Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Have you ever been thinking about what the reason behind why the Irish Wolfhound is called so? It’s because it was hunted by the wolves of Ireland in addition to numerous other activities. Although he’s not employed for this in the present, it’s easy to imagine what he could be due to his size and power.

Irish Wolfhounds are among the breeds that you have to meet in person to be amazed by his size! This is why Irish Wolfhounds aren’t the ideal pet for an apartment. That, along with other reasons we’ll go through in this guide to breeds is why he’s not suitable for any family.

However, those who can provide him with what he requires, he will be able to provide him with a loving and a respectful pet. Like many large canines, he’s an incredibly gentle giant who loves his family. This guide should be read for anyone who is about to take one of these amazing pets to their homes. Let’s take a dive deep into the realm of the largest dog ever.

Irish Wolfhound Dog


Irish Wolfhounds are a long-standing breed of dog. The history of the breed isn’t entirely clear however, he was born by breeding big British dogs as well as Middle Eastern coursing hounds. When the Romans defeated their territory of the British Isles, these giant hounds were already present. They were in existence as early as the year 391 A.D., seven Irish Wolfhounds were given by consuls of Rome. Roman consul. Their popularity grew among the landowners with wealth and nobles.

His goal was hunt big game and other huge predators like the extinct Irish Elk. To show the magnitude of his feat, the Irish Elk was measured at 6 feet long from feet to his shoulders. They were referred to by the name of Wolfhound during the fifteenth century as it was at this time that the population of wolves was growing out of control and required to be controlled. He did such an excellent job of hunting them that they became extinct by the 18th century.

Unfortunately the breed was put out of work, and it was close to becoming extinct himself. An British army captain named George Augustus Graham made it his goal in life to keep the breed alive. The 19th century was when he started finding exquisite breeds, and then breeding them. In time, he brought the breed to its health as well as the standard for breeds was created.

The most well-known Irish Wolfhound was named Gelert. He was owned by Prince of North Wales. Prince of North Wales. The Prince had left the dog with him and his son for just a brief time. When he returned, he discovered the child missing, and the dog was covered with blood. The prince executed his Irish Wolfhound, but he was able to hear his child’s crying as the dog was in a coma. It was discovered that this dog had been smothered with blood of wolves, which was killed to protect his child. The prince was devastated and was said to never smiled ever again.

It is not known what year the very first Irish Wolfhound came to America. However, we know that the date the first time they were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) was in 1897. The breed is usually somewhere between 70th to 80th most coveted breeds in America. However, instead of being used to hunt, he can be currently snoozing around on sofas in huge family homes.


They are loving pets who love their families. From babies up to grandparenthood, she cherishes everyone equally. He is also affectionate with other dogs, and occasionally the cat in the family when he’s a nice puppy. He is a lover of cuddling on the couch and then climb on your mattress. We hope that you’re comfortable with this , because he’ll be extremely upset if you insist that he stay away.

He isn’t a fan of being at home for long periods of time and therefore he requires an owner who will keep him entertained for the majority of the time. An anxious Wolfhound can be destructive and it is best to keep him busy. The need for human companionship could make him a ferocious pet to be around your house. For those who cherish the company of a second shadow, they can find peace with his companionship.

He’s not the most ideal guard dog, but his attractive appearance is enough to deter burglars from the idea of attempting to break in. He’s alert, but seldom suspicious. This means that he’ll let intruders do whatever they’d like to do. But if his family members are at risk and is being targeted and harmed, he’ll stand with the family members. The motto of his is ” gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked,” which is a perfect description of him. His low suspicions indicate that he’s friendly and tolerant of strangers and visitors.

He is a peaceful and well-balanced dog at home, and can be a comfortable couch potato for the majority of the time. Like all dogs, he requires regular exercise however, aside from his need to always be with you, he’s an easygoing dog. He is loving and sweet anyone who comes across him is bound to fall in love with him. However, he’s not so relaxed that kids could ride him like horses. Don’t do it!

As you can tell from his past the breed was developed to hunt. Although he was a master in this field back in the past however, he’s not the most sought-after choice for hunter’s dog today. However, he has an extremely high prey drive nonetheless and this is something you’ll have to think about. Since a dog that can kill a wolf could knock the skeptic off when he decides to pursue the cats in the neighborhood. It is essential to remain vigilant when you have this breed at the other end of a leash.

Size & Appearance

These dogs are giants, and they are the most tallest dog breed in the world. Females are measured from shoulder to paw, at least 30 inches from paw to shoulder. Males have at least 32 inches. If they stand on their hind legs they’re taller than a lot of men. Females weigh an average of 105 pounds. And males weigh at least 120 pounds. They’ve been reported to weigh up to 180 pounds!

The breed standard for him refers to his size as dominant size that blends speed and power. He is powerful but elegantly built, and looks like an oversized Greyhound with rough coats. Many people confuse for the Irish Wolfhound for a Scottish Deerhound even though they’re slightly smaller.

He’s balanced and symmetrical in his shape and proportions, with a wide chest and a long neck. The size of his head is quite tiny compared to his neck and body, as are his ears, which are relatively small as well. The tail of his dog is lengthy and curled towards the tip. It is frequently mistaken for the smaller and less well-known smaller Deerhound.

Coat & Colors

The majority of Wolfhounds have an average length to medium-length short double coat. The outer coat can be hard and stiff to the touch while his undercoat is soft and short. The fur is especially wavy and long around his eyes and under the jaw and gives his appearance a shaggy look. A lot of dogs that are born from non-conformation lines usually have softer coats. However, if you want an Irish to shine at AKC competitions, it is necessary to be able to shed his coat.

In terms of colors, he can have many options to pick from. The most common shade is grey however, he may also choose the black color, the reverse and brindle, cream, blue, red silver, fawn wheaten and red wheaten, as well as pure white. White and creamy Irish Wolfhounds are uncommon sight. They appear like large Labradoodles, or Goldendoodles. The chest’s white marks are commonplace within the breed.

Exercise Requirements

It is believed that the Irish Wolfhound needs less exercise as compared to other breeds because of their size. They require about 30-45 minutes physical activity each day. The dog is best suited for long walks, excursions in the woods, and playing on the beach. If you’re seeking a jogging companion This isn’t the dog for you. After he’s had an exercise in his legs, a pet, and sniff and pee, he’s more than content to return to his home.

The fact that he is a prey animal is the reason you’ll have to keep your dog on a leash always. If he spots something fast and furious then it’s game time We guarantee that he’ll run faster than you will be able to stop him! If you live in an enclosed dog park that is gated or a field that is enclosed it is possible to let him off the leash. The short bursts of energy running is a great method to keep your dog’s heart healthy and his the mind content.

He’s a fairly intelligent dog that likes his daily activities to be varied. A stroll through the neighborhood every day is likely to bore him. This is why you’ll have to change the walks and places. Playtime in the home is also essential and that’s why this dog needs a place that has a secure (and secured!) yard. As an hound, he’ll enjoy lure coursing, tracking, and agility, so make sure to join the local dog clubs that are available to let him join in the excitement.

Living Conditions

Being a large dog, you’re safe to declare that he’s not the ideal breed for apartments or homes with small spaces. He’ll do better in larger homes with plenty of space to run around without fear of knocking objects over. He is well-suited for families of all sizes and shapes and even families with children who are small. The breed is usually calm at home, and isn’t noisy, which makes him an excellent canine companion for children of all age groups. Be sure to watch your pet throughout the day.

The majority of Irish Wolfhounds are friendly and affectionate dogs that be able to get along with other dogs. If he’s socialized properly as a puppy and is well-socialized, he shouldn’t have problems getting along with other dogs at the doggy park in your neighborhood. If he is raised with the family pet then he shouldn’t face issues there as well. However, anything else that aren’t part of the family is likely to be a target for.


It is said that the Irish Wolfhound is an intelligent dog that is able to train well. Being a breed that was designed to work alongside humans, it is an animal that is determined to be a good servant to his master. Of course, it is important to begin early in his training in order to help him be respectful. However, with early guidance and discipline, he’ll become an obedient adult. Training with positive reinforcement is the most effective method to train this massive breed because of its soft nature.

The only thing that you won’t be in a position to teach out of the animal is its prey-driven drive. It is an instinct that is built-in that he has, and he will always obey your commands if he happens to find something appealing in the food menu. Since he is always walking on a leash and since he’s an extremely strong dog, leash training should be started from an early age. If not, walking can be difficult once he’s a fully mature adult.

Irish Wolfhounds are gentle dogs , but they need to be taught the right way. Socialization early is essential and is something that a good breeder will focus on. The littermates and his mom will guide him through the process and show him how to interact properly and interact with dogs. It’s your responsibility to carry on this once you return Doggy parks are an excellent and enjoyable way to do this. Experimenting with new surroundings and people is also important.

Since he’s an possibly anxious dog and he is prone to anxiety, he must be crate-trained too. This will not only give him a secure space which will ease his anxiety. It will aid you in the long run being confident that he’s secured when you need to go away for a short period of time. Make sure you get the proper size for your dog – you’ll be sure to require an XXL dog cage to be sure.


It is known as the Irish Wolfhound, on average, has a lifespan of between 6 and 8 years. It can be among the shortest breeds in the world of dogs. Therefore, if you’re looking for a dog who you could spend long periods of time with then this isn’t the right one for you.

It is essential to take every step to ensure that he is as healthy as you can, with the hopes that you will be able to remain with him for longer. The most effective methods to ensure he is fit and healthy is to keep him current by having regular vet check-ups and feeding him the highest quality nutrition and working out regularly.

As with all purebred dogs this breed is susceptible to certain health issues. Below are the most prevalent health issues to be aware of within the Irish. Be aware of the health issues and symptoms listed below and take your pet checked by a vet in the event that you spot any.

Elbow dysplasia and hip

This is a frequent issue with giant dogs. Large puppies grow quickly and, as a result their bones develop in a different way. Inequal bone growth causes joints to wear more quickly and eventually cause arthritis and pain. It is essential that Irish Wolfhounds are bred that have high hip scores in order to reduce the chance of their pups developing joint problems. The signs include stiff joints as well as exercise intolerance and being unable to stand quickly.

Conditions of the eye

It is believed that the Irish Wolfhound is prone to various eye issues. The most frequent are corneal dystrophy, cataracts distichiasis, iris cysts and progressive retinal atrophy as well as retinal dysplasia. When you observe any changes in the eyes of your child, such as dry eyes, excessive tears and redness or inflammation or excessive itching take him immediately to the veterinarian. In the event that any of them symptoms are not treated, it could cause complete blindness.

Cardiac disorders

About one third of Irish Wolfhounds to develop dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is defined by an over-extended and weak heart chamber that is unable to circulate blood the way it is supposed to. It is evident through heart murmurs. Unfortunately it could cause an abrupt heart attack.


The condition is fairly common within the breed. It’s usually caused due to other medical conditions, like kennel cough following surgery, or other illnesses. Loss of appetite and lethargy are typically the first signs to appear. If you suspect that your child is suffering from pneumonia it is important to take your pet to the veterinarian right immediately for treatment, as it could be life-threatening.

Shunt portosystemic

It is often referred to as liver shunt. It occurs when an abnormal connection develops or is found in and within the liver making him in a position to not be able to remove toxic substances from the blood. It’s a life-threatening illness and is usually diagnosed through blood tests. The symptoms include changes in behavior nausea, vomiting, diarrhea more frequent urination as well as weight gain.


The breed is susceptible to various types of cancer. The most frequent is osteosarcoma. It is a kind of cancer that affects bones. The symptoms include a limp and a refusal to place any weight on the affected leg. When symptoms begin to manifest the disease has typically spread and can require the limb to be removed. Breeders of good quality do not breed dogs that have an background of cancer.


The majority of Irish Wolfhounds will take between 4 to eight cups of food each day. It all depends on his age and how heavy he is, and how active the dog is. Females require less food than men, and senior citizens require less than active adult and puppies. Be sure to follow the guidelines for kibble to determine the appropriate amount to avoid weight increase.

Giving the Irish the highest quality food that you can afford is among the most vital actions you can take to improve your pet’s health. Good quality kibbles don’t just provide the highest quality meats, but also offer an adequate diet that meets the nutritional requirements of your pet.

It is also essential to feed him a food item specially made for large breed puppies because they cater to the unique needs of his development. This is especially important in the early years of puppyhood as it helps establish the foundations for an active and healthy life style. It also reduces the risk of developing joint dysplasia.

A lot of large dogs with chests that are deep are afflicted with a disease known as gastric torsion or bloat. It’s an extremely dangerous condition that develops when the stomach turns. It is most often seen during meals. This is why it is crucial to divide the daily allowance of food to at least two separate meals. Don’t feed him right away prior to or following exercising. It is important to understand the be aware of the signs to be aware of and take your pet to the vet for immediate treatment.


The coat of the Irish Wolfhound is rough and brittle It requires brushing at least once every week to ensure that his coat does not get matted and tangled. When you brush, pay close focus on the areas where he has more hair. Also, look under your armpits and behind the ears which is where matting is most frequent.

The most effective brush is a slicker one. Contrary to many double-coated breeds Irish Wolfhounds are not double-coated. Irish Wolfhound sheds moderately all the year long and doesn’t blow his coat in the shedding season.

He’ll require to bathe each six-to-8 weeks to ensure he looks at his best. Make sure to use gentle shampoo specially designed for dogs. A conditioner shampoo is ideal for the Irish because it can soften his rough locks. A tub or shower with a walk-in shower is recommended for this huge ordeal, but hoists might be needed!

He’ll need to have his nails to be regularly cut and as soon you hear the sound of them tapping against your flooring then it’s time to cut. Make sure to brush his teeth at least every week to prevent the risk of periodontal problems. Make sure you use dog toothpaste since human toothpaste can be poisonous for dogs. To ensure a smoother and more relaxing for both of you, expose your dog to grooming habits when he is a puppy.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

It is believed that the Irish Wolfhound is an uncommon breed of dog in America. It means that you’ll likely have to travel to locate a reputable dog breeder, based on the location you reside in. There is a chance to be put on a wait list, however, this is an indication of a reputable breeder, and is an excellent thing!

The cost of an Irish puppy is approximately $1500. If you’re looking for a puppy from a reputable breeder or an exhibit line, you could expect to pay much higher than this. The best place to begin your search is to look through the list of breeders on the AKC’s listing of Irish Wolfhound breeders. Breeders who are good don’t come inexpensive, and breeders who aren’t don’t do well!

Breeders who are responsible will try all they can to breed healthy puppies. They will nurture their puppies with affection, love and care to ensure that they are socialized properly. Also, be sure to request medical certificates to confirm that they’ve bred healthy dogs as well.

There are a lot more expenses associated with having a dog other than the initial cost of a puppy. It is important to consider the design of your home by purchasing crates, bowls, beds collars, bowls, and even the security of your yard. In addition, the ongoing costs of insurance, medical treatment food, and massive pet toys. Be aware that anything you purchase must be massive and that implies a higher cost. Before you make a commitment to an Irish purchase, it is important to think about the financial obligations that you will have for the rest of your life.

Rescues & Shelters

There aren’t many people who would or are willing to welcome a puppy to their home. That’s fine! With the number of dogs that are in shelters, it’s essential to think about the possibility of adopting one. While it is true that the Irish Wolfhound is not the most sought-after dog breed There are a few that are waiting to find their forever homes. Visit your local shelters to locate the Irish Wolfhound. Talk to the staff as they may be able to place your name on the Irish waitlist.

Some organizations, however, dedicate their efforts and time to rehoming dogs from this breed. The best place to begin your search for an adoption is the Irish Wolfhound Club of America. Irish Wolfhound Club of America. The site lists adoption centers by state, along with contact information. This is an excellent source for those who are interested in rescuing instead of buying puppies.

As Family Pets

  • This is a huge breed that needs room to move about.
  • They usually live their most enjoyable life in a house with plenty of space.
  • Irish Wolfhounds and human companionship.
  • They are regarded as to be velcro dogs, and they will follow you all over the place.
  • Wolfhounds are peaceful in the home and are fond of cuddling and sleep.
  • They are sure to enjoy short games of fetchor tug-of-war.
  • The breed is thought to be mediumly vigorous dog breed.
  • They require 30-40 minutes of exercise per day to maintain their health.
  • The breed is regarded as to be friendly and sociable.
  • They are usually cautious of strangers, however, they will become more comfortable over time.
  • He is very polite when dealing when interacting with other dogs.
  • They are able to live with children however, children must be larger due to their size.
  • He is a hunter with a strong prey drive and is willing to chase every object in his path

Final Thoughts

It is true that the Irish Wolfhound isn’t the most popular of breeds of dogs, however this is due to its size. It is an incredibly gentle dog that is calm and friendly to everyone he comes across. All he wants is an expansive home, continuous human interaction and a family that will allow him to sit on the couch for cuddles. He may be a bit needy however he is entitled to all that he wants, given the way he treats his loved ones.

If you have the right family, it could be the perfect pet for your family. Be aware that he’s got a small life span. However, the time is his with you will be one of the most memorable years in your lifetime. The majority of Irish Wolfhound owners say that once you’ve experienced an adorable Irish in your life, you’ll always require the Irish to be a part of your daily life. We’ve warned you!

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