If you’re looking for a family dog that resembles a small wolf, this hound could be the perfect choice. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but the right kind of grooming would soon smoothen it out. Don’t be fooled by its appearance; it is an excellent addition to any household, even one with kids. Read on to find out more about it and decide whether it’s the best decision for your next family pet.
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Irish Wolfhound Appearance
This dog breed is categorized as a hound dog with a height ranging from around 2’8” to 2’11” when measured from the shoulder. A full-grown Irish Wolfhound can weight anywhere from 115 pounds to 180 pounds. This makes it among the tallest dogs and largest among the sighthounds or dogs that can chase after moving prey.
The coat of an Irish Wolfhound is hard and rough. It also has long, wiry hair under the jaw and on the eyes. If it is bred especially for being a pet, the coat might be longer or shorter. The colors of its coat are usually white, fawn, gray, red, black, or brindle.
Irish Wolfhound Grooming
Since Irish Wolfhounds are prone to consistent shedding all year round, they require at least weekly brushing. This would also keep their coat healthy. They’re mostly clean animals, so your pet shouldn’t require baths more than a couple of times in a year unless it gets into a foul-smelling mess.
The excess hair in the ears may also be plucked if a neater look is preferred. Thinning scissors or stripping knives may also be used to trim the feet and neck hair. Since these hounds usually have a mane of sorts, you should be careful not to remove too much hair.
Irish Wolfhounds also need attention on their teeth and nails if they are to maintain a neat appearance. At the same time, you don’t want to compromise on the natural lines that give them their noble appearance. Daily teeth brushing is great for preventing bad breath and gum disease, while twice or thrice a week should be enough if you just want to keep them clean.
Irish Wolfhound Temperament
Even though the Irish Wolfhound has a ferocious past with war and hunting, it’s generally a gentle breed that’s good with children and even cats. The breed could become a lazy one, especially if left to rest indoors, so long walks are a must to keep its large body in shape.
It’s usually quiet but not suitable for living in apartments. This is mainly because of its large size, which would make it almost impossible for an owner to transport it in cases of sickness or injury. It’d be best off in a residency with a large yard that’s fenced up so that it may run freely.
These dogs are also not great for guarding. They won’t bark when they see an intruder, although their size might frighten someone off. While they do have a brave nature, they’re not aggressive or violent unless trained to be so. They're mostly affectionate, so the licking and drooling would have to be tolerated for someone who wants to keep them as a pet.
Irish Wolfhound Training
Since Irish Wolfhounds are essentially sighthounds, it’s in their natural instinct to chase any moving animal. When they’re on the run, they’re likely to not notice any oncoming traffic or even single vehicles. This unfortunate behavior may result in serious injuries or even premature death. If they are left to run, they might also injure or cause the death of someone else’s pet.
Fortunately, one can train Irish Wolfhounds with positive reinforcement methods and consistent rules. They’re an intelligent breed that can easily be housetrained. Crate training would serve to keep a puppy safe when there’s a risk of it misbehaving. However, this crate should be used sparingly and not for long stretches of time.
Irish Wolfhound History
The original use of Irish Wolfhounds was during wars. These dogs were trained to drag men from the opposing side off their horses, chariots, or any other form of transport. They were also used for hunting wolves, boar, deer, and other large game. Overall, this is a highly versatile and adaptable breed that’s now cherished as a family member in many states.
The origin of this breed was in Ireland, but it has faced near extinction in the 19th century. When the large prey animals mostly disappeared in the country, there wasn't much use left for these dogs, so they almost died out. However, they were revived and are now an admirable companion to many dog lovers.
Before this name, the Irish Wolfhound was known as Cu, a Gaelic name which could mean war dog, wolf dog, or hound. It’s mentioned extensively in centuries of Irish literature, including legends and myths.
The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed that dates all the way back to the Roman Empire. A record from 391 AD mentioned seven Wolfhounds of Irish origin that everyone in Rome looked upon with wonder. Irish history has seen this dog being the possession of kings and nobles. The more Wolfhounds one held, the more prestigious their title.
This breed is also called Cú Faoil in Irish.