Irish Wolfhound: A Medieval Favorite in Modern TimesReading Time: 5 minutes
Meet the Irish Wolfhound! Are you curious about a breed of dog that’s basically straight out of Medieval times? The tallest breed around, this former fighter is now a loving, loyal, and very handsome companion!
Dashing, Daring, Courageous and Caring: Introducing Irish Wolfhounds!
The Irish Wolfhound is a large-and-in-charge family companion. These wolf hunters are the tallest dog breed around but are also very calm, patient, and kind. Their cute shaggy eyes give way to a very calm and intelligent breed of pup.
While they are very dignified with a long and ancient heritage, these Irish cuties aren’t for everyone. Their large size doesn’t make them ideal for apartment living and they have a short lifespan. But, if you’re fortunate enough to have an Irish Wolfhound in your life, you know why they are so special.
A Brief History of this Irish Dog Breed
Irish Wolfhounds are a very old breed. Some estimates place them as having been around since 7000 BC!
This Great Hound of Ireland was bred to hunt wolves and fight in battle which is funny since they are such sweethearts now. But, back then, they were used to pull soldiers off their horses or chariots in battle and were very intimidating, especially to those outside of Ireland, who weren’t familiar with the breed.
In fact, in 391 AD seven Irish Wolfhounds were sent to Rome as a gift and everyone was completely captivated by their size and poise.
You see, these gentle giants were popular as gifts between rulers and other noble people. Leaders would send them as gifts with collars made of silver and gold. Castles must have had a lot of room for these Wolfhounds to run and play!
These hounds are important to Ireland’s culture. They are mentioned in old Irish texts dating back to the 5th century!
In these texts, Wolfhounds are called Cu, which was later used as a way to refer to warriors and kings out of respect for these furry friends. An old Irish proverb described Irish Wolfhounds like this: “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.”
Irish law also only allowed kings and nobles to own Irish Wolfhounds. That’s how respected these cuties were! And, get this, the number of wolfhounds owned related to the title held.
The higher the title, the more Irish Wolfhounds you could own.
Even though these beauties were beloved by Ireland their numbers sharply declined over the years until they almost disappeared completely!
Since they were hunting dogs, they decreased a ton after wolves and elk were almost hunted to extinction in Ireland. Luckily, some aristocrats noticed this and worked to bring the breed back.
As you can see, these tall and prestigious dogs have had a pretty wild history, now let’s learn more about them.
Scottish Deerhound vs. Irish Wolfhound: What’s the Difference?
Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds are both members of the hound group. They were also both bred to hunt big game, but our friends, the Irish Wolfhounds, stand taller and are more muscular than their Scottish relatives.
They are also a more popular breed, ranked 73rd by the AKC while deerhounds are 154th.
These dogs have similar appearances but the Scottish Deerhound resembles the greyhound a little more, and is a little thinner. These hounds both have medium length, coarse hair, and similar personalities.
Guess what? They both like having alone time! They also get along with children and are very affectionate.
However, these two do have some important personality differences.
Irish Wolfhounds are more intelligent, trainable, and get along well with other dogs. They love their doggy playtime! But deerhounds can get in fights with other dogs and be more stubborn.
Scottish Deerhounds also have higher energy and need more exercise than their Irish friends.
The Appearance of These Tall Wolf Hunters
So, so far we know the Irish wolfhound dog is tall. But, what else do we know about them?
Well, they have a very thick and coarse coat of hair that needs to be regularly brushed and sheds year round. But, this dog won’t need a bath more than a couple times a year. Yay!
The hair on its face and around its eyes will be wiry, long, and can use a trim every so often.
They have a variety of coat colors including white, gray, black, or red. And, since this dog was bred to hunt using sight, they have a long neck and hold their head high. This only adds to the Irish wolfhound dog’s prestige.
These wolf dogs from Ireland are also well built and muscular, always on alert. They are graceful and greyhound like in build.
This dog will also appear to be longer than it is tall. I know, it’s a whole lot of dog to love!
Average Irish Wolfhound Size and Weight
Alright, so we know these Irish pups are the tallest breed around, but how big do they actually get?
On average, male Irish Wolfhounds are 34 to 35 inches tall and weigh about 120 pounds. Although, a male can get up to 140-180 pounds.
Females are a little smaller, standing about 30 inches tall and weighing around 105 pounds. However, they can reach up to 32 to 34 inches and between weigh 115-140 pounds.
An Irish Wolfhound Puppy is a Lot of Puppy!
Irish Wolfhound puppies are adorable and a lot to handle! These little babies start out at around 20 pounds. Not exactly tiny, but they are quick learners and very easy going.
Be aware, these little guys will chew on things and they have a very strong jaw.
It’s important to get your wolfhound to puppy kindergarten early and get them trained. Socialization is key for these gentle little pups and you’ll be thankful you started early.
Temperament and Personality of the English Wolfhound Dog
Don’t be fooled by this Irish War Dog’s past! These dogs are gentle and smart and they love human companionship. They are also extremely sensitive and respond well to praise but can shut down from harsh treatment.
Irish Wolfhounds are not aggressive. On the contrary, they are calm, dignified, and friendly. But, when it comes to defending their family, they will put their life on the line.
Wolfhounds enjoy long walks and would love a run but they will also adapt to your level of activity. They just want to be around their human companions. So, if you lay around the house, you may find your wolfhound doing the same! It’s good for their health to get exercise so try not to let this happen.
Overall, these gentle giants are reserved, introverted, calm, and patient. They bring a sense of calm and dignity to their home and are exceedingly loyal to their family.
These Huge Wolf Dogs Just Love People!
Like I said, you will not find a more loyal companion than a wolfhound. They are completely devoted to their family and form deep bonds with the humans in their lives.
They are considered a guardian, not a guard dog. This means, they don’t defend possessions but they defend their humans. They are empathetic and have deep connections with humans which, some think, allows them to tell if someone has malicious intents towards you!
10 Most Popular Irish Dog Names
What better way to pay tribute to your pup’s land of origin than to give it an Irish name! Here are some traditional names from Ireland and their meaning, that will suit your wolfhound:
- Conan- Not just the talk show host! This Irish name means Little Wolf
- Gallagher- Means foreign helper. A good way to describe these dogs!
- Donnelly- Brave one
- Finley- Hero (I’m seeing a theme!)
- Grady- Noble one
- Cian- Ancient
- Connor- Lover of hounds (aw!)
- Bidelia- female name meaning strength
- Orla- Golden princess
- Kira- throne
Make it Irish! Irish Wolfhound Mixes Make Wonderful Dogs!
The gentle intelligence of Irish wolfhounds makes it a great breed for mixes as well! Since wolfhounds can have some health problems due to their size, mixing them with another breed can help eliminate some problems.
Here are some popular mixes to look out for!
Irish Wolfhound/ German Shepard mix
This mix will be very loyal and intelligent. Watch out because it will also shed a lot!
Irish Wolfhound/ Labrador Retriever mix
A mix of two very loyal, calm, family dogs. You couldn’t ask for a better companion to share your life with than a mix of these two sweet creatures.
The Irish Dane is a mix of a Great Dane and an Irish Wolfhound. Now, this will be a big, smart, loyal, gangly companion! The Irish Dane will be friendly with a playful side and eager to please. This breed will love everyone!
Irish Wolfhound/ Poodle mix
This mix creates a very playful, loyal dog that is great with children. They can be quite large but also fluffy and completely affectionate. This mix just wants to be a part of the family pack!
How Long do These Giant Dogs Live?
These beautiful dogs have a short lifespan because of their large size. They usually live to between six and eight years old.
10 Facts You Didn’t Know About The King of Irish Sheepdog Breeds
- Wolfhounds thrive when they are home with their owners. They aren’t outdoor dogs and much prefer the calm and companionship of indoor life.
- Irish folk hero Finn MacCumhaill owned 500 wolfhounds because of his status in society!
- The wolfhound is the tallest of all the sighthounds, that is, dogs that use their vision in order to track prey.
- Although this breed is big and beautiful, they are not a horse and should not be ridden by children. They can have trouble with their joints and this kind of playing puts too much stress on these dogs.
- 40 minutes of exercise a day is enough for your dog to thrive!
- These dogs are best suited to homes without stairs because of wear and tear on their joints.
- Although they were bred to hunt, these pups are pacifists and prefer not to fight.
- These cuties don’t curl up, they like to spread out.
- They get along well with other dogs and even with cats.
- They don’t tend to snore!
Irish Wolfhound for Sale
You can find registered AKC breeders through the American Kennel Club site. It’s best to find one through AKC so you can ensure the quality and health of your future pet. You can also find breeders online or on Facebook.
Irish Wolfhound Puppies for Sale Near Me!
Ready to take home a puppy of your very own? Research is key! You know to check AKC for a breeder in your area and get ready for the fun to begin.
Breeders usually allow you to take home your dog at eight to twelve weeks old.
Irish Wolfhound Price
The Irish Wolfhound’s price tag matches its prestige. These beautiful babes go for between $1,500 and $2,000. Believe us, they’re worth every penny.
Irish Wolfhound Breeders Near Me!
If you’re looking for a breeder, it’s best to look for ones registered with the AKC. It’s important to find a trustworthy breeder so you can ensure the good treatment of your pup.
A reputable breeder will allow you to visit puppies before making a decision and also let you meet the parents of your future companion.
You want to find a breeder that uses humane conditions and healthy parents, as some breeders use puppy mills and abused parents. Make sure to do your research!
Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Irish Wolfhound Rescues!
Call up your local shelter and ask if they have any wolfhounds! What better way to bring your pup into your family than to rescue them.
A good resource to find these Irish beauties to rescue is The Irish Wolfhound Club of America. They have a rescue directory to find yourself a wolfhound in need of a home.
Overall, this is a breed that is a great addition to any family with enough space to welcome one. Their rich history and calming energy bring fun and joy to everyone!
Common Questions on Irish Wolfhounds
What’s the lifespan of an Irish Wolfhound?
How big is a full grown Irish Wolfhound?
Where can I find an Irish Wolfhound rescue?
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