Irish Wolfhound

The tallest dog in the world, the Irish Wolfhound is a large, swift animal with a muscular build and graceful movements. Its head is long, with a slightly pointed muzzle, ears that are held back on the sides of the head, and an expression of kindness and nobility. Its tail is long, thick, slightly curved and covered with hair. Its coat is hard and coarse all over its body but wiry and long over the eyes and underneath its jaw. The Irish Wolfhound may be colored gray, black, red, brindle, pure white, or fawn.

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Fast Facts

Hound
6 - 8 years
Ireland
Antiquity
120 lb+
105 lb+
32"+
30"+
Iresh Wolfhownd or Irish Wolf Hound.
None

Irish Wolfhound Photos

Irish Wolfhound Temperament

The Irish Wolfhound is a friendly, happy, fun-loving dog that is great with children, strangers, other dogs and pets....

It loves to meet new people so do not count on it to be a guard dog. The Irish Wolfhound is intelligent and quickly understands what you are asking of it, and is quite attuned to its owner’s feelings. Though this dog is unquestionably a gentle giant, its imposing appearance is likely to make intruders think twice; a dog-wise burglar, however, will know that this breed is much more likely to give him a lick than a bite.

Caring For a Irish Wolfhound

If you’re thinking about adding an Irish Wolfhound to your home, you should make sure you have room because this is a big dog!...

Irish Wolfhounds need a large, soft bed to sleep in and are not suited to sleeping on hard ground. A yard is also required, as this breed needs plenty of room to stretch its legs and move around. Though not a particularly active breed, the Irish Wolfhound nevertheless needs exercise every day; a long walk is usually sufficient. A well exercised Irish Wolfhound will be calm and quiet in the house. Gastric torsion and elbow dysplasia are fairly common in this breed. Irish Wolfhounds have also been known to develop canine hip dysplasia, cariomyopathy and osteosarcoma.

Irish Wolfhound History

A Brief History of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed whose origins are shrouded in mystery and obscured by time....

Experts on the breed believe it was brought to Ireland sometime around 1500 BC, possibly from Greece. Known to the Celtic people as Cu, meaning hound or wolf dog, the Irish Wolfhound is mentioned in Irish laws and literature predating the Christian era. Traditionally the dog could only be owned by the nobility, but by the time the Romans first encountered the Irish Wolfhound in 391 AD it had become more widespread. The dog was prized by the Irish people for its ability to take down wolves and enormous Irish Elk, which often stood over eight feet in height. By the 19th century the Irish Wolfhound had fallen on very hard times. The Irish Elk was long extinct, and wolves had also disappeared from the Emerald Isle during the previous century. The dog’s numbers were further cut down by the Irish Potato Famine of 1845, and by the 1860s the breed had almost gone the way of its former quarry. In 1862, a breeder by the name of Captain George Graham took it upon himself to save the breed. Graham gathered the last remaining wolfhounds in Ireland and successfully bred them to Scottish Deerhounds, Great Danes, Tibetan Wolfdogs and other large breeds. Through his efforts the breed was saved, and enjoyed a renaissance as a show breed and companion pet. The Irish Wolfhound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1897.