Irish Wolfhounds


Irish Wolfhounds

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Average rating.


Breed Notes:

The ancestors of the Irish Wolfhound may have arrived in Ireland with the Celts from Europe. He was also popular with the ancient Romans. As a hunter of wolves, the popularity of the breed declined when the wolf population declined in Ireland. The breed type was revived during the 1840s through the efforts of Captain G.A. Graham of the British army who crossed the few remaining Wolfhound type dogs with the Great Dane and the Scottish Deerhound. Today, the Irish Wolfhound is the national dog of Ireland. The breed standard was established in Ireland in 1885. The Irish Wolfhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1950.
The Irish Wolfhound is friendly, kind and loyal, thus he is an excellent companion. Because he is very calm and dignified, without harshness of attitude, he does not make an effective guard or watch dog. He is the tallest dog in the world so needs plenty of room to move about and exercise. Apartment life is not a good home environment for him.
The Irish Wolf hound is a large dog who is very muscular yet graceful. His head is long with little definition between the top of the skull and the muzzle. The bite is scissors. The ears are small, rose shaped, and hang down along the neck. The neck is long, muscular and well arched. The chest is deep and the back is long. The body is longer than it is tall. The legs are long and straight. The coat is rough, harsh and wiry on the head. The hair is long around the eyes and the bottom of the jaw. Coat colors include gray, brindle, red, black, white, fawn, wheaten, steel gray. The tail is long, moderately thick and slightly curved. The Irish Wolfhound stands from 30 to 34 inches tall at the withers and weighs between 90 and 120 pounds.


manny@sprynet.com of Texas writes:

Not for everyone.
I have had Wolfhounds in my home for nine years and will never again live without one. For me, they get five stars. However, they are not the perfect dog. The Irish Wolfhound is an extremely pack-oriented animal and cannot be left alone for extended periods of time. They should be kept inside the home with a large, fenced area (an acre or more) for exercise. Their hair is longer and thicker than you think because it looks short on such a huge animal. Beware the constant shedding. They have to be with their people all the time so they are always in the way. They learn quickly not to jump up when someone steps over them but accidents happen. They love children but knock them over. IWs chase ANYTHING that moves. Cats, squirrels, bunnies, and other dogs are all fair game. Both my boys have chased deer. They cannot be left unattended in an unfenced area, they can be miles away in a half-hour if something invites them to a chase.
If you want a Wolfhound; read about them, talk to breeders, attend some dog shows. Make sure you understand their need for your constant companionship. When you get one, enjoy them every minute. Every accident, every mistake is a fleeting moment in their very short lives.


Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Wonderful dogs, but watch out for health problems.
I had two Wolfies (as we affectionately dubbed them). They were littermates, and wonderful dogs. They loved us, and we loved them. They were very trainable dogs, with an occasional dominance challenge, and very lazy. We often called them "big gray rugs." But just over six months ago, one of them passed away due to lymphoma. Then, not even two weeks ago, the other dog was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease and put to sleep.Wolfies are such big dogs that heart problems are not uncommon. Anyone who can handle the possibility of having a dog die prematurely (the first dog was three and the other one had just passed his fourth birthday) and a big dog, of course, I would recommend this breed to. They love children, and lots of other people too. Having two Wolfies is a good idea because they will play together and chase each other around.


pvhs@onperfect.com of Burlington, ME writes:

The most perfect creature under heaven.
Irish Wolfhounds are the original gentle giants; my dearest of the eight I've had passed on. She was seven and a half, blind (and spayed, of course) and 174 pounds of loving kindness. Her heart gave out. We have a 2.3-pound Pom/Chihuahua mix who always slept on "Auntie Kay." Sometimes people have a problem with the fact that they tend not to live quite as long as smaller dogs, but I agree with the man who said to me, "People who feel that way don't understand just how much joy an Irish Wolfhound gives its guardians every single day." There is no dog like them in the world, and just as stated above, one is never enough. Never overfeed, or over exercise, especially for the first year! Our Irish Wolfhounds are our well-beloved friends; they have their own couches, which you seriously must consider, if you have an IW &shyp; they will gladly share if you ask!


entertheiceman@hotmail.com of St. Martin, OH writes:

There are dogs, and then there are Wolfhounds.
The Irish Wolfhound truly sets itself apart from all other breeds in mannerisms and habits. The consumate companion, they NEED your attention. If you are a prospective owner, it is very easy to look at an adult Wolfhound and think, "I can deal with the size, and the special needs, this is the dog for me."
No matter the planning involved, the first time you bring a Wolfhound pup into your home, you will be suprised at the involvement that this breed requires. Put in the work at a young age and then sit back and enjoy the rewards of a Wolfhound becoming your loyal friend. A well-raised Wolfhound will bring you many more smiles than you thought you could have. Just remember to be patient with them in the beginning, and they will quickly prove why they have been loved by humans for so many years. They make wonderful and pleasing housepets.
Always remember not to fault them for things they cannot help. Their size for instance. They want to be by your side, so they may be in your way when you need to get that important phone call. These little deviations in your daily routine are well worth the ownership of an Irish Wolfhound.
In time you may feel that it would be nice if you had another Wolfhound to keep you and your first hound company. You will be correct in this assumption and raising the second will be an easier task and more fufilling because now you have a chase partner for your other hound. This takes some of the exercising pressure off of you. Watching them play you will quickly realize it might be nice to have three Wolfhounds around the house.


cmfd@msn.com of Austin, TX writes:

Irish Wolfhounds are the BEST!
There is nothing like an Irish Wolfhound. Those long legs, small ears and wonderful expressions. Their life is lived for their owner(s). My IWs love my daughter. It has to be the best breed on the planet. Of all the breeds of dogs we've owned none compare to the Irish Wolfhound.


rbauer1@neo.rr.com of Ohio writes:

The most loving creature God put on the earth.
We have been blessed with two of these great creatures. Our first lived well into his thirteenth year and passed away gently in his sleep. We received him as a secondhand dog at fourteen months of age. He was my constant companion. Our second Wolfhound was my sweet favorite. I lost my heart the day we first saw him at the breeder's home. Six months after we brought him home he was at a special clinic for abnormal bone growth on his left front elbow. He sailed through the long operation &shyp; no bone cancer, thank goodness &shyp; and enjoyed the extra attention he received with the orange cast he had to wear for eight weeks. Alas, at five years old he had a bout with bloat in the middle of the night &shyp; a two-hour drive and emergency surgery saved him again! On March 7, 2001 he went to his favorite doc's office for excessive thirst. The results of testing were not good but we had gone through so much together I was sure we would win now too. He had lymphomic cancer. We drove to Columbus three times a week for chemo and he did well. He knew I loved him and tried to get better. On June 21st I finally made the decision I had dreaded for so long. Along with my trusted companion I made the last drive to our doctor. I came home alone. Even now, more than a year later I can't speak or even think of him without tears. These animals are a gift from God. In my travels throughout this last year I have searched for another of these giants but have not found another. My first Wolfie was never ill. My second one was never really healthy despite my efforts. I blame the breeder, so research that breeder. And then research the breeder more. If size seems to be important then find another source. The larger the animal the more problems there seems to be. I will share my life with another Wolfhound, but I must wait for the pain to diminish some first. You never will own any other breed that can compare to the faithfulness of a Wolfie.


warehart@columbus.rr.com of Dublin, OH writes 11/1/00:

Tears your heart apart.
I hate the fact that bone cancer is a common disease .You can end up with amplitation of a limb , 5 kemo treatments, and still end up losing a big part of you family its like a long drawen out death that just tears you heart apart to watch!


Wildroseiw@aol.com of Austin, TX writes on 10/10/99:

One of the world's best family dogs
A well bred Irish Wolfhound is calm, dependable and loyal. They adore children and MUST be part of the family. IWs are NOT suited to a life outside without a lot of human contact - it will break the dog's heart. A poorly bred IW could be a disaster with severe health and temperamnet problems. The Irish Wolfhound is a huge dog with a heart to match but they are not for the person who does not have equal heart to invest. They are not suitable as guards in any situation. As a member of the sighthound family, they will chase anything that runs - a sturdy fence is a MUST.


camms@wwonline.com of Brampton, ON writes on 10/10/99:

A large loyal family dog truly fits the name Gentle Giant
Irish Wolfhounds are gentle guardians with their families and with children whether their own
or others. A giant breed, special consideration must be given to commitment to exercise and fencing at the home. A young dog can be clumsy and inadvertently knock over toddlers. While fairly easily trained most become bored very easily and obedience titles are few and far between on this breed. Wolfhounds are a deterrent as a result of their size alone, and do not need to be at all vicious to protect their owners. Shy and/or aggressive lines should be steered clear of and should be a consideration to those with young families.


ldurkin@durkinlawfirm.com of New Jersey write on 9/5/01:

The most gentle kind loving addition to any family.
We have had IWs for the past 15 years. They are fantastic with children and other pets in house. Our Jack Russels sleep on top of the IW! Due to their size, they do need room to move around in the house.We don't keep breakables in the path of their tails.They are extremely easy to train, very willing to please you, but make sure you train them when they are young before they can reach the counter-top! We also train them to wait to go thru a gate or get out of the car. This is important because when they are full grown they can knock you over. Easy to train them to wait.They are not apartment or condo dwellers. We found that the invisible fence was not great for them because they were severely afraid of it. All they need is a large srurdy fenced in area. Love to go for walks. Since they are large, we do landscape and garden w/ them in mind. We do a lot of pot plantings etc. Each of ours has found his favorite spot in the yard under a tree to dig a hole to sit in. You can't care about the grass in that area. The most difficult aspect of the breed is their short life expectancy. They absolutely tear at your heart strings, so it is very difficult to say good-bye. Research the line for illnesses etc. Purchase from a reputable breeder. Treasure each moment that you have with your IW.


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