The Irish Wolfhound does best when human companionship is the center of his daily life. When mature, despite his space-eating size, he is a relaxed
presence within a family circle, noble and responsive, providing no harshness of attitude is thwarted when his environment is ungiving. His nature and
temperament make his totally unsuitable as a guard dog, watch-dog, or patrol dog. Though watchful he is not suspicious; though courageous he is
not aggressive. The Wolfhound is renowned for his tremendous size and abounding grace and good nature.
Wolfhound pups need to be brought into loving environments during the crucial formative months. Your little Irish pup will need to be cuddled and
talked to - and trained. And due to his massive size and energies, he will need much open space and fresh air in which to exercise. In spite of his
size, the Irish Wolfhound possesses tremendous ability to leap and to run at impressive speeds.
A completely natural breed, the Wolfhound's ears are uncropped, his tail undocked. Clippers and trimmers are enemies of his coat; no part of him,
particularly his head, should appear styled.
The habitat of most Irish Wolfhounds bred in this century has been the private home where his quiet manners, gentle nature, and comfortable sense
of companionship have made it a natural one. Although the chase is not his preoccupation, we must never forget it is his natural sport and the sight
of him in characteristic gallop, swiftly covering the ground beneath him, is exhilarating and leaves no doubt of his need to exercise this birthright.
My saying is “Irish Wolfhound, everything else is just another dog”, and for me this is very true. I have owned other breeds in the past, and would
never consider sharing my life with anything other than a wolfhound again. They have won my heart in every way.
The dog of kings and the king of dogs, the Irish wolfhound is a living symbol of the Celtic people. A dog from the time of heroes, it is entwined in Irish
lore and legend. The tallest of dogs, the noble Wolfhound is an enormous, rough-coated shaggy-browed hound, built on galloping lines and is a
member of the Greyhound family and combines their great speed with enormous power. Even as he lies by a modern hearth or romps about an
enclosed yard, gallops in a meadow or along a beach, it is easy to imagine him as the prominent figure he once was in the feudal life of the Middle
Ages. He was coveted for his hunting prowess, particularly in the pursuit of wolf. With the disappearance from Ireland of these animals, and the
excessive exportation of the dwindling ranks of Wolfhound, the breed was allowed to become almost extinct.
Wolfhounds were, indeed, so highly thought of that only kings, warriors, nobles and bards were legally allowed to own them. They were the
companions of the regal, and housed themselves alongside them. But their function was far from ornate - they were considered the guardians of
their noble masters, and they were indeed bred to hunt wolves and capture wolves, and to go in for the kill. It is not surprising to note that there are
no known wolves in Ireland today.
Despite the Irish Wolfhound being a large dog, they do not eat as much as you might think. They should be kept nice and trim. Unlike the Russian
Wolfhound (Borzoi), who were bred to keep a wolf at bay until the hunter arrived, the Irish Wolfhounds were bred not only to hunt the wolf down, but
to go in for the kill. They killed wolves in the same way a cat kills a rat, by shaking it until it's neck snapped. Therefore, the Irish Wolfhound is both
powerful and fast. They are also one of the few breeds that do well both in show and field trial competitions.
Irish Wolfhounds need no kind of attack training to guard our homes, in fact no responsible dog owner would train an Irish Wolfhound to attack. Just
think about it, a dog over 6 foot on it's hind legs and 180 pounds, attack trained............... Not a very good idea.
Other Names: Irish Dogs, Greyhounds of Ireland, Big Dogs of Ireland, Wolfdogs of Ireland, Great Hounds of Ireland.
The Wolfhound is a kindly, tolerant dog, gentle by nature, BUT do not be misled by the Gentle Giant image, a young hound can be unruly with great
personality. Wolfhounds do not realize their size and that welcoming tail can catch both child and adult unawares. Wolfhounds have only the kindest
intentions toward children, however, great care must be exercised, particularly with young children, it would be all too easy for a small child to be
knocked over, albeit unintentionally. Common sense, however, precludes the mingling of a small child with a young Wolfhound, the child is no match
for an affectionate, playful puppy weighing 50 to 100 pounds, a toss of whose head or a running sideswipe of whose body can have bruising
However, do not allow the great size of this dog to fool you into thinking that it would be "too much dog" for you or your children. This dog is not in
the least bit "fierce", he is unequivocally a true "gentle giant". Despite his heritage as a powerful hunter of wolves, dating as far back as the days of
ancient Roman grandeur, the Irish wolfhound is renowned today for his calm temperament. This Irish charmer is an excellent choice for a family pet.
Lure Coursing, the most fun your Wolfhound can have
Lure Coursing, which is becoming a popular sport and pastime among sighthound enthusiasts around the country, is actually an ancient sport and is
perhaps one of the earliest of all sports. The world's fastest dogs participate in lure coursing events, and our Irish wolfhound is one of them.
Becoming involved in such an event with your pet will serve a number of beneficial purpose: it will keep your dog in a trim and healthy condition,
satisfy his instinctive need to "hunt" (even if in this case the "prey" is merely an artificial lure) and strengthen the bond between dog and master.
Lure Coursing, is an excellent way to motivate yourself to keep your hound(s) in condition! Your hound will be trim and muscular; keeping the heart,
lungs and circulation in great shape. We know how keeping fit and healthy can add years on our own lives; imagine what this form of exercise will do
for your hound(s). Your Irish wolfhound needs to show its functionality not just be a friendly, loving couch potato. Please give Lure Coursing great
consideration for your hound as more and more it is becoming obvious that lure coursing can help us extend the lifespan of our beloved hounds. In
spite of his size, the Irish Wolfhound possesses tremendous ability to leap and to run at impressive speeds.
Lure Coursing is not only a test of speed, and your dog is evaluated on the following points:
*ENTHUSIASM: (Max 15 Points) Lively, single minded, showing great eagerness & determination in regard to the lure, after the "Tally-Ho" & until the
lure passes the marked "Finish" for the course.
*FOLLOW: (Max 15 Points) Chasing the lure with the intent of taking it, while maintaining a path of reasonably close proximity to the lure's course,
considering the relative positions of the dogs to the lure and to each other. Keenness is exhibited when the dog reacts immediately to any change in
the motion of the lure. A dog that becomes unsighted for some good reason & yet attempts to find the lure again is not severely penalized, depending
on how hard it works at trying to find the lure again, & how soon it does so.
*SPEED: (Max 25 Points) Rapidity in moving, the rate of moving or progress. Credit goes to the dog, which levels out low, stretching & really drives.
Since timing is not used to measure speed, the dog's manner of "putting out" is an important means of assessing its ability to cover ground.
*AGILITY: (Max 25 Points) The ability to move quickly & easily. Nimbleness in negotiating terrain, which may cause a dog to slip or slide. Turning
without going wide or cutting or breaking stride. Co-ordination of movement.
*ENDURANCE: (Max 20 Points) Lasting quality, stamina of physical & mental concentration. Credit is given to the dog, which does not fade, or pull up
or slacken. PENALTIES: Pre-slip penalty for dogs whose handlers start their dogs before the Hunts master has given the "Tally-Ho".
Course delay penalty: Dogs which delay their course or whose handlers delay the course may be penalized, but not by trying to retrieve the lure upon
completion of the course.
Please think carefully before you consider
an Irish Wolfhound as an addition to your
family, this is something I would say
before considering any breed. Because of
his great size and the amount of exercise
crucial for his well-being, the Irish
Wolfhound is not a dog to be acquired
without serious forethought. An ideal
home would be one which provides a
large fenced property sufficient in size to
accommodate the galloping natural to
this athletic sight hound. Hunting by sight
and chase is what he was bred and
historically used for; the length of the leg
and back, the deep chest, the might of
his limbs and body attest to the heritage
and needs of the Irish Wolfhound.
The Irish Wolfhound, because of his
extreme size, will require more in
regards to living space than would a
much smaller breed. This dog, among
the largest in the world, will need
adequate room in which to exercise
freely each and every day, so if you have
a large fenced-in yard, or better yet a
farm, the Irish Wolfhound may be the
dog for you. Unless you can
accommodate this gentle giant with a
suitably sized "castle", you might want to
consider acquiring a smaller dog.
The ideal owner would be one who has
the capability to respond to the gentle
nature which dwells within his great
frame; who discerns the intelligence
which manifests itself in his response to
everyday situations as they occur.
The Irish Wolfhound was the most treasured and sought after hunting dog of the early centuries, not only because of it's hunting
skill but because he was an outstanding guardian and companion. When hunting game such as wolves, deer and boars, the Irish
Wolfhound hunted by sight rather than scent. This attribute led to the term gazehound or sight hound.