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Irish Wolfhound

Country/Date of Origin: Ireland/100 BC

One of the oldest of purebred dogs, the Irish Wolfhound was the hunting dog of the Celtic people. It followed them on their migration across Europe and became the dominant coursing hound in Ireland where it was so good at its job it exterminated the last wolf in the mid 1800s, almost destroying itself with it. The deer hunters were exclusively the possession of the aristocracy who, of course, owned the deer in Ireland and England. Combining great speed and strength, the Irish Wolfhound found a place as a hunter's companion on the American and Canadian frontier and even later in Australia.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Hound

Breed Club: The Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc.

Rescue Club: The Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc. Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A giant rough greyhound. Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest of all breeds
  • Height: 28-35+ inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 90-150+ pounds
  • Rose ears are not altered and are carried tightly against the neck
  • Long tail is not altered


  • This is a true gentle giant
  • The breed's motto is "Gentle When Stroked - Fierce When Provoked"
  • In spite of its size, the Irish Wolfhound is absolutely trustworthy around children
  • Will protect its people but not much good as a watchdog
  • Very quiet, rarely barks
  • Gets along well with other dogs and cats
  • Laid back hound personality
  • Tends to be a one family dog
  • Gracious with strangers but not gushy


  • The harsh shaggy coat is a protection against brambles and wet weather.
  • The hair is longer and more wiry under the jaw and over the eyes
  • Colors may be gray, white, fawn, red, wheaten, or black. White markings on chest and feet are allowed with all of the colors and brindling may overlay any of the colors as well. The most common colors are gray and wheaten.
  • Minimal grooming
  • The coat does not mat

Health Concerns:

  • Short lived
  • Bone cancer
  • Bloat
  • Cardiac diseases
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • An Irish Wolfhound was the first purebred dog in the New World; one traveled with Columbus on his fourth voyage
  • The Irish Wolfhound was so valued in the 16 and 1700's that a condemned man could buy his life with one
  • This is a running dog and it needs a few minutes of vigorous exercise every day. The rest of the time it just lies around
  • A dog of great dignity; cannot bear to be laughed at

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