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Irish Wolfhound


Basic Information

Belgium and Ireland
Breed Group
Harsh and Rough,Wire
25 - 35 Pounds
14 - 16 Inches



These proud dogs are the largest of all the hound breeds and although the Irish Wolfhound boasts an impressive size, they are known to be real gentle giants. They are renowned for their calm, relaxed natures and for their turn of speed. With this said, although the Irish Wolfhound is tall and large, they are perfectly balanced dogs boasting a harsh, rough coat that suits their overall appearance to a tee. Anyone wanting to share a home with one of these impressive dogs, might well need to accept being put on a waiting list, because not many Irish Wolfhound puppies are registered with the Kennel Club every year which means they can be hard to come by.

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It is estimated that Irish Wolfhounds have been around since 7000 BC which makes them one of the most ancient breeds on the planet. They were once bred and used to hunt wolves, boar, elk and often used as guard dogs. Another theory is that when the Celts landed in Greece in 275 BC, they found dogs that resembled greyhounds which they then took with them when they invaded many other parts of Europe. It is thought that these dogs were then crossed to others with mastiff type breeds being the candidates used to create even larger and bigger dogs.

The Romans came across these dogs when their armies first invaded Britain, but there are tales of a large hound being around in Ireland way back in 200 BC right through to 200 AD. Written records exist from the 5th century of dogs similar to the wolfhound being bred and sold for profit with many of the hounds being taken out of the country and others being offered as gifts to the royals in other lands.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, hounds were commonly used to hunt wolves with Oliver Cromwell banning the export of them from Britain because of the wolf problem throughout the country. It is thought that the last wolf was killed in Ireland in 1780 after which time the number of Wolfhounds went into decline and these majestic dogs nearly vanished off the face of the earth altogether.

Luckily, by the end of the next century, the Wolfhound started to make a comeback, albeit very slowly when people began crossing them with other hounds and dogs including the Deerhound and sometimes they were crossed with Borzois and Great Danes too.

It was not until the 1870s that Irish Wolfhounds were first to appear at dog shows when they made quite an impression with their large statures and calm, placid natures. A few years later in 1855 a breed club was established for these wonderful and noble looking dogs. Today, although the breed is known the world over, the Irish Wolfhound remains an Irish national treasure. Not many puppies are registered with the Kennel Club with just under 300 being recorded in 2015.

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