VCA California Oaks Animal Hospital

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

Basic Irish Wolfhound Information

  • Lifespan: 6 - 8 years
  • Height: 30 - 32 inches
  • Weight: 105 - 120 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Irish Wolfhounds

Irish Wolfhound Traits

  • Joggin Partner
  • Lap Dog
  • Good with Children
  • Warm Weather
  • Cold Weather
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Ease of Training

Irish Wolfhound History

  • The first mention of an Irish wolfhound is from Rome in 391 A.D. The breed gained fame as a gladiator of wild animals in the arena and as a hunter of large game.
  • The combination of speed and strength made the dog the subject of many stories.
  • The Irish name for the breed is Cu Faoil. Cu is a term implying bravery, and was once given to all large hounds.
  • Irish chieftains favored the dogs for hunting the wolf and Irish elk. They also gave groups of them as traditional gifts to foreign nobility.
  • The breed declined in number so that they were almost extinct in Ireland by 1800. The famine of 1845 almost ended the breed.
  • In 1869, Captain G.A. Graham set about to reconstitute the breed by crossing the few remaining Irish Wolfhounds with other breeds such as the Scottish deerhound, Borzoi and Great Dane.
  • The breed regained its numbers and became famous as the world's tallest dog.

Irish Wolfhound Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a loyal and gentle companion.
  • Its laidback nature may make play frustrating for children. It is not a retriever.
  • Good with children, strangers, and other pets and dogs.
  • It is unhurried when it comes to minding.
  • It is not particularly good as either a watchdog or protection dog.
  • It enjoys hunting and chasing wild animals.
  • Obedience training is a must because of its size and strength.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving food.

Irish Wolfhound Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a very quiet housedog as long as its exercise needs are met.
  • Requires a moderate walk or short jog, or a run in an enclosed area, every day.
  • A few games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
  • Its harsh coat provides some protection against cold and wet weather.

Irish Wolfhound Grooming

  • Coat is rough and harsh.
  • The coat needs weekly brushing and occasional bathing.
  • Dead hairs should be stripped from the coat twice a year.
  • Shedding is below average.
  • Calluses can form on the elbows and other pressure points, and can be difficult to cure.

Suggested Irish Wolfhound Nutritional Needs

  • Irish wolfhound conformation is for a moderate build.
  • You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too noticeable.
  • Puppies should be fed a large breed growth food so that they do not grow too fast.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.

Did you know?

  • Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
  • Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.

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Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.