About Irish Wolfhounds

About Irish Wolfhounds


The Irish Wolfhound, affectionately known as the Gentle Giant, is a giant breed, with females standing at least 30″ at the shoulder, and males a minimum of 32″. They are the tallest, although not the heaviest, breed in the world. The coat is coarse and wiry and a distinguishing feature of the breed is the bushy eyebrows and beard. The coat requires thorough brushing twice a week, to maintain a companion, or hand stripping if the
dog is to be shown. The Wolfhound comes in many colours, from white, wheaten, red through to black, with or without brindling. A small white patch on the chest, tip of the tail, or toes are common, although full socks are not desirable. Eyes should be as dark as possible.

The temperament is usually stable and reliable, and sensible with strangers. Avoid dogs which exhibit shyness or aggressiveness. The Wolfhound is usually very good with children, and this seems to be almost an inherited trait.

The breed responds well to patient obedience training but does become easily bored. Harsh correction methods should never be used on a Wolfhound.

Although a Wolfhound will accept smaller quarters they do best in the suburbs or country, or with an active family who will commit themselves to a twice daily walk. A lone Wolfhound will not usually exercise itself in a fenced area so it is up to the owners to ensure that the dog does not become fat and lazy.

The Irish Wolfhound is unfortunately a short lived breed, the average being approximately 7 years. The three main causes of death in Wolfhounds are Cardiomyopathy (heart), Bloat, and Cancer.

Health problems are relatively rare in Wolfhounds, however, it is suggested that purchasers buy from parents which have been screened for Hip Dysplasia as a minimum. An increasing number of breeders will also screen for PRA (eyes) and VWD (bleeding disorder) as these have occurred in the breed.

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