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Irish Wolfhound

While some might argue that the Irish Wolfhound of antiquity was far more fierce than his modern counterpart, the legends surrounding the breed since the Middle Ages speak of a devotion and loyalty that would be familiar to the IW fancier of today.  Perhaps the only part of the dog that exceeds his/her remarkable size, is the size of their heart, which far exceeds the capacity of their chest when properly considered.  This trait alone, likely creates many fans and adoration, enough that concessions are created for this vast hound that requires large, fenced areas for exercise, an understanding family since obedience will likely never come as easily to this noble, independent hound as to some other breeds (despite their remarkable intelligence) and the painfully short lifespan (relative to smaller dogs).  Perhaps, if you are inclined to live with legends and myths in your living room its not too great a price to pay however.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): HoundsSighthound Height: min height of 30 inches as adults
Weight: minimum weight of 105 lbs as adults Longevity: 6-8 years
Colors: gray, brindle, red, black, fawn or any color that appears in the Deerhound Coat type: rough and hard over the entire dog offering a grizzled appearance
Recognized Registries: NCA, FCI, UKC and others
Overall Appearance: Majestic, the Irish Wolfhound towers as the tallest and largest breed in the canine world. A galloping Sighthound, his/her size is only matched by the sleek greyhound like lines beneath the heavy, shaggy coat.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to low
General Nature: rather relaxed and low-key as adults; very intelligent but like many sighthounds not always easy to motivate with standard items (food, toys, etc.)
  with Children: generally exceptional but children must be supervised and the dog socialized
  with other pets: generally very good but may be inclined to chase some
  with dogs: generally exceptional
Socialization requirements: moderate; the easy going nature is often the result of exceptional nurturing and security in their environment which only comes as a result of thorough socializing
Ideal home characteristics: One that appreciates the exceptional demands of a dog that will be at least 105 pounds (usually more) with notable health concerns, exercise requirements and a painfully short lifespan. Large fenced areas are virtually mandatory due to poor recalls.
Temperament Notes: Intelligent, easy going, peace loving, quiet
Training requirement: moderate, socializing and basic manners at minimum
Trainer notes: The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of remarkable presence and charming, calm nature (at least as adults).  Like most Sighthounds, they are not easily motivated for many dog/owner activities (tend to be distracted by the horizon and the wolf or deer that beckon).  While they do often participate in lure coursing they are not typically the most passionate competitors even in that sport.  This nature also makes a reliable recall difficult if not virtually impossible.  The issue with training an Irish Wolfhound, like all Sighthounds, is not a lack of intelligence or even a desire to please as much as a lack of ability on the part of typical/average trainers, to motivate the dog.  Complex personality that brings out the best in those that choose to work with them but not necessarily many High in Trials.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 273 BC
Country of Origin: Ireland
Original Function: Staghound, Wolfhound, Deerhound
History: Cherished as powerful and meaningful reflections of the mighty royalty that owned them, the Irish Wolfhound's history is twined with incredible myth and legend of fearless companions and they devotion that outshown that of their companions.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: overly refined, incorrect coat or coat that seems terrier-like, poor head and/or dentition
Health Notes: heart failure, bloat, cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, vWd, thyroid issues, liver shunt, OCD, megaoesophagus, eye problems, FCE
Health Testing: CERF, OFA for hips and elbows, thyroid panel, checked as pups for megaesophagus and liver shunt,
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Irish Wolfhounds?
  • How long have you been breeding Irish Wolfhounds?
  • What health concerns have you seen in the breed?
  • What health concerns do you screen for and is it documented?
  • What age do you send your puppies to their new homes?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • What did you specifically look for in breeding this pair?
  • Do you microchip your puppies?
  • What do you consider the ideal Irish Wolfhound temperament?
  • What would you consider the ideal Irish Wolfhound home?
  • What suggestions do you have for socializing and training an Irish Wolfhound puppy?
Web Sites: Irish Wolfhound Rescue Contacts Nationwide Irish Wolfhound Rescue Article "Too Much Trouble"


Other Resources
Breed standard: Irish Wolfhound Standard of Excellence as per the IWCA

Breeder Ethics: Standard of Ethical Conduct as per the Irish Wolfhound Club of America


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