Welcome to Dog Breeds A-Z

Dog Breeds from A to Z, Cat, and Pet Care Tips

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest and oldest dog breeds. In spite of the intimidating enormous size, these dogs have proven to be excellent companions for kids. Moreover, your Irish Wolfhound is sure to greet everyone with equal warmth and love, without differentiating between friends and foes.

In earlier times, these giant dogs were primarily used for dragging men off their horses and chariots during wars. These sight hounds were also used for hunting wolves, wild boars and other such animals. Hence, they may exhibit strong chasing instincts in response to quick movements of small animals. The breed is believed to have originated in Ireland.

Physical Appearance

Irish Wolfhounds are tall, lean yet muscular and powerful in appearance. These deep-chested dogs have dark, expressive eyes and shaggy eye brows. Their long tails are often feathered and slightly curved upwards.

They have small ears that are usually carried back against the head and tend to stand erect in excitement. The strong neck is well arched and long. The head and legs are also long and strong. These hardy dogs possess great speed and endurance.

Color: Black, red, grey, brindle, white etc.
Height: These dogs are generally 30 to 35 inches in height. Female Irish Wolfhounds can be 28 to31 inches in height.
Weight: Weight ranging from 120 to 150 pounds is considered normal for these huge dogs. Similarly, the females should usually be 90 to 120 pounds in weight.

Health Problems

Irish Wolfhound dog breed is susceptible to a number of health issues like Bloating, Cardiomyopathy and other liver, heart and blood related health problems. Eye ailments like Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Cataract etc are also quite common in these dogs.

As they tend to grow rapidly, they are often susceptible to bone and joint diseases, especially Hip Dysplasia. These dogs are also prone to hereditary Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt and Bone Cancer.

Life Expectancy: These wonderful dogs usually live up to 6 to 8 years.
Litter Size: The average Irish Wolfhound litter size is 8 puppies.

Grooming Requirements

The rough and wiry medium Irish Wolfhound hair coat should be brushed with the help of a soft brush at least once in a week. The coat is longer under the jaws and over the eyes. Therefore, it would be better to trim the hair around the eyes and ears to avoid infections and make it easy fore the dog to see. They are average shedders.

Pluck the coat with hand twice in a year in order to get rid of dead hair entangled in the hair coat. Occasional bathing is sufficient to maintain the water and dirt resistant coat in hygienic condition. Plus, trim the dog’s toe nails once in every two weeks. In addition, clean the dog’s earflaps and teeth on a regular basis to avoid infections and dental issues. Eyes should be cleaned on a daily basis.


Irish Wolfhound breed dogs are quite gentle, generous, loyal, affectionate, patient, reliable, intelligent, courageous, playful, thoughtful, good natured and sweet tempered. They are highly compatible with other pets too.

These gentle giants are always eager to please their owners. Hence, they can be easily coaxed for obedience training. Their trusting and friendly temperament can not be trusted with watchdog and guard dog duties. They can be become fearful and suspicious in the absence of obedience training and early socialization.

Key Points

The intimidating size of an Irish Wolfhound might point towards a ferocious or aggressive temperament. In fact, these dogs can reach over seven feet in height when standing on their hind legs. But, in actuality, these dogs are far off from these traits. They are peaceful and easy going in nature. In rare cases, the dog might exhibit destructive behavior when left alone for long.

Irish Wolfhound dogs require a good amount of space and large, securely fenced yard when living in an apartment as they are quite clumsy, laid-back and inactive indoors. Though, the same can not be said about young and curious Irish Wolfhounds as they tend to be exuberant even indoors.

First time dog owners can safely lay their hands on Irish Wolfhound dogs due to their gentle and friendly temperament and easy trainability. Irish Wolfhound puppies should not be subjected to strenuous exercise as they tend to develop joint and bone problems quite easily.