The Irish Wolfhound is the world’s tallest breed of dog. This ancient breed originated in Ireland and was originally given the name “Cu” (variously translated as hound, war dog, wolf dog). The breed was given as gifts to the aristocracy and royalty in Ireland and abroad. The breed was almost extinct by the end of the 1700s, re-vitalisation as a breed occurred from 1860 and the wolfhounds of today descend from about 6-8 pure-bred wolfhounds.
A giant-sized dog, one of the tallest breeds in the world reaching the size of a small pony. A sturdy, swift dog more than worthy of the ‘Gentle Giant’ title. With a combination of strength and grace, their defining characteristic is their imposing height. Coat colours include brindle, red, black, pure white or fawn with gray being the most common.
Grooming and Physical Needs
- Grooming Needs: Moderate – regular brushing is important as it removes dead. Loose hair and excess dirt.
- Coat Type: Double layer coat, the outer coat is made up of longish rough hair.
- Moulting: Heavy – the undercoat moults twice a year, the outer coat moults once a year.
- Exercise Needs: As puppies it’s important not to over exercise them until their bones are fully developed, as adults they only need 20-30 minutes walk a day.
- Average Life Span: 6-10 years.
- Family: They thrive on company so are best suited to households where they are included as part of the family.
- Temperament: Affectionate and demonstrative with family and friends. They may sometimes seem aloof to strangers but will warm to someone once they have checked them out! Brave but not aggressive.
- Trainability: Very intelligent and learn quickly and require obedience training from a young age.
- Sociability (Other Pets): Generally good with other dogs and pets in the household as long as they are introduced at a young age.
- Barking: Low to no tendency – does not have the nature of a guard dog and does not bark to alert.
Due to their intelligence and ability to learn they can be trained in a variety of things including coursing, racing, trailing and agility.
Not a dog for a novice dog owner due to the care required in puppyhood and obedience training required.