HOW WE GOT OUR NAME: Being an avid fan of The Lord of the Rings, and totally crazy about Horses and Hounds, the name Rohan seemed a perfect choice for me, with it being a realm in J.R.R. Tolkiens' fantasy setting of Middle-earth, I could just imagine myself on horseback riding with the hounds beside me galloping through the countryside described as a land of pastures and lush tall grassland, which was frequently windswept and located on a hill in the valley of the White Mountains. The Armies of Rohan were largely horsemen, and I could picture these Great Hounds of Ireland fitting in so perfectly.
"They are proud and willful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs."
It is important to me to keep my hounds fit and healthy, and concentrate a lot on health and fitness, ensuring my breeding stock are sound in mind, body and soul. The last thing I want to see happen to any hound is too much weight under the pretense of adding "substance" Substance is, and should be muscle and bone.
I believe that Irish Wolfhounds thrive within a family environment, which is why they are the center of 'my world', and I raise all of my litters in the home and put a lot of effort into socializing them from the moment they are born.
The hounds get their daily exercise in several thousands of acres with trails and forest, or here on my property during hunting season, therefore they get to do what comes naturally as often as possible. My hounds are all in house companions; they also have an air conditioned room attached to the house with queen size futons to laze around on, where they can come in and go out as they please. This has worked very well and every one of them is extremely happy and content. The only time spent away from home is for conformation shows and events the dogs are asked to attend, such as parades and Irish Festivals.
Rohan Irish Wolfhounds
Having spent some of my childhood in Ireland I always knew this was the only breed for me. Since acquiring my first hounds I have studied bloodlines as I wanted to ensure their characteristics were true to the breed, and have bred my line on these old bloodlines and have since been working on the phenotype I have been looking for, and at the present time I am on my fourth generation and am now seeing precisely what I have been working towards. And now my foundation lines are in place, breeding will not take place very often, as I will only breed when I need to continue my breeding program.
I have also commenced in enrolling my wolfhounds on the CHIC database. The Canine Health Information Center, (CHIC), is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). CHIC provides a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. The testing we have done includes, Heart, Hips, Elbows and Eyes. I also liver shunt test my puppies.
It had been love at first sight after meeting my first Wolfhound over 40 years ago. I will never forget that magnificent male, standing in the rain with a Jack Russell Terrier standing under him to stay dry. This was a dog that turned heads and yet when you look into their eyes you see they really are the "gentle giant" of the dog world. But having got to know them so well over the years, there is nothing better than their sense of humor and their devotion to the family.
I am relatively new to the breed, and got my first Wolfhound back in 2002. After many months of talking to several breeders, and researching many bloodlines, as longevity was very important to me, the dream finally came true and I brought home my first wolfhound, Balin.
Finally a breeder who would share their entire knowledge and expertise with me for the entire life of my hounds, and I have continued this process within my own breeding program. I am blessed in having several fabulous mentors, who with me combined, have 90+ years of experience, and are there for me whenever I need them.
Since moving from Minnesota down to Florida I get asked about how the dogs cope with the heat. Well, Florida is really not much different, just more humid, and with a lot less mosquitoes, and thankfully without the harsh, harsh winters I encountered where I had to be careful of frostbite on their toes. Of course pets have special needs during the summer, especially those with a heavy coat. My treed property provides plenty of shade for when they choose to go out during the day. I keep gallons of fresh water so they always have refreshment and baby pools in the summer for them to cool their tummies in. And when they do their vigorous exercise, we always do so during the cooler time of the day during the summer months. i.e. very early morning and early in the evening just before sunset. I keep them all in good physical condition, none are overweight, and their coats are stripped out a little more than I used to up in MN. They occasionally go to the doggy beaches which is one of their favorite outings. I also go to a local Equine facility that have a horse pool perfect for the hounds, I encourage this type of exercise thoroughly as it is a non-impact form of exercise to improve strength and stamina, and help muscles stay loose and limber.
So...... if you decide you want an Irish Wolfhound to add to your family, please, sit down and really think about what you are about to undertake, not all breeds suit certain lifestyles, and I spend months getting to know new potential owners so I can decide if a Wolfhound is a good fit for everyone. The Irish wolfhound is not a guard dog, and although you may love the breed, who wouldn't, it may not be right the right dog for you or your family.
Most breeders, well those of good standing will interrogate you and ask you lots of questions, the adoption process should be long and can be quite invasive so be prepared.