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Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is the largest breed of dog. They are gentle and friendly. This giant breed requires plenty of space within the home and outside of it.

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Physical Characteristics
  • Coat: Rough, shaggy hair
  • Wiry, bushy eyebrows
  • Coat colors are gray, fawn, brindle, red, black or white
  • Tail hangs with slight curve
  • Ears are carried back
  • Average height: 30-35 inches
  • Average weight: 105-120 pounds
  • Average lifespan: 6-8 years
  • Kind, patient, agreeable, even-tempered, loyal
  • Interaction with people: Good with children; friendly toward strangers
  • Level of attention needed: Needs significant human interaction and companionship
  • Training: Responds best to firm, yet gentle, training. Slow to mature; may take two years before this breed becomes full-grown
Medical Conditions
While the listed ailments may be common in this breed, not all members of the breed suffer from these conditions. Responsible breeders screen for orthopedic and genetic diseases.
At Home
  • Not recommended for apartments
  • Needs large yard with fence or acreage
  • Needs daily walks and plenty of exercise
  • Owners need a large home and car to sufficiently house this giant breed
  • Do not over-exercise as puppies
  • Needs experienced owner
  • Average shedder
  • Regular grooming required; combination of brushing and combing works best
  • Pluck coat bi-annually to remove dead hair
Other Facts
  • Tallest of all dogs; can grow to be the size of a small pony
  • "Irish Wolfhound" is the most modern name for this breed, which is also known as "Irish dogs," "big dogs of Ireland," "greyhounds of Ireland," and "wolfdogs"
  • Brought to Ireland by the Celts around 1500 B.C.
  • Puppies can weigh up to 100 pounds
Breed History
  • Irish wolfhound was once a popular gift for royalty
  • Descendents of a giant, shaggy breed historically used for wolf, elk and wild boar hunting
  • Used in battle to wrench enemies off horseback
  • Became nearly extinct after the famine of 1846, but was re-established later by a Scottish officer in the British army
For more information about this breed and breeder referral contacts, please visit the Irish Wolfhound Club of America For breed rescue opportunities, visit IWCA Rescue
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