A Magnificent Hound and Yet a Gentle Giant


The Irish wolfhound is a magnificent hound, with remarkable strength, yet gracefully built. The tallest dog breed in the world, it is a trusting, gentle giant.

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed in the world and it stands up to 36 inches high but despite its remarkable size, it is quite capable of running at impressive speed and reaching amazing heights while leaping. This giant dog has the same body structure as a greyhound. Wolfhounds are very muscular and strong with a wiry coat. The coat can be colored black, fawn, gray, brindle or even red. Grey and brindle are the most regularly seen colors.

Irish Wolfhound Features

The Irish wolfhound has been documented and written about for centuries both in mythology and serious works of record. It has been reported that as early as 400 A.D. they were sent to Rome to fight in public arenas.

The main distinguishing features of an Irish wolfhound are a very deep chest, wide breast and long muscular legs. Even though this hound is muscular it is gracefully built, with an erect proud head carried high. Its tail is long and curving and its feet are large and round. An Irish wolfhound has remarkable strength in his legs so a gentle push with his paw can easily knock a child over.

Irish Wolfhounds and Children

With children the Irish wolfhound is indeed a gentle giant and in fact adores the attention given to it by its young playmates. However, it is irresponsible to leave a dog alone with children no matter how gentle it may be. A child can easily pull and drag without being aware of any discomfort it may be causing and a dog, even a wolfhound, can lash out in irritation. It is prudent to supervise any dog while with children but the wolfhound seems to be one of the most trustworthy members of any family. The trusting nature of the children is reflected in the trusting nature of this trundling colossus.

Irish Wolfhound History

At one stage in its history this magnificent hound was almost extinct. Luckily the decline in the breed was halted by Capt. G.A. Graham of Britain. He worked for over three decades to save this noble, Irish charmer and in order to revive the breed it was necessary to cross it with the Scottish deerhound. The deerhound is smaller and lighter but is almost identical in body structure and coloring.

Owning an Irish Wolfhound

Acquiring a dog of this size is not to be taken lightly and many factors should be taken into account. Not everyone has a castle for this noble giant but a very large enclosed yard is a must. Irish wolfhound puppies may look normal size but eventually these great limbs will need exercise everyday and the wolfhound responds best to interactive exercise. Even though this breed of dog enjoys relaxing it also enjoys a good vigorous run as often as possible and with a bit of encouragement it is a joy to behold once at full speed. It does not run like smaller breeds but it bounds with an energy designed for catching wolves. The Irish wolfhound is a family dog and will be truly miserable if it is not allowed to be part of the family; this in turn will mean sacrificing a large portion of the hearth rug to accommodate its ample limbs.

Now, thanks to Capt. Graham, the Irish wolfhound is seen and enjoyed around the world from the U.S. to Russia to New Zealand to Japan and all through Europe and of course in The Emerald Isle. There are numerous clubs offering advice on Irish wolfhound breeders, breeding and caring for this great breed of dog.