We are one of the giants in dog breeds, and not just in stature. We’ve been around since the time of the Ancient Romans and were held in great esteem around the 12th to the 16th century in Ireland. There we were used to hunt bear, stag, elk and of course wolves! Sadly when the last wolf was wiped out of Ireland, we became almost extinct too. Fortunately we were revived around the 19th century using our last few remaining specimens. Today we are a popular and secure breed with a huge army of owners and admirers who enjoy our qualities.
What do I look like?
Well as we’re the tallest of all dog breeds you can imagine we have a commanding presence! We’re strong and muscular too. Our head is long and the skull not too broad. Our muzzle is long and moderately pointed with a black nose at its end. Our ears have a lovely velvety texture – perfect for stroking! Our body is long with a deep chest and arched loins on long legs. To complete the package our tail is predictably long and slightly curved.
What do I need from you?
Right, in no particular order of importance: food, exercise, a bit more food and some heavy-duty poo bags. Did I mention food? We’re big and proud of it, but with that comes a need for exercise and good sized meals. We’re such gentle creatures that we’d probably do our best to get along in a tiny house – but in reality we’d knock everything over so really need a bit more space. The Irish Wolfhound dog coat is rough and shaggy which doesn’t need too much maintenance. Just the odd bath, but that would be more for your benefit than ours! Bone cancer is common amongst our breed and we do suffer from gastric bloat. Whilst there is sadly little you can do about the former, it would be advisable for our owners to be aware of the symptoms of bloat and emergency treatment (ideally getting to a vet quickly or administering some Pepcid).
What I will give in return
Despite our size, we are remarkably even-tempered and friendly. It’s very rare to get many behavioural problems with our breed. I guess if we’re left alone for long periods we can become quite destructive, particularly in our formative years. We are tolerant with children and old folk alike. We can be a little reserved with strangers but seldom aggressive. We are fairly obedient and easy to train.
How big will I get?
Urm, how big do you want? Typically we’ll reach a height of around 31in (71cm). We’re quite lean though so we only hit the scales at around 120lb (54kg). Hope you’ve got a big car?
How long should I be around for?
Sadly we’re not here for a long time. Our typical lifespan is 6 to 10 years max, so enjoy every moment.
How big is our litter?
Irish Wolfhound dogs tend to have small litter of 3-4 pups.
How long have you got? Amongst the many famous people that have owned us are US presidents Robert Kennedy, Herbert hoover and George Washington. Modern celebrities include Sting, Roger Moore and Claudia Schiffer. If you are familiar with the story of Gelert, the dog of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, then you may know that he was an Irish Wolfhound!
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Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.