Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed: Characteristics, Facts, and Names

Originally used as hunting companions, the Irish Wolfhound is now the most serene companion. He is a perfect example of an adaptable dog who is also a great family dog. As his name suggests, the dog is native to Ireland.

They were developed from the war hounds with the purpose of hunting. The Irish wolfhounds are named so due to their former purpose of hunting wolves. Though they have a large size, the Irish Wolfhounds are not meant for guarding purposes due to their graceful and serene personality. Though, their huge size is enough to keep off intruders.

Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed Overview

irish wolfhound Dog Breed Overview

Group: Hound Group
Size: Extra Large (115-180 pounds)
Lifespan: 6-8 Years
Best Suited For: Families
Temperament: Calm, Courageous, Loyal
Exercise Needs: Moderate
Drooling Potential: Low
Grooming Needs: Moderate
Similar Breeds: Scottish Deerhound, Greyhound, Borzoi

1. Basic Features

irish wolfhound size and other features

The Irish Wolfhound is considered as the tallest dog breed. He has a muscular built and is very strong. Though they are large, the Irish wolfhounds have a grace about them. They are found in grey, brindle, red, black, white, fawn, and wheaten colors.

Other popular names of the Irish wolfhound are Irish dogs, Big Dogs of Ireland, Greyhounds of Ireland, Wolfdogs of Ireland and Great Hounds of Ireland. The Irish dogs are courageous but not very aggressive. They are calm and have a very pleasing personality.

2. Irish Wolfhound Origin

irish wolfhound history

The big dogs of Ireland go back a long way. Their existence has been imagined as early as 279 BC according to some ancient artworks. They were bred as hunting dogs used to hunt down wolves. The Irish also bred them to guard their home and their stock. There was a time in Ireland when only the nobility was allowed to keep the Big dogs of Ireland.

They served as a companion to the regals and as a gift to the foreign nobles.

The Irish dogs reached their peak of popularity. Over the years they declined in number due to the extinction of the wolf in Ireland. Later, they were seen being kept only by a few families.

3. The Personality of Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhounds are highly intelligent. They are loyal and love their human companions. Despite being alert, they are not a great choice for guard dogs. Irish greyhounds are not suspicious or aggressive.

He is quiet and sensible and known to be of reserved character.

These dogs create a strong bond with their families and feel a need to be with them at all times.

They may develop a destructive behavior if left alone for long.

Easy to train, the Irish Wolfhound is gentle with children. However, they may have a knack to chase animals when outside due to their natural instinct to hunt.

4. Irish Wolfhound Behavior

Gentle and calm, the Irish dogs are sweet and sensitive. Their behavior can be affected by a number of factors like training, socialization, and training. Thus, it is very important to train these wolfdogs of Ireland in a proper manner.

Early socialization and positive training methods are suggested. Harsh words, physical punishment and wrong tone of voice can cause him to inculcate bad behavior. Good exposure to people and different places would be helpful in the overall development.

5. Exercise Requirements

running irish wolfhound

Wolfhounds needs proper exercise throughout their lifetime. They must be leashed on walks and while losing it should be made sure that the area is properly fenced. An Irish Wolfhound has a strong hunting instinct and hence may run after smaller animals.

Longs walks and a few play sessions will keep your dog absolutely fit and healthy. Thus, a home with a yard is recommended for them where they can satisfy their exercise requirements.

6. Diet Needs

Growing Irish hounds and young adults use a lot of energy and thus require a good amount of protein in their diet. Spayed and grown-up dogs may require a little less protein. Irish Wolfhounds have less body fat as they are designed for speed.

Do not feed them very highly concentrated, high energy foods as they may result in skeletal and joint problems and can thus prove harmful.

A high quality good commercial dog food is preferred over raw homemade food due to their need for good quality nutrition. Also, the diet should be fed in multiple small meals throughout the day as they are a giant breed which makes them susceptible to bloat.

It is also better to keep your Irish wolfhound slim throughout his life. Fat puppies may end up with bone and joint problems.

7. Trainability

Being intelligent, Irish Wolfhounds are easy to train. They require positive training methods as they are highly sensitive. Early socialization may be a good idea for them. They love people and get very attached to their humans. Thus, making them great therapy dogs.

They are fast learners but can be destructive if left alone for longer periods.

8. Common Health Problems

Irish Wolfhounds are a fairly healthy breed. They do not have any health conditions which are exclusive to the breed. However, the fast growth of puppies may result in injuries due to joint issues. They suffer from health issues that are common to giant breeds. Cancer, heart diseases, pneumonia, and liver problems being a few.

Bloat and torsion are also a common condition in Irish Wolfhounds. This is a life-threatening condition. Small meals are recommended with not a very high percentage of fat in it. As fat takes longer to digest, it is reconvened to check the percentages of it in your dog’s food.

9. Who should Adopt an Irish Wolfhound?

irish wolfhound in a house

Irish Wolfhound is a calm dog and loves being around people. A home without stairs is best suited for him. He must have access to a fenced yard to run around.

They are not meant for apartment living as they require an area to play and run around. They also love spending time with their humans. Thus, a human who would have enough time for their dog would be a perfect match for this fluffy pooch!