Irish wolfhound

Description Irish wolfhound

Serene, Loyal, Watchful
The Irish Wolfhound, also known as the Irish Wolfhound, is one of the largest dog breeds in the world. When it comes to size, the gentle giants are second only to the Great Dane. Although the name might suggest it, the wolfhound is no more closely related to the wolf than any other breed of dog.FCI Group: Sighthounds

  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 40-55kg
  • Life expectancy: 6-10 years
  • Coat type: long hair
  • Colours: black, white, brindle, fawn, grey, red

Character Irish wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is an FCI recognized independent dog breed. They belong to the FCI group 10 section 2, the rough-haired greyhounds.
The wolfhound’s coat is slightly longer, rough, and hard. The coat color can be black, white, grey, red, fawn or even brindle. According to the breed standard, the same colors are permitted for the Irish Wolfhound as for the Deerhound.

As befits a sighthound, Irish Wolfhounds have a lean but very strong, well-developed musculature. They still look very delicate for their size. Females reach a shoulder height of at least 71 cm and males more than 79 cm. They reach a weight of about 40 to 55 kg.
Despite their imposing size, the Irish Wolfhound is a very gentle and calm character.

He is a very relaxed and easy-going dog and can hardly be disturbed. It is therefore also very suitable for families with children.
However, the Irish Wolfhound can get uncomfortable when he needs to. They are known for their loyalty and bravery. The pedigree dogs are very alert and will not leave their owner’s side.

In an emergency, they would defend their people. Basically, they are by no means aggressive, but they are good at assessing a dangerous situation.
The Irish Wolfhound was used in Ireland for hunting wolves. Later it was also used for bear hunting. That is why they have a lot of strength, energy and a well-developed hunting instinct.

You need a lot of exercise every day. It’s best to give him the opportunity for a few short sprints as well.
For a sighthound, racing is a real basic need to keep it busy. However, it is not suitable for agility and dog sports, which require a lot of jumps. Due to the size and weight, his joints would be put under too much strain and wear out quickly.

The Irish Wolfhound is very docile and adaptable.
In principle, he could therefore also be kept in the city. Provided he gets the opportunity to let off steam in a suitable place. It is only suitable to a limited extent for the apartment, as the large animals need a lot of space. So if he should live in an apartment, then it would have to be big enough.

A yard is a plus for keeping Irish Wolfhounds, but it does not replace extensive walking and running.
The Irish Wolfhound usually gets along very well with other dogs. Due to his relaxed and good-natured nature, there are rarely disputes with other dogs. Nevertheless, because of its size and pronounced hunting instinct, it should be socialized early on and accustomed to conspecifics and other animals. In this way you can avoid negative experiences in everyday life.

Likewise, the upbringing must be consistent with a dog of this size. As the owner, however, you must never be overly strict or harsh. Wolfhounds are sensitive and very stubborn at the same time. The implementation of commands can take a little longer, since he first has to carefully check and weigh them up. This requires a lot of patience from the owner.

However, once the wolfhound has gained trust and established a strong bond, their loyalty is hard to beat.

Diet Irish wolfhound

There are a few things to consider when it comes to nutrition. Because the Irish Wolfhound is very large, it requires significantly more food than smaller breeds. But not only the quantity is important. Especially when you are a puppy, you should not skimp on nutrition. The small wolfhounds grow very quickly and need the necessary nutrients for this.

The food should not be filled with excessively empty energy, as it can negatively affect the weight and growth of dogs. If they become too heavy before their bones and joints are strong enough, it can lead to serious illnesses and deformities later. For young dogs, you should choose a puppy food specifically for very large breeds if you want to use ready-made food. It takes an Irish Wolfhound up to 2 years to mature.
Another important consideration in the Irish Wolfhound diet is the calcium to phosphorus ratio.

Too much phosphorus in the feed inhibits the absorption of calcium. This leads to bone loss. With breeds as heavy and large as the Irish Wolfhound, this can be dangerous. Ideally, the ratio of calcium and phosphorus should be balanced. Because phosphorus is also important for the body.


The Irish Wolfhound is a fairly easy-care and undemanding dog. The long coat should be brushed thoroughly about once or twice a week. As with other dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears and teeth. You can gently wipe the eyes and ears with a soft cloth if they are dirty.
Heat builds up in the drooping ears of wolfhounds, which are usually slightly angled back.

This creates more sebum and dirt is deposited in the auricles and in the entrance area of ​​the auditory canal. To avoid ear infections, you should therefore regularly make sure that your ears are clean. However, you must not penetrate too deeply into the ear, otherwise you risk injuring the ear and the eardrum.
After a walk, especially if you have walked through tall grass or across fields, you should check the fur thoroughly for ticks. The long coat of the wolfhound offers many hiding places for the unwelcome parasites.

Large dog breeds, such as the Irish Wolfhound, should avoid climbing stairs whenever possible. It is best if he lives on the ground floor or if there is an elevator. Otherwise, you’ll have to carry him up the stairs, but that can be a problem with an adult wolfhound. Climbing stairs is problematic because it puts a strain on the joints and can promote conditions such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
Rest periods should be a priority for an Irish Wolfhound.

Young dogs in particular are sometimes very cocky and overestimate their strength. Since the bones and joints are not yet so stable, the young dog must be protected from overload.
The wolfhound has a very calm and almost stoic nature. As a result, owners often notice late that something is wrong. Because the dogs usually endure any pain without showing anything.

They keep going until it’s almost too late. This is why it is so important for Irish Wolfhound owners to keep a close eye on their dogs. Any change in weight, behavior, or movement patterns could be an indication that something is wrong.


The Irish Wolfhound is a very old breed of dog. Little is known about its exact origins. History suggests the breed could have existed for over 7000 years. Even in ancient Egypt, people are said to have kept very large greyhound-like dogs.
These are believed to have been brought to Ireland by the Celts around 3000 BC.

Archaeologists have found the remains of very large greyhounds during excavations in the region around England, Wales and Ireland. They could have been Irish wolfhounds or at least one of his ancestors. The bone finds indicate that the animals had a shoulder height of 71 cm or more.
In ancient and medieval times, only nobles were allowed to own the Irish Wolfhound. He was a real status symbol.

But because of their size, strength and pronounced courage, the dogs were more than that for their owners. The Irish Wolfhound was often described as a loyal soldier or brave warrior. In many sagas and legends, the special character of the Irish wolfhound is particularly emphasized.
The Irish Wolfhound was an excellent hunting dog and very popular at the time. It was used to hunt big game, such as bears, wolves and mooses.

However, when firearms were invented, the Irish Wolfhound became less important as a hunting dog.
The breed became less and less kept as it no longer served a purpose. The Irish wolfhound was in danger of becoming extinct. Around the middle of the 17th century, it was forbidden by law to take the Irish wolfhound out of Ireland, as there were hardly any dogs of this breed left.
The breed finally began to be revived in Ireland in the mid-19th century.

For this purpose, the last Wolfhounds were crossed with other breeds such as Deerhound, Great Dane and Borzoi. The result of these breeding attempts is the Irish Wolfhound as it is officially recognized today. Compared to the original wolfhound, today’s is a bit more powerful and larger.

Irish wolfhound Accessories

To groom the wolfhound’s long, wiry coat, it’s a good idea to use a brush designed for long-haired dogs. Detangling combs are also well suited, as they remove the small knots from the fur. A matted coat prevents the skin from breathing and is a breeding ground for germs and parasites.
Because of its size, a raised feeding bowl can be a worthwhile purchase. If the food bowl is on the ground, the large dogs have to bend down very far to get their food.

A height-adjustable bowl is ideal for those who adopt their wolfhound as a puppy. You can adjust it as you like to the size of your growing wolfhound.
Wolfhounds are not overly playful and, being sighthounds, are not overly food-centric. Nevertheless, they are also happy about a ball that they can chase after or a snack as a reward. A dog ball machine would be a great idea for you with a yard.

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