- The first mention of an Irish wolfhound is from Rome in 391 A.D. The breed gained fame as a gladiator of wild animals in the arena and as a hunter of large game.
- The combination of speed and strength made the dog the subject of many stories.
- The Irish name for the breed is Cu Faoil. Cu is a term implying bravery, and was once given to all large hounds.
- Irish chieftains favored the dogs for hunting the wolf and Irish elk. They also gave groups of them as traditional gifts to foreign nobility.
- The breed declined in number so that they were almost extinct in Ireland by 1800. The famine of 1845 almost ended the breed.
- In 1869, Captain G.A. Graham set about to reconstitute the breed by crossing the few remaining Irish Wolfhounds with other breeds such as the Scottish deerhound, Borzoi and Great Dane.
- The breed regained its numbers and became famous as the world’s tallest dog.
Irish Wolfhound Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and gentle companion.
- Its laidback nature may make play frustrating for children. It is not a retriever.
- Good with children, strangers, and other pets and dogs.
- It is unhurried when it comes to minding.
- It is not particularly good as either a watchdog or protection dog.
- It enjoys hunting and chasing wild animals.
- Obedience training is a must because of its size and strength.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food.
Irish Wolfhound Suggested Exercises
- Makes a very quiet housedog as long as its exercise needs are met.
- Requires a moderate walk or short jog, or a run in an enclosed area, every day.
- A few games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its harsh coat provides some protection against cold and wet weather.
Irish Wolfhound Grooming
- Coat is rough and harsh.
- The coat needs weekly brushing and occasional bathing.
- Dead hairs should be stripped from the coat twice a year.
- Shedding is below average.
- Calluses can form on the elbows and other pressure points, and can be difficult to cure.
Suggested Irish Wolfhound Nutritional Needs
- Irish wolfhound conformation is for a moderate build.
- You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too noticeable.
- Puppies should be fed a large breed growth food so that they do not grow too fast.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
>>> SEE ALSO: Know Your Pet