AKC Group: Hound
As early as the 1st century, the Celtics bred Irish Wolfhounds to be war dogs and to guard their homes and livestock. Thanks to their speed and intelligence, they were used to hunt wolves and wild boar. In the 19th century, Irish Wolfhounds were only allowed to be owned by royalty and the breed almost went extinct. They were then bred with the Deerhound, Great Dane and Borzoi, which changed their appearance slightly. When bred with Kerry Blue Terriers, they became even bigger. With the new breeding, they also became more affectionate and mellow dogs. They are often referred to as the national dog of Ireland, although this is not an official designation.
Size: Females are at least 30 inches high, while males are at least 32. 100 to 120 pounds.
Color: Gray, brindle, red, black, white or fawn.
Life span: 6 to 8 years
Health problems: Bloat, liver problems, heart problems, bone cancer, chemical or drug sensitivities, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s Disease, osteochondritis dissecans and cataracts have all been noted across the bloodlines.
One of the tallest and largest dog breeds in the world, an Irish Wolfhound is a gentle giant. Highly affectionate, this is a dog that lives to please. Due to their size, they need plenty of space, but they make such a great family friend. They are so intelligent and learn quickly. They can be independent and destructive during puppyhood. They need a fair amount of exercise to burn off their excess energy. As he ages, a daily walk and a fenced, secure yard that he can run around in will suffice. Friendly and sociable, they are great with kids. He may chase smaller animals that run, but generally he tends to get along with other companion animals. They usually also do well with strangers. His size may scare people off, but his innate personality won’t. These dogs are too loving to be a watchdog. When beginning leash training, make sure he never pulls (this will save you when he’s full grown). Be positive and loving when training. He will quickly catch on to what you’re trying to teach. The main goal is help him learn self-confidence to keep his positive personality shining through. Socialization will help keep him friendly. Try to not physically exhaust him as a puppy; yes, he may be huge, but he is still a puppy and still growing, with young ligaments and joints. To avoid bloat, don’t exercise him one or two hours after eating.
The Irish Wolfhound has a harsh, rough coat. It should be brushed and combed several times a week. His ear and eye hairs may need to be carefully trimmed occasionally. With proper grooming, an Irish Wolfhound is a low to medium shedder.