Irish Wolfhound | Dog Breed Information & Facts


One of the largest dogs in the world is the Irish Wolfhound. Huge dimensions do not interfere with the look of this animal elegantly. It is difficult to name another type of dog, which would perfectly combine high intelligence, speed, greatness, crushing power and endless devotion to the owner.

Residents of Ireland consider the Irish Wolfhound a symbol of their country and are proud of it. If you are ready to have a huge, but loyal and friendly dog as a pet, pay attention to the Irish Wolfhound.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

However, currently, the Irish Wolfhound stands out as one of the most docile and loving dogs. For centuries this dog breed has defended land and animals from predators, especially the wolf, being recognized as an especially brave dog. Peaceful and very friendly, this dichotomy has surprised those who have been able to enjoy his company.

In this Pets Feed dog breed sheet, we will discover the tallest dog in the world, let’s meet the Irish Wolfhound!

Breed history

The Irish Wolfhound has been living on the earth for more than two thousand years, its history is one with Ireland, which is considered the birthplace of this type of dog. He is one of the most ancient. The first owners of the Irish wolfhound were continental Celts. It was with their tribes that the ancestors of modern Irish wolfhounds came to the British Isles about 300 BC.

This dog, surrounded by households, behaves like a friendly sheep, but on the hunt, he turns into a fearless, formidable lion. Such a dog was appreciated not for appearance, but for power, huge size, speed, in a word, for working ability. Sayings, legends and ballads were composed about it.

Initially, Celtic dogs were found with both hard and soft hair. But over time, due to a permanent stay in the harsh Irish climate, the coat remained only tough. When breeding, the owners of the Irish Wolfhound practically did not pay attention to the appearance of the puppies, the main thing is that they be healthy, mobile and not cowardly. Only the strongest dogs participated in the breeding, from which there was a high probability of obtaining full-fledged offspring.

Irish wolfhounds brought great benefit to their owners. Their popularity reached such heights that representatives of the breed in large numbers began to be exported to other countries. As a result, in the seventeenth century, these dogs almost disappeared, they were less and less common in the homeland. It is good that the connoisseurs of the breed are closely engaged in the restoration of the purebred Irish wolfhound. At the moment, the breed is not threatened with extinction, and it has retained all its pristine qualities, almost unchanged.

Many mistakenly believe that a large dog should be a guard, fighting or service dog. In fact, this is not so, the Irish wolfhound, despite its large size, is only a hunting greyhound. In ancient times they were used to exterminate a large number of wolves, the name of the breed came from this. When the wolves were almost exterminated, the Irish wolfhounds hunted, helping the owners, for wild boars, deer and other wild animals.

Today, the Irish wolfhound is again very popular. Only now it runs for the most part not for deer or other game, but for a mechanical hare, taking part in competitions. They are also faithful companions of men.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

Physical characteristics of the Irish Wolfhound

The general appearance of the Irish Wolfhound is impressive, such a dog is able to inspire fear in anyone. But at the same time, his movements are surprisingly free and swift. The growth of adults is 75-86 cm, weight 40-55 kg.

The head is elongated. The neck is powerful, long. The dog almost always holds her high. Hanging ears are not too big, especially against the background of a large physique. If the dog is in an excited, alert state, it slightly raises its ears. Look attentive, with dark eyes. The Irish Wolfhound tries not to let anything out of sight. The nose is big and dark. The jaws are powerful, fangs are large.

The physique is powerful, the chest is quite wide. The back is straight. The stomach is tightened in a beautiful bend. Long, straight legs with excellent musculature. The long tail at the end is slightly curved, covered with stiff hair.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

Character and temperament of the Irish Wolfhound

People who are not familiar with the breed of an Irish wolfhound, having seen such a giant, will probably be scared when they think that this is an evil and aggressive animal. In fact, the Irish wolfhound attacks only in response to aggression in his direction. The rest of the time he is calm, adequate and friendly.

This dog is devoted to the owner, affectionate with all members of the family, at any time he is ready to defend the household and household property. Although, as a character, he proved himself poorly, his friendliness and lack of aggression prevented him from being an ideal guard.

Up to two years, the character of an Irish wolfhound, as in a puppy, maturation occurs after reaching the age of two. All this time you need to raise a pet, but without rudeness. This dog does not tolerate cruel treatment, it brings him suffering and adversely affects the formation of character.

The intelligence of the Irish Wolfhound is significantly higher than that of other large dogs. He has intelligence, patience, and is surprisingly gentle and affectionate. These qualities allow the pet to be in excellent relations with children, play with them and protect. It is interesting that during the games a huge dog realizes its size and behaves very carefully so as not to harm the child.

On the street, the Irish wolfhound is calm, he never gets involved in fights first, and does not start a quarrel. It gets along well with other pets, but the owner must be prepared for the fact that an avid hunter will “wake up” in his pet. It is not surprising, because the blood of an Irish wolfhound flows in his veins, so the dog can sometimes try to chase small animals. Proper training of the dog will help to avoid such situations.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

Basic Care

Due to its endurance, the Irish wolfhound feels comfortable in the open air. It can be kept in a spacious enclosure with a large warm booth. He quickly adapts to any conditions, but it is not necessary to abuse his unpretentiousness. In open-air cages, daily walks outside the enclosure are necessary.

You can also keep an Irish Wolfhound in your house or apartment. It is compact, without need, does not become active and is not imposed if the owners are busy. But for the behavior of a huge pet in the apartment to be just like that, you need to walk it every day, giving you the opportunity to run around freely in the fresh air, splashing out the accumulated energy. This dog does not like to run for a long time, for him the main thing is to frolic in open space.

The hair of an Irish wolfhound requires special care, but these are not all procedures for caring for a pet. You must regularly care for the dog as follows:

  • Brush its hair regularly.
  • Twice a year, combing with a special brush is required, only in this way can the coat be completely cleaned of dead hair. With the usual weekly combing, it is impossible to achieve a similar result, therefore, dead hair accumulates.
  • When the hair becomes too wirey, the ends of the hairs can be trimmed.
  • Coat in ears is recommended to be cut or plucked.
  • It is not required to bathe this dog regularly; it is enough to arrange water procedures 2-3 times a year.
  • In the Irish wolfhound, the claws have a curved shape, so when they regrow, they interfere with walking. They need to be trimmed, otherwise ingrowth is possible. A huge dog needs to be trained in such a procedure from puppyhood so that the dog calmly and obediently transfers it.
  • Eyes should be regularly inspected, and accumulated secretions removed with a damp cloth.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth twice a week with a special brush and toothpaste intended for dogs.
  • Ears are cleaned weekly; they must always be clean and dry. During cleaning, inspect for inflammation or other signs of infection.

Proper balanced nutrition plays a big role in how beautiful and healthy your dog will be. Food should be of high quality; it doesn’t matter if it is dry food or natural products. You need to feed an adult dog twice a day, puppies 3-5 times, as they grow older, we reduce the number of feedings. Clean and cool water should be available to the dog 24 hours a day. It is recommended to buy containers for food and water for such a large dog with fastening so that the dog does not turn them over.

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound


Nature awarded the Irish Wolfhound dogs good health, strong immunity, but it needs to be watched. Representatives of the breed can live about 10 years.

So that the dog does not get sick and develops correctly, the owner must properly care for him, ensure a balanced diet, conduct preventive examinations in the veterinary clinic and timely carry out vaccination and treatment against parasites. Also, the owner of the dog should know what diseases it is predisposed to. The Irish Wolfhound most often has the following health problems:

  • Hypothyroidism – a lack of thyroid hormones for a long time.
  • Bloating – most often comes from improper care and nutrition.
  • Hygroma of the elbow – inflammation of the ulnar bursa, there is a swelling in the region of the ulnar process.
  • Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary disease that leads to impaired blood coagulation.
  • Hip dysplasia is usually congenital dysplasia, but can occur after birth or even in adulthood. It leads to lameness and even immobility.
  • Cataract is a clouding of the lens. The main reason is heredity, since it is a genetic predisposition that causes vision diseases most often.
  • Malassesial dermatitis or pyoderma is a skin disease.
  • Osteochondrosis of the shoulder – the formation of a defect on the distal surface of the medial condyle of the shoulder.
  • Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor that usually affects limb bones. May develop on any skeleton bone.
  • Wobbler’s syndrome – a violation of the structure of the vertebrae (malformation) or their articular connection (malarticulation).
Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

Training and education

The very first thing that the owner of an Irish wolfhound should know about is that it is not recommended to force him to attack, you should not develop aggression in him. The dog has great strength, power, so it must be obedient and manageable.

He learns easily, but there are some rules that make training more successful and faster:

  • The Irish wolfhound perceives a high timbre as a screech, which is a manifestation of weakness, therefore, you never need to raise your voice when giving commands. The voice must be confident, calm and even, only then you will gain credibility.
  • Do not repeat the command in a row many times, the dog will cease to perceive it. To achieve the fulfillment of the command, you need to attract the attention of the dog, for example, by giving its name.
  • Physical punishment for an outstanding dog is unacceptable.
  • For a fulfilled result, encourage the dog with stroking, praise and a treat.
Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound

Irish wolfhound Fun Facts

  • Irish Wolfhound is a symbol of Ireland.
  • According to tradition, Irish Wolfhound dogs are in the service of the Irish Guard. Only males are allowed to serve. They take part in all public celebrations.
  • An Irish wolfhound serving in the army is provided with food, housing, and even special service clothing.
  • In 1641-1646, the Irish wolfhound was considered a valuable gift for royalty and their close associates.
  • According to ancient legend, the first Irish wolfhound dog became the rebellious princess, who was bewitched by the druid.

Pros and cons of the breed

To determine whether an Irish wolfhound suits you, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the main pros and cons of this breed:


  • Impressive looks.
  • Friendly character.
  • It gets along well with children.
  • Devotion.
  • Stamina.
  • Easy to train.


  • Costly maintenance.
  • The need for daily walking.
  • Difficulties in care and maintenance.