Did you know?
In 1983 Ireland commemorated her enduring love and homage for the breed she claims as her own by issuing a postage stamp which featured the Irish Wolfhound.
I used to look at my dog and think, ‘If you were a little smarter you could tell me what you were thinking,’ and he’d look at me like he was saying, ‘If you were a little smarter, I wouldn’t have to.’ – Fred Jungclaus
Irish Wolfhounds are said to be descended from the “Cu”, whose history dates back to the pre-Christian era. Known to be ferocious in battle, they were used to pull men off horseback and at times to hunt wolves.
The national dog of Ireland, The Irish Wolfhound is so revered in its homeland that it has appeared as a symbol on everything from jars of Tulamore Dew whiskey to every piece of Belleek Pottery. The Irish sixpence once featured the likeness of the international show champion – Finbarr.
A British officer, Captain Graham, is credited with rescuing the breed from near extinction.
Photos displayed courtesy of Ann Brockett, Windseeker, Alberta
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world. Standing at least 32 inches (81 cm) at the shoulder, they are known as “the Gentle Giants”. Weighing at least 120 pounds (54 kg), he is also the largest of the hound breeds.
The coarse, wiry coat can be a variety of colours including grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any other colour that appears in the Deerhound. An unusual feature of the breed is the bushy eyebrows and beard!
By six months of age, an Irish Wolfhound can weigh up to 90 lbs., and he does not reach maturity until about three years old so you will have a clumsy, all-arms-and-legs dog bumbling around your house for quite a while! Despite his great size he has a most gentle temperament. He is a perfect gentleman, non-aggressive, and he adores children. Remember his size! An animal this large can unintentionally cause harm simply by bumping into an unsuspecting toddler.
The Irish Wolfhound’s willingness to please his owners and his protective nature make him a good family dog. He is not usually suspicious so he’s not the best guard or watch dog. His impressive size may, however, give a potential intruder pause for thought. As a giant breed, he needs space … indoors and out.
Obedience training requires patience as the Irish Wolfhound is easily bored and boredom can result in destructive behaviour. Harsh correction methods should never be used on this sensitive breed. Moderately active, the Irish Wolfhound is happy with a daily walk.
The Irish Wolfhound is classified as a sighthound. He has great vision and hunting drive and will instinctively take off after any small animal that runs. Socialization is imperative both to other pets and people. This is a huge, powerful dog.
Unfortunately for dog lovers, this is a short lived breed with an average lifespan of 6 – 10 years.