The Irish Wolfhound is the largest sighthound and one of the biggest and strongest of all giant / large dog breeds. This sturdy Wolfhound has a long back, deep chest, long muscular legs and a long, slightly curved tail.
The hound’s coat is rough, coarse and wiry and appears rather unkempt. The hair is longer over the eyebrows and under its jaw. The Wolfhound is usually grey in color abut can range from white to brown or even red; and from grey to black.
Male Wolfhounds stand 31 to 36 inches tall at shoulder height and can weigh from 120 to 160 pounds. Female Wolfhounds stand 29 to 34 inches tall at shoulder height and can weigh from 100 to 130 pounds. Wolfhounds are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Hound Group.
History of The Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is also known as the Irish Greyhound and the Great Dog of Ireland and is called the national dog of Ireland. The breed has excellent eyesight which he used to chase down wolves and elk in feudal Ireland.
The Wolfhounds were given to royalty as presents. The breed was starting to disappear and was revived in the 2nd half of the 19th century. The Wolfhound was ranked 84th out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
Temperament of The Irish Wolfhound
The Wolfhound lives up to his name of the “gentle giant”. This breed makes a wonderful family dog as it is reliable, patient, sweet-tempered, intelligent and is good with children. The Wolfhound adores its family and is not aggressive towards strangers or family pets.
The Wolfhound is clumsy and awkward during its first few years and loves to tackle and play with anything that moves. The Wolfhound responds well to training and it should be given early obedience training so you can control this giant dog.
The Wolfhound is very sweet and sensitive and should undergo a lot of early socialization to encourage its self-confidence and prevent it from being shy. Toddlers must be supervised carefully around young Wolfhounds as they are in danger of being accidentally knocked over.
Fully-grown Wolfhounds can be left alone during the day as long as they get some moderate exercise before and after work. This breed does best with an experienced owner.
Irish Wolfhounds under two years of age should not be exercised strenuously as their bones and muscles are still growing. When they are fully grown Wolfhounds only need moderate exercise consisting of an on-leash daily walk and a good run inside an enclosed area every few days.
This is not a city dog and does best on a farm or a large enclosed lot with a high fence.
Wolfhounds do not shed much and just need a weekly grooming with brush and comb. Their coats should be hand plucked at least once per year to remove dead hair.
Wolfhounds only have a life expectancy of about 8 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, heart problems, bloat, epilepsy and tail injuries. The breed grows very rapidly during the first few years and needs to be fed a high quality diet that ensures enough vitamins and minerals.