with obedience training and socialization.