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Irish Wolfhound Dogs

A beautiful Irish Wolfhound with a puppy cut coat and a scruffy beard A lovely, grey Irish Wolfhound with a tinge of light brown A lovely, young Irish Wolfhound ready to play A relaxing Irish Wolfhound ready to have a nap An adult Irish Wolfhound lying, waiting for a command A close up of an Irish Wolfhound's lovely wiry beard and soft ears A great, big Irish Wolfhound with a wonderful, white, wiry coat Two healthy, adult Irish Wolfhounds lying down in the grass Two wonderful Irish Wolfhounds enjoying some exercise in the snow

Breed Rating (3 Reviews)



Large dogs were often prized for their imposing stature and Wolfhounds were given to the Romans by the Irish. The Irish Wolfhound dates back to 400AD where they were bred to fight animals in Arenas in Rome. It was a very popular breed in Ireland and packs of these impressive dogs would accompany hunters to bring down wolves and Irish elk. By the late 1700's, the wolf was nearly extinct and the number of Wolfhounds plummeted. In the 1800's a conscious effort to breed started again and by the 1870's, Irish Wolfhounds were being exhibited in dog shows.


The epitome of the term 'Gentle Giant', Irish Wolfhounds really are a very calm, placid and easy going breed. They are calm in the house and will happily sleep given plenty of room and a comfortable bed. They like being around people and their family but aren't the most cuddly of dogs. However, they are affectionate and like to be with you. They get on well with others dogs usually, but some can chase cats. They are sight hounds and will chase anything that moves when out for a walk. With such long legs, they are incredibly fast runners. Training needs to start early and walking on the lead or an enclosed area is best to prevent them running away. They learn quite quickly but can be stubborn. As with most dogs, they dislike being left alone for long periods and will search out entertainment of their own if bored. Being so tall, they can reach everywhere, so hiding things on top of the fridge won't stop them. A long daily walk will usually suffice if they have a chance to run around and stretch their legs. They can be very greedy and need a lot of food. An expensive breed to keep, based on the food bill and tick/flea and worming treatment, but they are lovely dogs and well suited to a (large) family home. They are usually fine with well behaved children and will play, but this is a dog not a horse (even though it's so big) and they will not tolerate too much 'rough' play.

Hip Dysplasia and Bloat can be a problem for the breed, but this isn't that common. Damage to the tip of their tail is. Brushing a couple of times a week should be enough and a trim when the coat gets too wild.


The Irish Wolfhound has an easygoing and reliable temperament. Gentle and calm about the house, like many large breeds they are actually very sociable and great with children and other dogs alike. They tend to form a loving bond with their close family but show little to no interest in strangers and if the need arises they can become formidable guard dogs.

Health Problems

Health problems that can affect Irish Wolfhounds include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, bloat, bone cancer, blood clotting disease, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness) and heart problems.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 6 - 10 years
  • Weight: 47 - 68 kg
  • Height: 30 - 32"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Hound
  • Size: Giant
  • Energy Level: Low
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

Irish Wolfhound Pictures

Valhalla puppy

Latest Reviews For Irish Wolfhound (3 of 3)

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Absolute heart hounds and soul mates - Debbie,

Must respect the massive growth curve and protect there young bodies from over use or strain as they grow. Couch potatoes, very stubborn, need to be a member of the family and prefer to be with their humans 24/7. Can be prone to illness / injury and only have a short average life span. The BEST companions ever!!! We've had 6 and desperately hope to get another one! THEY ARE BIG! Some of our boys have been 100kgs and 7 foot from nose to tale.

These great hounds - Hernameisveronica,

I've kept Irish Wolfhounds for over 30 years. Each is an individual, but in general they are lovely, funny, and devoted animals. Make sure you get a good breeder, if anything goes wrong, they will be there to help. Great information is available HERE: They are wonderful dogs, but are not cheap to keep and die younger than most regular dogs. I've had a retriever that outlived two Wolfhounds. In addition to a LOT of food, their size and weight mean you'll be paying a lot more for flea/tick, heart worm prevention, dental care -- any meds and care/boarding are at premium fees as well. They really don't like their people gone all day, but will tolerate it if you ask it of them. Mine have all been good with toddler and older kids, two have hated cats, one rescue was afraid of stairs(?). In general the are lovely and loving dogs who deserve a good home with a large yard and regular exercise. Just make sure you've planned your budget ahead, and take the time to find a breeder who will accompany you throughout the life of a hound. A "good" puppy costs about the same as a poor one, and will cost you much more in heartache, pain, and medical bills that may result from poor breeding. If you like quiet walks down city streets, might look for another breed. They do draw questions and conversations when you go out with them. For shy people or introverts, that part of IW ownership can be hard.

We will always have Wolfhounds - Cynthia, California,

The Irish Wolfhound is a magnificent dog and is wonderful with children. They are a friendly dog and easygoing but when provoked will protect their family with their lives. They are good with other dogs but must be trained from an early age to cohabit with smaller animals like cats. It’s important to remember they are sighthounds and their instinct will kick in so do not let them off leash unless they are in a large fenced area. They need space and exercise so ample fenced property is ideal. Exercise when they are puppies must be limited as they grow due to their size and the rate of their bone growth. They are slow to mature. Some dig and some don’t. When they do, the holes they dig are large! When in training, they do not do well with harshness and aggressiveness. Just because they are large doesn’t mean they need a heavy hand. Be patient, positive, and kind. They are a sensitive breed. Being a giant breed, their life spans are shorter than your average dog. Please educate yourself about their health issues before committing to owning one and find a reputable breeder who follows all health testing guidelines.