The Irish Wolfhound is known for loyalty and gentleness, but the owner must earn it solidly. If he doesn’t make deep contact with the dog, it will be difficult for him to influence his behavior. The Wolfhound is famous for his philosophical approach to life.
According to the pattern, the Irish Wolfhound should be a temperate dog, brave, loyal and non-aggressive. Anxiety and hyperactivity are defects and testify to an incorrect psyche. In his youth, the representative of this breed is very lively and mobile, with age he becomes calmer.
This dog is sensitive, loyal and very attached to the family, but usually chooses from among its members someone who will be most important to him. It needs close contact with the guardian, it cannot be insulated, therefore it is not suitable for keeping in the pen. He is generally friendly to people, although he can sometimes treat strangers with some caution. It does not show a great sense of ownership and is unlikely to work as a guardian – intruders are deterred only by its impressive appearance.
Patient and tolerant gets along great with older children. Because of its size, you need to supervise contacts with younger children, because you may accidentally hurt them. Children cannot walk alone for walks.
The attitude of the Irish Wolfhound to his brethren depends to a large extent on how he was raised and on his previous experiences. After establishing the hierarchy, he usually gets along well with other dogs at home. However, it is not overly concessive, so if we have a dominant quadruped, let’s opt for a wolfhound of the opposite sex. As a rule, he does not show aggression towards foreign dogs unless he is provoked.
For the proper physical and mental development of this largest of the galloping dogs, a daily dose of unhindered movement in open ground is needed. However, it should be remembered that although the Irish Wolfhound develops considerable speed on the run, like the other greyhounds, he is not a long-distance runner, so he should not be forced to spend hours of effort.
In the old days, Irish Wolfhounds were favorites of aristocrats. They were used for hunting wolves, deer and foxes, for defense and for company. They are now family dogs. Like other greyhounds, they can take part in coursing, i.e. chasing an artificial hare in the field.
However, it should be remembered that until the second year of life they should not be subjected to excessive training, therefore races must be adapted to their age and physical abilities.
Irish wolfhound. Training and education
The Wolfhound is an intelligent dog and eager to learn. I need consistency but also gentleness. He must not use force methods, only rewards and praise will encourage him to cooperate. The biggest punishment for this sensitive giant is the dissatisfaction of the owner. Exercise should be varied and not repeated too long so that the animal does not get bored.
We should not expect ruthless obedience from the wolfhound, because his independence is too deeply rooted and his willingness to make his own decisions. We need to be ahead of the pet’s reaction by a step, which will succeed only if we know its character and capabilities perfectly. If we don’t make deeper contact with him, it will be difficult for us to influence his behavior.
Puppies of this breed are not only physically but also emotionally demanding. They need cordial treatment, patience and attention. Socialization, which is very important for their proper mental development, cannot be neglected. Dogs should be taken to new places, provide them with positive contacts with various people and pets.
A good solution is classes in a dog kindergarten, thanks to which a small wolfhound will gain experience in dealing with kinsmen and learn to handle dogs smaller than themselves. This is especially important if we are not able to provide him with good partying during walks.
Wolfhounds show an instinct for pursuit, although it varies from one individual to another. So it can happen that during a walk something suddenly makes a dog run, so everywhere except for a safe, open area should walk on a leash.
Who is this race for?
A dog of this breed requires a lot of time, money and emotional involvement – so it is not suitable for everyone. The ideal owner is a calm, forgiving and consistent person, for whom the wolfhound is a passion and a lifestyle.
Irish wolfhound. Advantages and disadvantages
- expensive to maintain
- lives short
- there are character defects
- excessive fear or hyperactivity
- attached to the family
- friendly and non-aggressive
- gets along well with children
- properly motivated, willing to learn
- tolerates other dogs and pets
Irish wolfhound. Health
Irish Wolfhounds are quite hardy and durable breed. They tolerate cold, frost or moisture much better than extreme heat. In summer, protect them against overheating, and walks and workouts are best done early in the morning or late in the evening.
Representatives of this breed are prone to several congenital diseases. The most common are: dilated cardiomyopathy – a disease leading to enlargement of the left or both chambers of the heart muscle and weakening of its contractility, so that the heart is not able to pump enough blood for the body to function properly.
Osteosarcoma (osteosarcoma) – a malignant, primary tumor of bone tissue. Portal anastomosis PSS (liver shunt) – usually manifests immediately after birth, the basis is abnormal vascular connections in the liver, as a result of which the blood bypasses this organ completely or partially and is not cleared of toxins, which leads to the intoxication of the body and death of a pet.
There is also progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), idiopathic epilepsy, and von Willebrand’s disease involving blood clotting disorder.
Other conditions affecting the wolfhound are enlargement and torsion of the stomach, dysplasia of the hip joints (sometimes elbows), hypertrophic osteodystrophy (bone decay) – occurs during a period of intense growth between 2 and 8 months of age, osteochondrosis (decaying osteochondrosis).
Occasionally pneumonia requires immediate treatment, because this breed of dog has a direct risk to life. Wolfhound may suffer from puppy paralysis, esophageal achalasia and Wobbler syndrome (shakiness syndrome).
Wolfhound is a demanding dog when it comes to nutrition. Keeping this giant in good condition requires booking a significant amount in your home budget. In raising a puppy, it is important to provide him with an adequate growth rate – the slower he grows, the better (the representative of this breed reaches full physical development around the age of three).
The diet cannot be too high protein. If we use ready-made balanced foods, it is better to choose ones that do not contain cereals and soy. Do not give calcium or vitamin D supplements on your own then.
The Wolfhound can also be fed with cooked homemade food, but you must supplement it with supplements (preferably after consulting an experienced breeder or veterinarian). Many owners also successfully use BARF. The diet is based on raw pieces of meat with bone and cartilage, offal, eggs, sporadically fish, vegetables and fruit.
Regardless of the diet, the daily portion should be divided into at least two meals and it is necessary to ensure that the dog rest after eating.
The correct wolf’s coat consists of longer and rough coat hair and a shorter, dense, soft undercoat. It protects the dog against adverse weather conditions, while it does not hold dirt and is easy to maintain. If we feed our pets properly, the hair falls out slightly and can be easily cleaned from the ground.
For combing the wolfhound, broad trimmers (2.5-3.5 mm tooth spacing) are best used to remove dead hair and a comb with rotating teeth for combing abundant beard and more delicate spots on the body. Puppies before exchanging the garment for the youth are combed mainly to get them used to this activity, and not because their coat requires it.
If necessary, we bathe a representative of this breed in shampoos for rough-haired dogs, e.g. for terriers. Too frequent bathing, the use of unsuitable cosmetics or excessive use may damage the coat. Don’t forget to check your ears, teeth and shorten your claws if your pet does not rub them by itself.
The wolfhound’s show robe should emphasize a noble greyhound figure. The effect is achieved by proper combing and trimming, and fine correction of the hair with scissors and thinning scissors.
Trim your dog with a trimmer, polymer rakes or by plucking the hair with your fingers, depending on body parts and the amount of hair. Correction is performed on the head, ears, neck, forechest, upper and lower lines, limbs, feet and tail. Neighborhoods should also look neat. In the same way, you should also care for your pet.
We present a representative of this breed on a loose ring (we do not pull it up, because it loses the desired lines) or a snake chain and a thin leash. They should match the color of the dog’s coat.
You can use ordinary solid leather leashes, with tape or automatic leashes designed for giant breeds (works only in the case of well-arranged quadrupeds). Collars can be ordinary, semi-clamping or clamping.
The Wolfhound will be occupied by balls, squeaking mascots, stuffed animals, and an empty plastic bottle of mineral water that will also work great. All toys must be large enough so that the dog does not swallow them. They need to be replaced with larger ones as the puppy grows and controls the pet while playing.
Irish wolfhound. History
The history of the Irish Greyhound probably dates back to 1400 BC During archaeological excavations carried out near Dunshaughlin (a city in County of Meath in Ireland), skulls of dogs from the VII-VIII century BC was found, reminiscent of the construction of the wolfhound’s skull.
Greyhound type large hunting dogs were to accompany the Celts when they went to conquer Europe. In the second century AD, writer and historian Arrian (Flavius Arrianus) from Bithynia (today northwestern Turkey) mentioned them. From his description emerged a picture of rough- or smooth-haired quadrupeds with a gentle character, extremely attached to people.
The wolfhound was – beside the cloverleaf and harp – in the coat of arms of former Irish rulers. He was said to be “gentle when stroked, scary when provoked.” The law collection from 930 states that the Irish Greyhound was worth 240 pence, which is twice as good as a good riding horse. He was fined for killing or injuring him.
Beginning in the Middle Ages, these quadrupeds were highly valued by rulers and clergy who kept them for wolf hunting. Wolf owners were among other kings of Spain and Sweden, king of England George V, Shah of Persia and cardinal Richelieu.
The population of these dogs in the British Isles decreased to such an extent that in 1652, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, they were banned from exporting. After the proliferation of firearms and the extinction of wolves, the breed practically went extinct.
The creator of the modern wolfhound is Captain George Augustus Graham, who found several surviving dogs. However, they did not have the size and strength of their ancestors. Graham associated them with deerhounds from the Glengarry line, greyhounds, borzoi, German Great Danes and probably also Tibetan Mastiffs.
In 1885, the Irish Wolfhound Club was created, and a year later the first standard was developed. In 1897, the English Kennel Club recognized the breed. To this day, the wolfhound is the symbol of Ireland and the mascot of the Irish Guard.
Irish Wolfhound – G roup X FCI, section 2, reference number 160
- Origin: Ireland
- Size: minimum height at the withers of dogs 79 cm, bitches 71 cm; minimum dogs weight 54.5 kg, bitches 40.5 kg
- Coat: rough and hard on the body, limbs and head; especially rough around the eyes and on the chin
- Color: gray, brindle, red, black, wheat, pure white and all colorations found in deerhound; white markings on the forechest, white fingers and a small white spot at the tip of the tail are accepted
- Maturity: 2.5 years – 4 years
- Lifespan: 6-8 years
- Weather resistance: medium
As the name suggests, it was formerly used for hunting wolves. Today, he never reacts aggressively. That is why he has great contact with other dogs, as well as with children he certainly will not hurt – unless he falls over by wagging his tail almost a meter long.
Perfect for the guardian of the property, because hardly anyone will risk meeting such a huge dog. The wolfhound as a watchman works even better when he gets a second dog, preferably a small and more energetic one. Such a dog, and it can also be a mongrel, plays the role of an alarm.