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Irish Wolfhound

The giant Irish Wolfhound has a commanding appearance but gentle nature. They are easy going, patient, calm and courageous.

Overall Status

Height 30 to 35 inches at the shoulder
Temperament Courageous, Dignified, Calm
Weight 105 to 180 pounds
Life Expectancy 6 to 8 years
Coat Color Black, Gray, Red, White
Barking Level When Necessery

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Wolfhound has a rough coat that is especially wiry and long over the eyes and beneath the jaw. Extensive grooming is done to give the dog a perfect appearance in the show ring, but for a pet owner, the coat is easy to maintain. There's just a lot of dogs to groom.

Brush or comb the shaggy, wiry coat once or twice a week to remove dead hair and prevent or remove any mats or tangles. The double coat sheds moderate amounts year-round but doesn’t go through a heavy annual or biannual shed. A bath is rarely necessary.

The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Exercise Tips

This is one large dog and it needs a large area to play and exercise in. You’ll need to take your Irish Wolfhound out for a walk or run at least twice a day.

You can incorporate your dog’s exercise routine into your workout routine if you like to ride a bike, run or rollerblade. This is where leash training comes in handy, so be sure to start this training from the time your dog is a puppy.

Feeding Tips

You should feed your Irish Wolfhound a quality diet that features the proper balance of protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Choose a high-quality commercial dog food, a natural brand that comes with human grade food and no fillers or meat by-products.

A high-qualitydog foodappropriate for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and ideally formulated for large breeds should have all the nutrients the Irish Wolfhound needs. Because of the risk ofbloat, strenuous exercise is not recommended before or after feeding time.

Check with the dog’s breeder and your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight, diet, or feeding schedule.

Health Tips

Just like all dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound can suffer from health problems. Some health issues that are common to this breed are bone cancer, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia (a type of arthritis that affects large dogs which is painful and decreases the ability to walk or run), Von Willebrands, PRA and bloat (caused by feeding your dog too much food at one time) and could require surgery.

To keep your Irish Wolfhound healthy, make sure to take your dog out for regular exercise and visit the veterinarian when needed.


Training an Irish Wolfhound is quite easy, since this breed is intelligent and loves to please. Start training as early as possible, as you will find a puppy easier to handle.

Start your training with leash control. The Irish Wolfhound likes to pull on the leash, so you need to teach your dog that this behavior is unacceptable. Leash training is especially important because as your dog grows bigger, it will have no problems dragging you along on its leash.

The best way to train an Irish Wolfhound is to be consistent and patient. When your dog follows a command, reward it with a treat, and when it does something wrong, firmly but positively correct the behavior.

Because the Irish Wolfhound is smart, it will quickly understand what is expected. You should continue to work with your dog, even when it starts to mature. As well, be sure to socialize your Irish Wolfhound with other dogs and people so that it does not become frightened.


The present-day Irish Wolfhound owes its existence to R.D. Richardson and Captain G.A. Graham who, in the 1840's, helped restore this almost extinct, ancient breed to its former state.

The original Irish Wolfhound is thought to be a very ancient breed, being documented as early as 393 A.D. The intelligence, strength and courage of the breed are legendary, and they were valued as guardians, hunters and war dogs. The Irish Wolfhound Club was founded in 1885 and it was recognized by the AKC in 1897.

The Kennel Club (England) recognized the Irish Wolfhound in 1925. The Irish Wolfhound Club of America was founded in 1926 and remains the parent club of the breed in this country. The modern Irish Wolfhound is a house dog rather than a hunter.

Their quiet manners and gentleness make them wonderful companions, as long as they have a large, fenced area within which to gallop and romp freely and frequently. They are competitive in the conformation show ring, as well. It is wise to remember that this breed was bred for the chase, and it retains this natural instinct. As a result, Irish Wolfhounds excel in the sport of lure coursing, where they can run at full speed after a fast-moving, inanimate quarry.

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