History and origin: The national dog of Ireland, the Irish Wolfhound was used as a hunter of wolf and elk and may have existed as far back as the Roman times. Though considered a sight hound, the Irish Wolfhound was bred to have excellent scenting ability as well.
Description: The Irish Wolfhound stands 30 to 34 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 100 and 125 pounds. He has a statuesque, muscular body and a rough, weather-resistant shedding coat that requires only periodic brushing. The color may be gray, fawn, brindle, red, white, or black.
About the breed: This gentle giant is loyal, friendly, great with children, a wonderful house dog, and a magnificent show dog. The Irish Wolfhound is quiet, gentle, and often on the timid side, but fierce when provoked. He needs at least two years to mature physically and emotionally. Similar to the other sight hounds, this breed is quiet and calm in the home, but because of his size he requires a house with a large fenced yard. Keep in mind that this breed can easily jump a six-foot fence. The Irish Wolfhound is a bit stubborn, learns slowly, and has a mind of his own. Use patience, and expect the training to take a bit longer than it would with other breeds. A positive attitude and lots of confidence-building are needed. Overbearing training methods will panic this sensitive giant. Be patient and precise. Though usually friendly, this breed, given his great size, could easily hurt a child while playing. Initially suspicious of strangers, the Irish Wolfhound can also be aggressive toward dogs and small animals. Socialization, training, and handling must begin early. Irish Wolfhounds can be susceptible to bloat and hip dysplasia, and on average live only eight to ten years. To help prevent bloat, a life-threatening gaseous torsion of the stomach, break up feedings into smaller portions, and soak the food in warm water for ten minutes before feeding.
Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Irish Wolfhound is at least 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 5 cupfuls of a complete dry dog food.
Ideal home: A quiet, predictable home with a fenced yard and no young children is best. The owner must be a patient, calm leader with no overbearing tendencies. Regular exercise must be provided, along with training, socialization, and handling. The owner must have time available for this. The elderly and the disabled should avoid this breed because of his great size. The owner must also be able to afford the large quantities of food this breed will consume.