Irish Wolfhound (Hound Group)
The Irish Wolfhound is an imposingly large member of the Hound Group. In fact, it is the tallest sighthound in existence. They have a combination of great speed, size, and power which helps them hunt and take down large prey. But don’t let their instinctive hunting abilities fool you – the Irish Wolfhound also makes a loving house pet. It is calm, easy-going, and affectionate towards its family members. They are wonderful around children and friendly towards strangers.
A Brief History Of The Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound has it roots in Ireland, dating back to the Ancient times. It is said that the large dogs came from Greece and into Ireland sometime around 1500 B.C. The size of the dog kept getting larger as the centuries went on.
Irish Wolfhounds were first documented around 391 A.D. in Rome as they were given to the Romans as gifts. The popularity of the Irish Wolfhound rose quickly when being put into the fighting ring, taking down large wild animals during sporting events in the arena. In fact, the dog became the subject of many legendary stories of valor and bravery during battle.
Over many centuries later the Irish Wolfhound diminished in numbers. The wolf was extinct in Ireland during the 18th century which caused less service to be needed by these imposing canines. Many of them were also given away to foreign nobility. When the 19th century came about, the breed was practically extinct.
Captain G.A. Graham was responsible for starting the process of resurrecting the Irish Wolfhound. In 1869, Mr. Graham went about crossing several Wolfhounds with other breeds, specifically the Scottish Wolfhound, Borzoi, and the Great Dane. The breeding practice was successful and today many families enjoy the Irish Wolfhound as a part of the household.
Upkeep Requirements For The Irish Wolfhound
This breed needs daily exercise but despite its large physical body, Irish Wolfhounds only need a few long walks on the leash each day to satisfy its activity requirements. They must have plenty of living space to be happy and stretch out, both indoors and outdoors. Living in a small apartment, or even a cramped house, is not suitable for these dogs.
Irish Wolfhounds have a high tolerance for cold temperatures. The ideal living situation for these dogs is to have access to a large yard during the day and sleep inside at night with the rest of the family. Grooming requirements call for a heavy brushing two to three times per week, with light trimming once per month to clean up uneven hairs.
The average lifespan of the Irish Wolfhound is between five and seven years. Major Health Concerns that run common in the breed are elbow dysplasia and gastric torsion. Minor health problems include CHD, OCD, osteosarcoma, and cardiomyopathy. Rarely seen is PRA, vWD, and megaesophagus. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs get specifically tested for cardiac and hip problems.