The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of domestic dog, specifically a very large sighthound from [wiki base=”EN”]Ireland[/wiki]. The name originates from its purpose—wolf hunting with dogs—rather than from its appearance. Originally developed from war hounds to one used for hunting and guarding, Irish Wolfhounds can be an imposing sight due to their formidable size.
Considered by the American Kennel Club to be the tallest of all dog breeds, describing the breed as, “Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type he is a rough-coated, Greyhound-like breed; very muscular, strong though gracefully built; movements easy and active; head and neck carried high, the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity”. The average height of an Irish Wolfhound should be taller than that of a Great Dane. However, the wolfhound is not to be confused with being the heaviest, as its structure should be similar to that of a Greyhound, with a very broad and deep chest that tucks up.
Its colour may be grey, brindle, red, black, white, fawn, and wheaten.
Irish Wolfhounds have a varied range of personalities and are most often noted for their personal quirks and individualism. An Irish Wolfhound, however, is rarely mindless, and despite its large size is rarely found to be destructive in the house or boisterous. This is because the breed is generally introverted, intelligent, and reserved in character. An easygoing animal, the Irish Wolfhound is quiet by nature. Wolfhounds often create a strong bond with their family and can become quite destructive or morose if left alone for long periods of time. An Irish Wolfhound is not a guard dog and will protect individuals rather than the house or the owner’s possessions. However independent the wolfhound is, the breed becomes attached to both owners and other dogs they are raised with and is therefore not the most adaptable of breeds. Bred for independence, an Irish Wolfhound is not necessarily keen on defending spaces. A wolfhound is most easily described by its historical motto, “gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”. Despite the need for their own people, Wolfhounds generally are somewhat stand-offish with total strangers. They should not be territorially aggressive to other domestic dogs but are born with specialized skills and it is common for hounds at play to course another dog. This is a specific hunting behavior, not a fighting or territorial domination behavior. Most Wolfhounds are very gentle with children. The Irish Wolfhound is relatively easy to train. They respond well to firm, but gentle, consistent leadership. However, historically these dogs were required to work at great distances from their masters and think independently when hunting rather than waiting for detailed commands and this can still be seen in the breed.
Like many large dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have a relatively short lifespan. Published lifespan estimations vary between 6 and 10 years with 7 years being the average. [wiki base=”EN”]Dilated cardiomyopathy[/wiki] and [wiki title=”Osteosarcoma” base=”EN”]bone cancer[/wiki] are the leading cause of death and like all deep-chested dogs, [wiki title=”Gastric_dilatation_volvulus” base=”EN”]gastric torsion[/wiki] (bloat) is common; the breed is affected by hereditary intrahepatic [wiki title=”Portosystemic_shunt” base=”EN”]portosystemic shunt[/wiki].
In a privately funded study conducted under the auspices of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America and based on an owner survey, Irish Wolfhounds in the United States from 1966 to 1986 lived to a mean age of 6.47 and died most frequently of bone cancer. A more recent study by the UK Kennel Club puts the average age of death at 7 years.
Irish Wolfhound. (2017, August 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_Wolfhound&oldid=793945947