The Irish Wolfhound takes its name from Ireland, an island off the west coast of Britain. Ireland, or Erin, is called, "The Emerald Isle," because the high rainfall makes beautiful green grass. The rugged wolfhound's rough coat had to protect him from rain and snow.
A hound is a dog that is used for hunting. A wolfhound is a "sight" hound. He sees his prey move and gives chase. They lived in the ancient Celtic castles of the Irish kings and were used to hunt wolves. This long-legged dog could run fast in pursuit of it's prey and the powerful body quickly brought wolves down. They were also capable of hunting large deer.
The Irish Wolfhound is a large, fearsome-looking dog yet he has a gentle nature and loves kids. Some folk call them, "gentle giants." They are big babies! They like a lot of attention. You can't just throw them in your back yard and remember them only at feeding time. They will protect their owners before they protect your possessions. They are fine with children.
Because of their size, Irish Wolfhounds are not suitable for a small home and garden. The long tail may sweep the coffee cups off the table!
Time must be spent on training while the dog is young. The rough, harsh coat benefits from regular brushing.
Height at shoulder: Not less than 82 cm.
Irish Wolfhounds can be any colour, but grey is common.
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world!
A poem from "The Complete Irish Wolfhound" by Alma J. Starbuck
Huge hound, great hound,
Gray hound and gaunt,
Royally imperial, you tower above taunt.
Comrade of Chieftain, grim dog of war,
Your fame has been heralded and hailed from afar.
From Rome of the Caesars, from Spain's classic bard,
You've won kingly praises and knightly award.
The elk of old Erin you brought to his knees,
At the roar of your challenge the timber wolf flees.
Yet, noble descendant of fierce fighting sire,
You are playing tonight with my child by the fire.