The Irish Wolfhound is a large dog of the sighthound type originating in Ireland. This is a very old breed and there are suggestions the dog may have been brought to Ireland as early as 7000 BC. They were bred as hunting dogs by the ancients who called them Cú Faoil. For this purpose the Irish continued to breed them, as well as to guard their homes and protect their stock. Only the nobility were allowed to won them during the English conquest of Ireland, numbers permitted depending on position. They were frequently given as gifts to important personages and foreign nobles and were highly coveted. They were the companions of the regal, and were housed themselves alongside them. They are the tallest dogs of all the breeds.
The AKC standard for this breed describes it “of great size and commanding appearance”, He combines power and swiftness with keen sight. The average height for the male Wolfhound, is 32 inches, and for females 30 inches. The weight of the male is 120 pounds, and 105 for the females. The head of the Irish Wolfhound is long. The frontal bones of the forehead are slightly raised and there is very little indention between the eyes. The muzzle is moderately pointed and long. His ears are Greyhound-like in carriage and are small. The tail of the Wolfhound is long and slightly curved. It is of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair. This breed has a rough, hard coat on the body, legs and head. It is especially wiry and long over the eyes and underjaw. The colors that are recognized within the breed are brindle, grey, black, red, pure white, fawn, or any other color that would appear in the Deerhound.
This breed is noted for their personal quirks and individualism, as they have a varied range of personalities. Despite his large size they are not known to be destructive in the house; this is because this breed is normally, reserved and introverted in character. These dogs are quiet by nature. This breed often creates strong bonds with its family, and can become destructive if left alone for long periods of time. This breed is not a good guard dog as it will protect individuals rather than property. Most Wolfhounds are very gentle with children. He is relatively easy to train, and responds well to firm but gentle consistent leadership.
The average lifespan of the breed is 7 years, due to its size the Irish Wolfhound has a relatively short life span. Dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer are the leading cause of death for this breed. Also common in the dog is gastric torsion (bloat) and hereditary intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.