Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- Irish Wolfhounds are large and strong breeds of dog and, despite their appearance and size can actually move at quite a pace. Their name originates from their original purpose, that being wolf hunting. The Irish Wolfhound is a large breed with a medium length coat. The coat should always be rough and hard on the body, legs and top of the head. The hair around the eyes and muzzle should be wiry and slightly longer. The tallest and largest breed of the hound group, these muscular, powerful dogs have a commanding appearance whilst still being gracefully built.
- Other Names:Wolfdog, Irish Greyhound, Great Dog of Ireland
- Country Of Origin:Ireland
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Hound
- There are a number of colours that are acceptable to the breed including brindle, red, grey, wheaten, white, black and fawn.
- Wolfhounds are kind and gentle and show great courage. They are also very powerful. Affectionate, sweet natured, and well mannered, this breed makes a great companion. The Irish Wolfhound is very loyal and dignified. He quickly bonds with his family and does very well with other dogs and cats if he is properly socialized around them. They can sometimes forget how big they actually are so they should be supervised when playing with smaller children and other pets. They are, however, gentle natured dogs and are calm and level-headed indoors, making them great companions. All visitors will be welcomed with a friendly greeting!
- A Wolfhound movement should be free and active.
- Care and training:
- Brushing and combing this dog regularly is a must. The Irish Wolfhound is an average shedder and the coat responds well to rubber brushing. Professional plucking of the coat may be necessary to remove dead hair. The beard of this breed must be cleaned regularly.
The Irish Wolfhound proves to be a fast learner and will quickly grasp what you want him to do making him very obedient. This breed requires firm but gentle training. He should be taught as a puppy not to pull on the leash at this breed is very powerful and it can prove to be a problem in the future.
- Overall Exercise:
- 40 - 60 minutes per day.
As with many of the larger breeds, Irish Wolfhound puppies must be restricted in their activities. Their bones and joints can be damaged and they must be carefully supervised when playing with older more active dogs. Long periods of rests are essential for puppies on a daily basis. A large garden with a suitably high fence is a must as they will wander off on their own. As older dogs, they love a long walk in the countryside but will adapt to lesser exercise if necessary without it being a problem.
- Feeding Requirements:
- Diet should be monitored as this breed grows rapidly as a puppy. The breeder will be able to advise on the correct diet in the correct amounts. As bloat is known in the breed, it is recommended that the adult dog be fed twice daily, rather than one large meal once a day.
The feeding bowl should be raised off the ground and at a height where the dog does not have to bend down. As the puppy grows the height of the bowl will have to be adjusted accordingly.
- Personal Protection:High
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Low
- Level of Aggression:Low
- Compatibility With Other Animals:High
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:3-4
- Life Expectancy (yrs):7
- Health issues:
- Heart problems (heart disease), hip and elbow dysplasia, and cancers such as lymphoma. Other health concerns for the Irish Wolfhound include bone and kidney disease, eye problems, hypothyroidism, seizures, von Willebrand's disease, and bloat. Bloat is a common health issue to most dogs, being the most populous killer of dogs second to cancer. But Irish Wolfhounds are particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.
- Recorded in history is a letter from a Roman consul Symmachus written to his brother, Flavianus, thanking him for sending seven Irish Wolfhounds, and exclaiming that "All Rome viewed them with wonder." This occurred in 393 AD in Rome, and his brother, Flavianus was from Britain, suggesting that the hounds were already in Britain at the time. Back then, the breed is thought to have come in a variety of smooth/rough coats of different colors. It is said that the Celts took their hounds to Ireland around 1500 B.C. Known then as the "Cu", their name used to imply bravery and many warriors would prefix their own names with the word. Other names they have been called by are the Irish Hound and Irish Wolfdog. Currently in Ireland they are called the Cu Faoil. They were used in battle to pull men off of horseback and at times to hunt wolves. Irish history has many references to the Wolfhound. The breed was highly esteemed with myths and legends surrounding it. From 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. stories were written of the hound, involving Wolfhounds that could run around an entire city in one day, dogs that possessed supernatural intelligence, and others of this breed that would protect the lives of its owner at all costs.