The Irish Wolfhound is a large-sized dog with an authoritative presence. They are the largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, and their overall appearance denotes swiftness and power. The breed’s back is comparatively long, and their loins are well-arched. Their belly is well drawn up and their shoulders are muscular and sloping. They have a deep chest that is wide and well-breasted. Their well-arched neck is long, strong, and muscular, without loose skin or dewlap. Their forearms are brawny and muscular, and their legs are straight and well-muscled. Thighs of this breed are strong and muscular, and hocks are well let down. They have large, round feet and a set of well-arched toes with strong nails. The thick tail of the Irish Wolfhound is long and slightly curved. Their long, level head is carried high and their ears are small and Greyhound-like in carriage. The breed’s coat is rough and hard across the body, legs, and head, and it is especially wiry over the jaw and eyes. Recognized coat colors for this breed include gray, red, brindle, black, pure white, and fawn.
The Irish Wolfhound is patient, mild-mannered, and gentle. They are thoughtful, intelligent, and generous, and they get along well with children. They are unconditionally loyal to their owner and family. They are not a guard dog by nature, but their size can be a deterrent for intruders. Because of their social demeanor and propensity to greet everyone as a friend, the Irish Wolfhound does not make a particularly good watch dog. They are sometimes clumsy and slow to mature. Puppies of this breed should not be excessively exercised. They are a comparatively easy breed to train, and they learn best with firm, gentle methods. This breed gets along well with other dogs.
28 – 35 inches
90 – 150 pounds
Like many other large dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound is prone to hip dysplasia. Other health concerns include cardiomyopathy, bone cancer, PRA, and Von Willebrand’s disease. Some Irish Wolfhounds are susceptible to bloat. This breed typically lives for 6 to 8 years.
The ancestors of the Irish Wolfhound were the Cu, a massive, shaggy dog that was utilized to pursue wolves, wild boar, and elk. The Irish Wolfhound was often given as a royal present, and it eventually became so popular that the breed’s export from Britain was no longer allowed. As the wolf population dissipated in Europe, so did the Irish Wolfhound. The breed disappeared entirely in Ireland in 1766. It was later brought back to the country by the Romans, where it was then carefully bred by a British army officer named Captain George Graham in the second half of the 19th century. The Irish Wolfhound was re-invigorated by the influx of Great Dane and Deerhound blood.
The rough, medium-length coat of the Irish Wolfhound needs regular grooming with a brush and comb to keep it in good condition. It should be plucked once or twice per year to remove excess hair. This breed is an average shedder.
The Irish Wolfhound is not recommended for life in a small household or apartment. They are a comparatively inactive breed indoors, and they are happiest with at least a large-sized yard. Because of their giant size, they need a lot of space. This breed shouldn’t be kept in a kennel. Too much physical activity can put a strain on this breed’s growth and development.