Originated in Irelands, the Irish wolfhound is a strong looking yet gentle breed of dog.
The Irish wolfhound is the largest breed of dog in sighthounds (chases moving prey) & tallest of all the dog breeds.
They were used as both a war dog & a hunting dog. There was a declination of this breed during the 90s but was revived and has made its way to people’s hearts.
Irish wolfhound breed of dogs is very good with socializing. However, due to their size, they are not suitable for apartment living families.
They are playful this second and the other second they become a couch potato. Despite being a hunting dog, they are gentle and loving.
Irish Wolfhound Pictures
Average weight: 120-180 pounds (male), 105-140 pounds (female)
Average height: 32-35 inches (male), 30-33 inches (female)
Life expectancy: 6-8 years.
Dog Group: Hound.
Colors: Grey, black, brindle, red, white and fawn.
They are the tallest dogs in the world with a height of 32-35 inches!
At A Glance
Irish wolfhound size can be intimidating. They are the tallest of all the dog breeds and has a height of 30-35 inches with 110-150 pounds of weight.
If an Irish wolfhound stands on his legs, he can attain a height of 7 feet!
Affection Level (5/5):
They may come to you as a scary breed of dogs but are quite the opposite of scary. They are extremely lovable and loves to be with their people.
This muscular looking giant does not act stubborn and act very nicely in front of strangers, too.
Apartment Friendly (2/5):
Though they are socializing entities, yet their large size makes them not-so-suitable for people living in an apartment.
Irish wolfhound doesn’t need a lot of indoor exercises. However, they need quite a space to move around freely. So, any house with a decent-sized yard will be well-suited with this breed.
Cold Weather Tolerability (4/5):
With its origin being Ireland, the Irish wolfhound is well-acquainted with cold weather. They won’t be needing any extra clothing material to handle the breeze
Irish wolfhound has a double layer of coat fur- the outer layer (wiry) & inner coat (soft) – which makes them adaptable to cold weather conditions.
Hot Weather Tolerability (2/5):
They are well suited in cold environments so it is difficult for them to survive in hot weather.
Even during moderately hot weather that reaches up to 28-30°, Irish wolfhound will prefer to stay indoors and roll over the cold floor
You may come up with ideas like shaving off their hair, but that’s a big NO!
Shaving their hair will make them prone to have sunburn and rashes.
Barking Tendencies (1/5):
If you’re looking for a quiet and silent dog who doesn’t bark too much, this may be the perfect one for you.
Although they were bred to hunt, Irish wolfhound temperament doesn’t have barking as a part.
Irish wolfhound has a prey instinct but does pretty great with cats if brought up together from a young age.
They see every pet in the family as a part of the family.
Irish Wolfhound dogs are fairly good with other dogs. They may get aggressive with the dog of sex, as they like to show dominance.
Early socialization with dogs and other pets is important to get them acquainted with the surrounding.
Exercise Needs (2/5):
Due to being a giant-sized dog, they don’t have a lot of energy levels. But they will be needing a minimum of 40 minutes of walk in the park.
During their puppyhood, it is advised not to let them go through heavy exercises.
Irish wolfhound puppies have sensitive bode structures and are prone to damage.
Grooming Needs (3/5):
Irish wolfhound shedding happens quite frequently. They need regular brushing or hair to keep their double-layered coat shiny and tangle-free.
If you want your wolfhound to look neat, trim some hair from around the eye region and beard region.
Occasional trimming of hair and nails are advised. Bathe the dog only when they get stinky.
Irish wolfhound seeks companionship. Though they are not a highly energetic breed of dogs, yet are playful & like to run in the yard and enjoying a game of fetching with their human friends.
Training an Irish wolfhound won’t be challenging as they are fast learners.
It is to keep in mind that they respond fast to positive training so keep them elated by appreciating them and giving them treats.
Training and exercising them is important because they can become destructive if they are not getting enough activity, which is common in almost all hunting dogs.
They are an intelligent breed of dogs and holds 41st rank out of 137 in the intelligence list of dogs.
They require almost 25-40 repetitions for understanding a new command. Positive training will make them learn commands effortlessly.
Ever dog, small or big, tend to chew or nip things around them.
Most of the dogs chew things during mouthing periods. Irish wolfhound also has a mild habit of chewing things or nag their owners with gentle bites.
Their mouthiness is controllable with the help of training.
Price group (4/5):
Irish wolfhound price can be overwhelmingly high, and they also fall under the top 10 priciest dog breeds in the world. The price also varies with the breeder. It can be $1500- $5000 for a healthy Irish wolfhound puppy.
Irish wolfhound rescue price can be around $400.
The appeared in many poetry. One of them is “The Irish Greyhound” by Katherine Phillips.
About Irish Wolfhound
Irish wolfhound was used by the troops as a war dog. They also portrayed a sign of nobility during early times.
Now, they are making their way to many homes as a companion dog full of liveliness in them.
Their looks can be intimidating but are gentle and friendly. They are a poor choice for those who are looking for a watch or guard dog.
They have good social skills and get along with other pets and humans if brought up together from a dog age.
Being from the hound group, they may chase smaller pets likes rats and hamsters. So, it is advised to not have them around Irish wolfhound.
Irish wolfhound personality – Loyal, patient, gentle, sweet-tempered, dignified.
Irish wolfhound colors – black, white, red, brindle, fawn.
Where Irish Wolfhound Came From?
The Irish wolfhound history dates back to the 391AD, when Roman consul Aurelius received seven Irish wolfhounds as a gift, the entire Rome was pumped. There was also an Irish law which states that people with lesser nobility should not have more than two Irish wolfhounds.
During early times, they were used for hunting purposes and now are seeing as companion dogs in most of the residential.
The Irish wolfhound got his name by one of its predator- wolf. They hunted aggressive and fierce animals like wild pigs and wolves.
You must be familiar with the tale of Llewellyn, the Prince of Wales & his Irish wolfhound, Gelert. The dog proved himself as a loyal companion in the following tale and later, Llewellyn built a tomb in Genet’s honor.
The first Irish wolfhound registration with AKC took place in the year 1897 & the name of the dog was ‘Mobile’. They hold 73rd rank in popularity list by AKC.
They are giant-sized dogs. Irish wolfhound height ranges from 32-35 inches in male & 30- 33 inches in the female.
Irish wolfhound weight ranges from 105- 130 pounds in female & 120-180 pounds in male.
Their large size makes them not suitable for an apartment. Even though they are not a hyperactive breed of dogs like Yorkshire terrier, yet need space to stretch out their enormous bod.
Irish wolfhound dogs have a touch on nobility and daintiness in them. They don’t act handful or stubborn. They are smart and agile and are very good at socializing.
Start the training by giving him basic commands to follow. Basic commands include “sit”, “stand”, “no” and “stay”.
Irish wolfhounds respond great toward positive training which includes appreciating from time to time and giving rewarding them with tasty treats.
When he’s a puppy and he has had vaccinations, start to socialize him to his surroundings. Socializing will help him to remain calm around those people.
They are social dogs, hence adapt the surrounding pretty fast and are friendly towards everyone.
You might be wondering ‘does Irish wolfhound shed?’ The answer is yes. They do shed moderately. The shedding gets heavier during their healing period. Irish wolfhound hypoallergenic qualities are not to be seen in their qualities list. People with allergies, beware!
They have a double-layered coat and hence require regular brushing of the coat for getting rid of dirt and keeping the coat shiny-looking.
Spray a little amount of water on their coat and then use a firm comb. This makes it easy to take the damp hair out of the combat once. It does not need frequent bathing.
Trim their nails regularly to avoid injuries to their paws.
Take a wet cotton swab to clean the dog’s ears and prevent water from entering inside the ear as it may cause infections.
Like every other large-sized dog, the Irish wolfhound is prone to many diseases.
The Irish wolfhound lifespan is no more than 6-8 years. So, if you are looking for a dog that will accompany you for a large portion of your life, the Irish wolfhound is not the breed for you.
Specifically, Irish Wolfhound dogs are prone to the following health problems.
Targeting The Bones
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:
Hip dysplasia is a condition where the thighbone doesn’t fit the hip joint.
It causes the dog to walk abnormally and is painful.
Some dogs may not show any pain.
It is generally seen in aged dogs.
Elbow dysplasia occurs when the elbow bone doesn’t fit the joint or there are some extra cartilages around the joint area.
To check if your dog is suffering through this, you must get an X-ray done. Surgeries and proper supplement is the normal treatment for such disorders.
OCD (Osteochondrosis Dissecans)
This occurs when there is an improper growth of cartilage in the joints. Feeding of ‘growth formulas’ or any food with a high amount of protein can lead to such disorder.
Change in a diet plan and suitable medication is required to overcome such a problem.
Generally affecting the large breed, Osteosarcoma is bone cancer. The symptoms can be lameness while walking. This disorder can also make a dog paralyzed partially or completely. The treatment is aggressive, including chemotherapy and limb imputation.
After the treatment, the breed can live up to 2 years. Dogs do pretty well with three legs and unlike a human, don’t lose their hair or feel nauseated.
Targeting The Stomach
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
Commonly known as bloating of the stomach. This disorder can be fatal for the Irish wolfhound and other deep-chested breeds of dogs. Bloat happens when the air or gas goes inside its stomach while eating or drinking.
This happens when the dog is fed too much food at a single time or drinks a lot of water rapidly. Symptoms include – drooling more than usual, high heart rate, depression, retching but not throwing up. If you notice the following symptoms, get in touch with the vet ASA
Targeting The Eyes
Progressive Retinal Atrophy:
This disease is hereditary where there is a loss of photoreceptors which eventually leads to complete blindness.
Early symptoms such as night blindness and dilation of pupils are shown from the age of 3-6 months.
This is incurable but it can be checked if such a gene is present. Reputed Irish wolfhound breeders get their dogs’ eye certified yearly and do not use them to breed.
Targeting The Liver
Lever shunt happens due to the abnormal flow of blood between the liver and body. Symptoms include- low appetite, low sugar level, urinary tract problem, growth stunt.
Surgeries are good for long term management and so changes in the diet plan.
Targeting The Heart
DCH (Dilated Cardiomyopathy)
This heart disease occurs when the heart muscles become very thing. Since the heart has to be very active, DCH results in enlargement of the heart. Symptoms can be enlargement of the abdomen region, irregular heart rate, weight loss, depressions, collapse, loss in appetite.
No such cure except for rest, medication and change in diet.
Irish wolfhound will need about 4-8 cups of high-quality dry food. Make sure you don’t feed them all the food at one go. Separate them into meals.
The quantity of food also depends on the metabolism, size, and age of the breed.
NOTE: Do not make them do any work an hour prior & 2 hours after the meal, as this will lead to bloating. The Irish wolfhound is prone to a fatal stomach disease called gastric dilatation-volvulus which can be fatal to this breed.
Although dry food is recommended, including fresh food like meat, rice and vegetables will help your dog to get all the nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Check the food before feeding it to your pooch, they can be allergic to some foods.
Vaccination and Care
All dogs may have reactions after getting their first vaccine. But Irish Wolfhound puppies are known for being allergic to certain medications such as Anaesthesia.
It is genetic and can be only transferred by the parents of the dog.
One must vaccinate the dog at the age of 4, 6 & 8 months to prevent them from antibodies and infectious organisms. General vaccinations should include DMP, Distemper, Parvovirus, and Rabies.
Suggested: Guide To Dog Vaccination
This giant breed of dog doesn’t require an intense grooming session. Just a few trims around the eye region to avoid view blockage. Bathing is advised once a month.
Brushing the teeth should be done twice a week. Also, trimming the nails is important. If you hear their paws making sound on the floor, its time you need to trim those nails.
NOTE: Be extra careful or seek professional help while trimming and dogs’ nails have blood vessels in them. Improper cutting and cause bleeding and discomfort to them.
Monthly Expense Estimation
Irish wolfhounds are globally adored for their unique features and socializing and companionship skills. The average price for buying an Irish Wolfhound can cost you around $1500.
They are not that sportive breed but will needs training which will cost you around $30 each month. They can be home trained easily, just get them acquainted with the surrounding.
Medical expenses will depend on the number of times you have to take them to the vet and the severity of the problem. You may expect to pay $100 per visit approximately.
Other expenses such as dog food, crate, bathing stuff, toys, leashes, etc. will cost around $150-$300.
The Irish wolfhound is very gentle with the kids. They love their people and enjoy their company more than anything.
Because Irish wolfhound has bone problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, children should not ride them as if they are a horse. This may damage their bones to a great extent.
NOTE: Small toddlers should always be under the supervision of an adult. Teach your kids about how to and when to approach a dog. Though Irish wolfhounds are very polite, stealing their food or pulling their tail may provoke them.
Irish wolfhounds maintain equal brotherhood with the other members of the canine family. They do get a little protective of their family whenever a dog of the same sex in around them, but are generally known for their friendly nature and are good with dogs.
Keep them familiar with the surrounding from an early age. This plays a crucial role in the foundation of the dogs’ temperament.
This breed is very polite and welcoming in nature. They may chase small animals and pets, but if they are brought up together from a very young age, the Irish wolfhound will consider them as a part of the family and will enjoy their company.
They don’t mind sharing home and affection with the other pets in the house. How generous!
On a general note, the Irish wolfhound is charming and likes to have people around them. These gentle giants have a nature contradicting to their appearance.
Irish wolfhound makes poor watchdogs because of their non-aggressive nature. They also have a low life expectancy which is just 6-8years. So, if you are looking for a buddy that will accompany you for a big-time then this breed is not for you. Sorry!
They are very social and like to mingle around. They don’t tend to show dominance and are not stubborn at all, making them perfect for house training.
Though, they don’t do indoor activities, yet need some space to stretch their huge frame. They are not suitable for people living in apartments or anywhere with small space, and lots of stairs.
Something Fun About Irish Wolfhounds!
- Irish wolfhound was used as a sign of nobility. They were even gifted to a Roman Consul by his brother. A total of 7 Irish Wolfhounds were sent to him. The thanks letter given to the brother stated ‘’All Rome Viewed Them In Wonder’’.
- High King of Ireland, Cormac mac Airt had an army of Irish wolfhound with a total of 300 of them!!
- President Herbert Hoover had an Irish wolfhound, which was given to him by his wife. His name was ‘Patrick’. President John F. Kennedy also had an Irish wolfhound with the name ‘wolf’, given to him by his relatives from Ireland.
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