VCA Animal Hospitals

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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Emergency Care

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