Lovable Dogs Dog Breeds 101: Irish WolfHound - Lovable Dogs

Dog Breeds 101: Irish WolfHound

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Dog Breeds 101 - Irish Wolfhound
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The Irish Wolfhound is the gentle giant of the canine world. Nearly 7 feet tall when it stands up on its hind legs, the full-grown Irish Wolfhound is, in fact, the tallest dog in the world. It has even been described as “like a small horse.” [1]

To be able to grow this big, this dog has to grow pretty fast. And it does! Irish Wolfhound puppies have been known to gain as much as a pound a day.

At full size, this dog of course stops growing at such a ridiculous rate. But that doesn’t put a damper on its appetite. Irish Wolfhounds can consume up to 3.5 pounds of dog food per day. [2]

In the past, Irish Wolfhounds were given as gifts to nobility – perhaps because in those days, only the rich and landed could afford to feed them! This dog’s proclivity for rubbing elbows with the rich and famous made it a highly esteemed breed, despite the fact that it looks a bit pauperish because of its characteristically rough and wiry coat, which can come in shades of white, fawn, gray, brindle, red, or black. [3]

Its royal masters liked to take the Irish Wolfhound on hunting expeditions because this dog was such a good hunter of large prey. In fact, the Irish Wolfhound was so good at hunting, the wolves and elk that it hunted practically disappeared from the Irish Wolfhound’s hunting grounds. This event was followed by a sharp decline in the dogs’ popularity. [4]

Fortunately, a dog so big and so loyal cannot be ignored for so long. The Irish Wolfhound actually has the perfect pet temperament – fierce and skillful in battle but patient and playful at home with the children. [1]

It is therefore no surprise that the Irish Wolfhound’s decline was only temporary. Today, this huge dog has returned to good human graces, and even better, you don’t need to be royalty to own it any more. However, you still do need a big house, or at least, a big yard for it to stretch its long legs in.

You may expect that a dog as big as a small horse would need a lot of space and time to gallop around, but in actuality, this dog really doesn’t ask for much, just an outdoor romp once or twice a day for exercise. The rest of the time, it is happy to docilely stay indoors as it is not a naturally rambunctious creature. Really, this dog is quite easy to please.

In addition, it’s also easy to groom. Unlike its more aristocratic-looking counterparts, who need daily brushing to keep their luxurious coats in perfect condition, this rather proletariat-looking dog can do with just a weekly brushing to keep its coat looking its very best.

An Irish Wolfhound that is well cared for can give joy to its human for up to eight years on average. Sad to say, this dog has one of the shortest life spans in the canine world, largely because of its size. For instance, its heart has to work extra hard to pump blood to the end of its extremely long legs. It doesn’t always succeed in doing that, and then fluids begin to accumulate in its feet and cause swelling. [2]

Veterinarians recommend that Irish Wolfhound owners should always observe their pet carefully, because this rather stoic breed is unlikely to fuss when feeling unwell. [1] “If you have an Irish Wolfhound and he’s chewing at his back feet, you should get his heart checked”, says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman. [2]

Check out this video to learn more about the Irish Wolfhound!


[1] Get to know the Irish Wolfhound. American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/breeds/irish_wolfhound/index.cfm

[2] Breed All About It – Irish Wolf Hound – Animal Planet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xHy7jHrhAw

[3] Irish Wolfhound Standard of Excellence: General Appearance. Irish Wolfhound Club of America. http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/breed-standard

[4] Starbuck, Alma. Early History of the Breed. Irish Wolfhound Club of America. http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/earlyhistory

Do you want the easiest, fastest way to an obedient dog? Watch this video:

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