Irish wolfhound
Irlanda FCI 160 . Rough-haired Sighthounds

The Irish wolfhound It is the largest breed of dog that there is; adults reach an average height of between 95 and 100 cm to the cross.

Lebrél irlandés


Characteristics "Irish wolfhound"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed "Irish wolfhound" you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.

Adaptation ⓘ

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Dog friendly ⓘ

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Hair loss ⓘ

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Affection Level ⓘ

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Need to exercise ⓘ

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Social Needs ⓘ

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Apartment ⓘ

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Grooming ⓘ

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Stranger Friendly ⓘ

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Barking Tendencies ⓘ

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Health Issues ⓘ

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Territorial ⓘ

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Cat Friendly ⓘ

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intelligence ⓘ

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versatility ⓘ

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Child Friendly ⓘ

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Watchdog Ability ⓘ

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Playfulness ⓘ

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The Irish wolfhound it is a very old canine breed, It was used as a war and hunting dog as early as the 3rd century BC..

As the greatest of the Sighthounds and hunting dogs, they were already admired. In fact, its impressive size and exceptional bravery even allowed it to hunt the now extinct Irish elk, that doubled in size. However, It was his ability to attack wolves that gave the name to the Irish Wolfhound. Before taking this name, he was known simply as Cu, a Gaelic word whose meaning is not very clear; according to the texts, this word was sometimes translated as dog, sometimes like war dog, sometimes like wolf.

In any case, it's easy to imagine how, on the battlefield, the Irish wolfhoundhe could look like a fierce fighter and impress with his size. Its main use was to knock men off their horses or from enemy chariots. However, although his warrior past is mentioned during the various Celtic wars, there are few texts that narrate his exploits with greater precision. However, It should be noted that during the sack of Delphi in the year 279 a.C., one survivor mentioned the presence of giant dogs fighting alongside their masters, but without giving more details.

Although it was used against him in some conflicts with the Celts, was admired by the Romans. This is attested by writings such as those of the Roman consul Quinto Aurelio, who received them as a gift and reported in the year 391 BC. that Rome admired them in amazement. The Romans also used them as fighting dogs in the sands, making them compete with other animals and prisoners of war.

The Irish wolfhound is intrinsically linked to the history and folklore of your home country, which is the national dog. In addition to the historical mentions of his role in wars and conflicts, This gentle giant is also at the center of the legends told in various writings, already in the 3rd and 4th centuries. In fact, its popularity has endured throughout the ages, as illustrated by numerous examples. One of the most famous comes from a 12th century writing that relates that Mesrodia, then king of Leinstern, In Ireland, possessed such an extraordinary Irish sighthound that the King of Connacht offered him six thousand cows and other treasures in exchange for his dog. Mesrodia's refusal led to a war between the two kingdoms, but the text does not specify what happened to the Greyhound, called Aibe.

In ancient ireland (until the 5th century AD), A law reserved to kings and nobles the possibility of owning a Irish wolfhound, and his number was a prestigious mark of the person's title. For example, lesser members of the nobility could only possess a maximum of two Irish wolfhound. However, this did not mean that the number of representatives of the breed in the country was extremely limited, since Ireland was divided at that time into more than 150 kingdoms, with many kings and nobles.

The Irish wolfhound it was a popular gift among the nobility, and was often delivered with silver and gold chains to develop or strengthen alliances. One of the most famous exchanges was the sending of an Irish greyhound named Gelert to Prince Llewellyn of Wales by King John of England in 1210, and the burial place of the august dog can be seen today in Wales.

Either used in battle or gifted to consolidate alliances, the Irish greyhound has also made a name for himself outside his native country; mentions of the breed can be found in numerous writings. In 1596, in Spain, the poet Lope de Vega wrote a sonnet entirely dedicated to the Irish wolfhound.

Despite its glorious past, the Irish greyhound was not far from extinction in the early 1800s. At that time, the Irish wolfhound it was used mainly for hunting, but the disappearance or near disappearance of wolves, Deer, roe deer and wild boar in Ireland took away much of its usefulness. It survived because some families already used it as a pet.

The Irish wolfhound he probably owes his salvation to Commander H as well. D. Richardson, who wrote a book about dogs in 1842 (The Dog: Its Origin, Natural History, and Varieties), in which he suggested that the Irish wolfhound and the Deerhound they were the same race. This led him to start a breeding program for the Irish wolfhound using Irish wolfhound from the Glengarry area (Ireland), saving the race from the brink of extinction.

Captain George Augustus Graham was another breeder who, in the Decade of 1860, kept the race alive. Crossed the Irish wolfhound with the Scottish Greyhoundby Glengarry, Borzoi – Russian Hunting Sighthound and the Tibetan Mastiff (Do-Khy) to avoid inbreeding. He also used the Irish wolfhound that had been crossed with him Great Dane harlequin. Graham was also responsible for the creation of the first breed club of the Irish wolfhound in 1885.

The Kennel Club, the premier british canine club, was founded in 1873, but did not recognize the breed until 1925.

In United States, was recognized already in 1897 by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The other leading American organization, the UKC (United Kennel Club), it took a little longer to do the same, since it was not until 1921. In addition, in 1927 a breed club was founded. Today, the Irish greyhound is moderately popular in Ireland, occupying an average of 75th place of 200 in the number of pedigrees issued annually by the AKC.

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale did not recognize the Irish wolfhound until 1955.

Physical characteristics

The Irish wolfhound It is the largest of the Sighthounds and has an elongated and imposing body, with massive musculature and a broad back. Their legs are long, straight and strong; perfect to let you jump high.

His head is long and flat, and the skull is not very wide. The ears sit high on the skull and fold down the length of the skull, in the characteristic style of the Greyhounds.

The muzzle is long and slightly pointed, and the small dark eyes.

At last, their fur has a wire texture; it is rough and quite short. Hair under the eyes and under the jaw is slightly curly and longer than the rest of the body. The color of the coat is gray, white, black, red, beige or tabby.

Weight and size

▷ Male size: 81 - 94 cm.
▷ Female size: 71 - 81 cm.
▷ Male weight: 55 - 85 kg
▷ Female weight: 50 - 70 kg

Character and skills

The size of the Irish wolfhound makes it not a suitable dog for everyone. In fact, even if it is quite passive, it is not recommended to live in an apartment, due to its size. You have to have enough space for everyone to move around easily. In addition, how prone to joint problems (starting with the Hip Dysplasia), they are also not recommended for homes with stairs.

Therefore, the Irish wolfhound you are much more comfortable in a place with enough room to stretch your legs, preferably with a fenced garden, to prevent the dog from escaping. A wireless electric fence probably wouldn't stop it, since his hunting instinct prevails.

In any case, even if I have access to a garden, it is important that you plan walks with your adult dog for at least 40 minutes a day. Once your need for exercise is satisfied, you will be more pleased to walk around the house with your family.

Whether walking or running, daily exercise should be much more limited with a puppy of Irish wolfhound, due to the fragility of your joints. It is best to start with a five-minute walk each day and then gradually increase your walking time.. Gradually increasing the time and distance of the exercise should continue until the child reaches maturity, to prevent joint damage. In any case, children under one year of age should not travel more than three kilometers.

In addition, despite your affection and devotion to your loved ones, the Irish wolfhound not the most effective guard dog, as they do not have the reflex to start barking to warn of potential danger. In addition, although its large size may be enough to scare off potential intruders, They are not the type to adopt an aggressive temperament towards a human, even if it is malicious. This is not incompatible with your ability to show great courage.; simply, despite his origin as a warrior dog, does not a priori perceive humans as a source of danger. They are often described as gentle giants who, despite its size, they can be very gentle with family and children.

In fact, this intelligent dog naturally seeks human companionship, making him an extremely loyal companion. They get along with everyone, and this is also true if they have to share their daily life with another dog.

On the other hand, as they have a strong hunting instinct, it can be quite difficult to get them to live with other pets, as they will soon be mistaken for prey. Although he is socialized from a young age to the presence of other species, there is always the risk that your natural instincts will overtake you, so this coexistence must always be carried out under supervision.

It is also his hunting instinct that explains why it is advisable to always carry him on a leash, to prevent you from chasing small animals, unfamiliar cats or even small dogs that may pass by. In fact, there is a real risk that you will be the victim of a traffic accident, because when he's worried about hunting, he forgets his immediate surroundings, to the extent, for example, of crossing a road without paying attention to possible vehicles.


The Irish wolfhound he is a sensitive and intelligent dog, that it is easy to train if the owner uses positive reinforcement dog training techniques and knows how to stay calm in case of problems, but it also rewards the dog when it responds well to instructions. On the other hand, if he is punished or if his owner raises his voice too much, likely to retract and isolate. It also requires a certain consistency in your education..

In addition, when they are still little, the Irish wolfhound have a tendency to steal various objects, like shoes. For this reason, it is often easier and safer to keep the dog in a crate at home when away. However, duration must be minimal: more than half a day would start to cause problems, as your dog needs to move and stretch to avoid joint damage. As i grow, and as long as your education is not deficient, I should understand that this is not acceptable behavior, and that impulse should pass, which would allow you to let him loose at home.


The Irish wolfhound it is one of the dog breeds with the shortest life expectancy and is prone to a variety of health problems, several of which are common to all large dogs :

The hepatic dog
This disease is the result of liver failure, that no longer fulfills its metabolic functions. This functional loss is the cause of serious metabolic disorders. (dehydration, diarrhea, etc.) and can cause the death of the dog . In the Irish wolfhound, the most common cause is poisoning from an inappropriate dose of certain medications to which you are particularly sensitive.

Hip Dysplasia
Common in dogs of this size, can have several causes. In the case of the Irish wolfhound, is an inherited condition most often caused by the femur not fully inserting into the hip joint.

Heart disorders
The dog's heart problems do not spare the Irish wolfhound. In particular, a third of the representatives of the breed have an increased risk of cardiac arrest caused by dilated cardiomyopathy (also called a heart strain).

▷ The dilation-torsion of the stomach.

In addition, like all breeds of greyhounds , the Irish wolfhound have an increased sensitivity to anesthetics and certain medications. In the event of an intervention that requires anesthetizing the dog, it is essential to choose a veterinarian familiar with the Irish wolfhound and its physiological specificities, since a normal dose in another breed can be fatal for him.

Life expectancy

Of 6 - 8 years


The Irish wolfhound constantly changes, but not in excess. The dog's coat should be brushed once or twice a week to remove dead hair.. However, the coat is generally easy to care for, and it should not be necessary to bathe the dog more than once or twice a year, unless, of course it is, that you come into contact with a substance that is dirty or harmful to your health.

Some owners trim their fur Irish wolfhound, but this is more for aesthetic reasons than for a real need. This is done primarily for individuals shown at dog shows. In any case, longer hair can be slightly trimmed around the ears, legs or neck. The hair under the belly and tail can also be shortened to give the dog a proud look.

It is also advisable to brush the dog's teeth two or three times a week. The dog's nails should be trimmed once or twice a month, depending on its wear.

Once a week, brushing the dog's coat is an opportunity to examine its general physical condition, for example, to make sure your ears or skin are not red or show other signs of infection.


Like all large dogs, the Irish wolfhound has a big food budget. In fact, needed between 540 and 1.000 grams of quality dry food each day, administered in two meals: one in the morning and one at night. The exact amount should be determined with the help of your veterinarian., depending on the age and activity level of the dog.

In any case, due to the high risk of stomach bloating, it is important to avoid any intense physical activity in the hour before and especially after each meal.

Price of a “Irish wolfhound”

The Irish wolfhound not only is it an expensive dog to breed (due to the budget for food that it represents), it is also one of the most expensive breeds to buy. The price of a puppy Irish wolfhound varies between the 1.350 and 1.800 EUR, without there being a significant difference between males and females.

Images "Irish wolfhound"


1 – “Irish wolfhound” by
2 – Meet drew, the new “Irish wolfhound” rescued from my mother. A precious animal by Airwolfhound, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
3 – “Irish wolfhound” by
4 – Attila, Irish Wolfhound, owner Ms.. Sylvie Saulue by Sylvie Saulue/Design Madeleine, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
5 – Irish Wolfhound, striped, macho by Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
6 – Yesterday my mother received a “Irish wolfhound” rescued. His owner could not support him any longer due to a terminal illness, so the wolf rescue society contacted my mother to see if she would take him in, and said yes 🙂 Amy and I picked it up yesterday, and this is me bonding with him 🙂 Taken with Amy's phone camera, so excuse the quality. by Airwolfhound, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Videos "Irish wolfhound"

Type and recognitions:

  • Group 10: Sighthounds
  • Section 2: Rough-haired Sighthounds. Without working trial..


  • FCI – Group 10: Section 2: Rough-haired Sighthounds
  • AKC – Hound
  • ANKC – Group 4 (Hounds)
  • CKC – Group 2 – Hounds
  • KC – Hound
  • NZKC – Hound
  • UKCSighthound and Pariah

FCI breed standard "Irish wolfhound"

FCIFCI - Irish wolfhound

Alternative names:

    1. Irish wolfhound (English).
    2. Irish wolfhound (French).
    3. Irish Wolfhound (German).
    4. (em inglês: Irish Wolfhound), Lébrel irlandês (Portuguese).
    5. Cazador de lobos irlandés, Lobero irlandés (Spanish).
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