An Irish Wolfhound is a large breed of dog that originates from, as its name says, Ireland. It is a breed of dog which was made for wolf hunting and it was purposefully made to be used in such way. There have been some misconceptions which said that the dog looked like a wolf and was given a name because of that. Even though they do have a menacing appearance to them, they are a domestic breed of dogs are also used as guard dogs today. Their great size and look is what characterizes them the most.
Irish Wolfhound History & Origins
The history of the Irish Wolfhound actually takes a long way back. The origin of this dog breed actually goes back to 700 BC in Ireland. There are no records on how this dog made it here but we there numerous ones about its use. Even then, Irish Wolfhounds were admired because of their size and strength. They have been used early on as war dogs and hunting dogs. They used to pull people from chariots and also hunted elk, boar and wolfs of course, which was the reason they were given their names. These dogs were a part of Irish nobility and only noble people were meant to have them. The more power and fame you have the more wolfdogs you were allowed to have. Irish kings soon started giving this dog as a gift to the coming rulers and this also meant the spread of the breed around Europe. They even made it to Rome.
But with the decline of the elk and the boar in Ireland so has the need for these hounds lessened. But with the help of some advocates of the breed in the 19th century the Irish Wolfhound was saved from extinction and was further developed to what it looks today. It is believed that they crossbred Glengarry Deerhounds, Borzoi, and a Tibetan Mastiff to revitalize the breed, and later added the Great Dane to the mix.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Irish Wolfhound may be enormous in size, but his appearance does not define his nature. In fact this dog is a bit introvert and reserved but is also very intelligent. These dogs can form an attachment to individuals but are not really good in protecting their territory. This makes they not good guard dogs and they can work well with an individual or an owner but will not do well when they need to protect the house. But once they form a bond with a person, they will do anything to protect him or her. Due to their gentle nature, they are also very good with kids. They have no problems with other dogs as well and you can raised other ones alongside an Irish Wolfhound.
Training can be done fairly easy, but you should not use coarse language nor be overly aggressive towards the dog. Harsh words will cause the dog to become antisocial. Try using positive language and treat rewards when training your dog. The Irish Wolfhound’s behavior has changed drastically along the years and they are now mush softer and sweeter dogs compared to the war hounds used in battle all those years ago.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The Irish Wolfhound is generally described as very muscular and strong bodied dog. It has a graceful build but is very active for its great size. It is actually the size which defies this dog the most. The neck is carried proudly while the tail is swept upward.
The average size for an Irish Wolfhound goes all the way to 32 inches for males and 30 inches for females. A male will also probably weight about 120 pounds and a female dog will go all the way to 105 pounds.
They have a rough coat with long hair and are often unkempt. The coat is actually the main reason why these dogs resemble a wolf and why they are given an aggressive connotation, although they are not. The coat color is usually either gray, brindle, red, black, white, fawn, or wheaten.
Irish Wolfhound Health
The biggest flaw that all big dog breeds have is their short lifespan, and the Irish Wolfhound is no different. In fact, on average these massive dogs live about 7 years, with 6 being the lowest and 10 years being the highest.
There are still certain conditions which will prevent the dog reaching its full life expectancy. Some of the given conditions and illnesses include dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer, which are the leading causes of death for an Irish Wolfhound. Others include gastric torsion and portosystemic shunt.
Grooming & Shedding
When it comes to shedding, Irish Wolfhounds shed constantly during the year. This means that you have to do a lot of grooming in order to keep this dog tidy. Although this breed looks anything but tidy, there are certain ways you can help your dog look nice.
Frequent brushing is necessary and you should do it on a weekly basis. Baths are also not necessary and the most you can give one to your pet is twice a year. You can also do it more if the dog gets to be extra dirty. Some additional grooming includes plucking the hair out of your dog’s ear.
Also do not forget to brush your dog’s teeth and you can do it once a week. Trimming your dog’s nails can also be important and it is advised to do that once or twice a month.
Irish Wolfhound Price and Breeders
Since the Irish Wolfhound is one of the largest dog breeds in the world, you can expect it to come cheap. The price will range somewhere between 1,500 USD and 2,000 USD for a puppy. But what is great about this is that there are numerous breeders located in various places of the world. Of course the most respectable ones are still found in Ireland, but more and more have spread to other corners of the world, making it fairly easy to get this dog.
Irish Wolfhound Rescue
You have many options to rescue an Irish Wolfhound. This is a very popular way today when deciding to get your own dog. There are more kennels and organizations today than they ever were. It is not uncommon for people to look to this way when it comes to finding a pet for you. If you are interested we suggest that you look for one at Irish Wolfhound Club of America Rescue and Irish Wolfhound Club of Canada and they will provide you with their offer for you to choose.