The Irish Wolfhound is a giant sighthound breed famous in its native land, Ireland. Originally, the Irish Wolfhound comes as a smooth coated or a rough coated dog but only the rough coated variety exists today. As the name suggests, the Irish Wolfhound was originally used as a wolf-hunting dog, whose greyhound ancestors were brought to Ireland by Phoenician traders. Its general appearance is that of a dog possessing great strength, symmetry, great speed and courage. The dog has a rough and harsh coat on the body, legs and head, wiry and long over the eyes and under the jaw. Breed colours include grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, wheaten, and steel grey. The Irish Wolfhound is extremely intelligent, corky, extremely loyal and friendly. It is reputed to be the tallest of all the hound breeds and the biggest of all dog breeds, but despite its size, it is very gentle, calm, and loving – a true gentle giant. The minimum height for dogs is 79 cm but the average size is between 81 - 86 cm, while the minimum height for bitches is 71 cm. Weight minimum ranges between 54.5 kg for males and 40.9 kg for females.
All dog breeds have different levels of intellect. Some dog breeds; working dogs in particular, are very independent thinkers and have been evolved to be very intelligent. Typically, a highly intelligent dog does well in obedience training and other activities. A highly intelligent dog can be very demanding and do require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a relatively laid-back dog, that doesn’t require lots of mental and physical stimulation, then you must fully understand the level of intelligence of your dog breed of choice.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, you must fully understand their intellect levels and their specific levels of energy. To keep your dog well-balanced and happy, their needs must be met and maintained.
All dog breeds have different needs when it comes to the level of exercise they require. For the high energy dogs; which are your typical working dogs, they have a lot of energy and require lots of daily exercise along with plenty of mental stimulation. A highly energetic dog breed would suit an individual or family that is equally as active and loves the outdoors. There are also breeds that have relatively low exercise needs, such as toy dog breeds. Although they require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they’re just as happy chilling at home with their loved ones. This type of dog breed would suit an individual or family that prefers the peace and quiet and relaxation.
Before deciding on your chosen dog breed, Mypetzilla recommends that you research the exercise needs and whether you’re well equipped before committing to buying or adopting a particular dog breed.
There are several dog breeds that are known and potentially predisposed to developing health related conditions. Sensible breeding can help prevent the onset of health related conditions and this should always be taken into condition when researching your dog breed of choice. Before committing to a dog, you should speak to the breeder about any health related conditions that may affect the dog you’re looking to buy or adopt. You can also request to see any test results from genetic testing.
There are many dog breeds that tolerate children really well and are not affected by the constant noise and need for play-time. However, there are some dog breeds that don’t do very well with children and can become frustrated and snappy. That being said, all children should be shown how to handle and care for a dog in their home and should always be supervised when playing. As much as a dog can become annoyed and snappy with a younger child, the child can also become less tolerant and misbehaved towards the dog.
Mypetzilla recommends that you always supervise play-time between your children and dog. Children need to respect the boundaries and feeding time for the dog and likewise for the child. We also strongly advise that play-time doesn’t get out of control and too rough which can cause injury to both child and dog.
There are lots of dog breeds that are well suited to living in an apartment. It’s worthwhile noting that you need to check that you’re allowed dogs in your building before committing to bringing one home. If you do decide to own a dog and are living in an apartment, then you must make sure that they have plenty of room to roam around and frequent walks outside to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed.
Mypetzilla recommends that you check as to whether you’re allowed dogs in your apartment building and to fully ensure your apartment is dog proof before committing fully to bringing a dog home.
All dog breeds shed to some extent, some more than others. With this, all potential dog owners should be aware of this, as it will be a matter of putting up with some hair or lots of hair being left around the house. Depending on the dog breed, there are certain times during the year where some dog breeds shed the most and this is typically around spring and autumn. However, there are some dog breeds that shed all year round.
If you’re very house-proud, they you may want to choose a dog breed that sheds very little. Mypetzilla strongly recommends that you fully research your dog breed of choice and their shedding levels before committing.
All dog breeds require different levels of grooming. Some dog breeds are easier to maintain than others and only require a weekly brush to help keep their coat in good condition. There are some dog breeds that require regular trips to the grooming parlour and this can come at a huge cost. Either way, all dog breeds require their coat and nails to be maintained and cared for.
Mypetzilla strongly advices that potential owners research the grooming needs and associated costs with their desired dog breed before fully committing.
Barking is a necessity for your dog to communicate. However, it can also be a nuisance to yourself and fellow neighbours if it’s not kept under control. If you live in an apartment, then you’re better off choosing a dog breed that doesn’t bark as much. If you live further out and far from civilisation, then it’s worthwhile looking into a dog breed that does bark and will bark to alert you of any other company on your property.
Mypetzilla advices that you research the behaviours of your dog breed of choice and whether this would work for you and your family. It’s worth noting that dogs can be trained to bark less and this will take a lot of effort and training from the owner.
Majority dog breeds form very close relationships with their owners and as a result can become very stressed when left alone for a period of time. If a dog is suffering with separation anxiety then they’re very likely to become destructive around the home as a way of dealing with their anxieties. Dog breeds that do form strong bonds with their owners are better accustomed to a household where one member of the family remains home, whilst the others are out, this is to help avoid further anxieties and destructive behaviours.
Mypetzilla recommends that all potential owners research their dog breed of choice on their bonding abilities and how well-adjusted they are to being left alone at home. It’s also worth noting that you should never leave your dog for longer than 4 hours alone at home.
There are certain dogs breeds that have very high intellect and therefore easier to train than other dog breeds. There is also a downside to this; as fast as they learn the new trick or command, they can easily pick up bad habits just as quick. Other dog breeds that don’t rank as high on the intellect scale require patience and plenty of reward treats from their owners during training.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, Mypetzilla advices you to fully research your dog breed of choice and their level of training needs.
All dog breeds have different energy levels. The working dog breed has one of the highest energy levels in comparison to the low-energy dog’s breeds such as the Toy dog breed group. To keep a dog truly happy, healthy and well-balanced, their energy levels must be met.
High-energy dog breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. High energy dog breeds would suit an active family or person. Dog breeds that are considered as low-energy, love to spend the majority of their time relaxing and sleeping in their favourite, comfy spot. A low-energy dog breed would suit an individual that equally loves the quiet life and relaxing lifestyle. Of course, low-energy dogs still need their daily walks and mental stimulation, just not as much as a high-energy dog breed.
Mypetzilla recommends that potential owner research fully on the type of dog breed that would suit their existing lifestyle and to also take into consideration the dog breeds energy levels and exercise requirements.
Before you decide on what dog breed would be suitable for you and your family, you must consider whether they’re a friendly dog breed and if you already have other pets within the household. For homes that already have dogs and other domestic pets, then it’s wise to choose a dog breed that has a friendly personality and temperament.
There are some dog breeds that mix well with other dog breeds and there are others that don’t suit one another and this could potentially cause issues later on down the line.
Another important point to consider is whether the dog breed of choice is friendly towards people and children.
Mypetzilla recommends to research fully on the right dog breed for your family and to also consider their temperament and characteristics.
1The origin of the Irish Wolfhound is rather obscure. Ancient Celtic writings suggest that the breed existed as early as 273 BC. Experts believe that greyhound-type dogs were brought to Ireland from the Middle East by Phoenician traders. These dogs were then crossed with Mastiffs to produce a dog of massive stature and impeccable speed and strength. Julius Caesar even mentions the breed on his commentaries on the Gallic Wars. The Irish Wolfhound was highly esteemed and was given as gifts to kings and emperors. In 391 AD, Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius Symmachus received seven Irish Wolfhounds as gifts which were used for fighting lions and bears.
The Irish Wolfhound was originally developed to hunt wild boars, elks, and wolves. It was so successful in hunting that these game eventually disappeared and nearly made the breed extinct because there was no more practical use for it. Luckily, a group of breed enthusiasts led by Scottish Captain Augustus Graham developed a comprehensive breeding program in 1879 that eventually revived the Irish Wolfhound by crossing it with the Scottish Deerhound, Borzoi, Great Dane, and the English Mastiff.
5The Irish Wolfhound is curious, loyal, responsive, and a sweet dog. Despite its enormous size (which can reach up to 7 feet when standing on its hind legs), it is calm and gentle, making it a true gentle giant. It is a true sighthound that relies on sight rather than scent and is highly adapted towards hunting wolves. It has an amazing amount of speed and strength, very agile and fast where it can catch up with wolves when they’re running as well as taking them down. Although hunting still runs in its blood, majority of modern Irish Wolfhounds are couch potatoes and would rather sleep all day or sit on his owner’s lap. It is rarely destructive in or out of the house nor boisterous. It is an easygoing house pet that is quiet by nature. It thrives on human companionship and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
Training should start during puppyhood because a puppy is never too young to learn. Basic training such as wearing a collar, walking on the lead, coming when called, simple sit or down are necessary and can easily be taught to the Wolfhound as early as 6 to 12 weeks old. Clicker training is an excellent way to train a puppy or an older Irish Wolfhound. Firm and gentle training with positive reinforcements is the best method to use when training the Irish Wolfhound. It responds negatively to harsh training.
Grooming should start early in the life of the Irish Wolfhound as a puppy. Brushing the coat with a soft brush and checking the ears, mouth, feet, and tail regularly will create a strong bond between the owner and the puppy. An adult Irish Wolfhound doesn’t need an enormous amount of grooming. Just regular brushing and a thorough grooming once a week is sufficient.
Similar to other large dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound has a very short lifespan, with an average of 7 years. There are Irish Wolfhounds that live up to 10 years but very rare. Among the leading cause of death for this breed are dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer. Dilated cardiomyopathy is an enlargement of the heart which disrupts the efficient flow of blood, thereby affecting the normal function of the lungs, liver, and other body systems. Bone cancer or osteosarcoma is a cancerous tumour in a bone and is the leading cause of the breeds mortality in the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s. Like all deep-chested breeds, gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) or bloat is also very common in Irish Wolfhounds. Rarely seen is intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (IPS) or liver shunt which can either be hereditary or acquired.
An Irish Wolfhound puppy should not be given actual exercises until about six months of age because it may damage the fragile bones like other large breeds of dogs. A growing puppy needs a lot of rest time so children must be taught to leave the puppy alone when it is sleeping. Short walks must be given past six months of age, gradually increasing in distance as the puppy grows older. An adult Irish Wolfhound requires at least 20 minutes of free running in the morning and in the evening with short walks in between. Do not exercise the breed an hour before feeding or two hours after feeding or it may suffer from gastric torsion which can be life-threatening.
The Irish Wolfhound is a true gentle giant, often forming a strong bond with all the members of the family. It is excellent with children, although caution must always be taken whenever it is playing with children because its sheer size can easily knock anyone down, even adults. It also goes along well with other dogs, especially those it grew up with which he can form strong attachment with.