Dog Breed Facts: Irish Wolfhound

1. The Irish Wolfhound is the Tallest Dog

Many individuals assume that the Great Dane is the tallest dog because it is the largest dog. This is simply not the case, however, as the Irish Wolfhound is even taller than the Great Dane. Despite its height, it remains extremely gentle.

The male Irish Wolfhound is around 32 inches high when standing on all four at his shoulder height. If the dog is standing on its hind legs, it is up to seven feet tall. This dog is truly very large and will tower over many other dogs or children.

2. The Irish Wolfhound is a Very Ancient Dog

The Irish Wolfhound is a dog that has been around for thousands of years. The first information about the Irish Wolfhound comes from the time of Ancient Rome. A written piece exists about the dog from the time 391 A.D.

The written record is a letter that was written from a consul to his brother. The letter is a thank you letter for the “Irish dogs.” These dogs were considered inspiring by many Romans at the time, as they were very noble dogs. They became gifts to consuls, to kings to shahs, and leaders all around the world.

3. The Irish Wolfhound was a Soldier

The Irish Wolfhound was a soldier in the army of Ireland. They operated as an army under Cormac mac Airt as he was one of the original high kings of Ireland. He ruled between the second and fourth centuries.

This king had at least 300 Irish Wolfhounds. They were wanted by many other individuals as well, though. They saw through the king’s eyes that the dogs were able to guard and protect them while being a great companion. The dogs were also used as excellent hunters.

4. The Irish Wolfhound is one of the Best Hunting Dogs

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the only dogs that can hunt large prey. It hunted many animals in Europe, but it was specialized in hunting wolves. Examples have been shown of the Irish Wolfhound hunting boars and deer as well, though.

The Irish Wolfhound was known for hunting extremely large prey as well such as the Irish elk. They are also known for hunting large numbers of prey in that they have been able to kill hundreds of stags in one hunt. The evidence of this is from the Fianna people of ancient Scotland.

5. The Irish Wolfhound Almost Went Extinct

There was a time in which the Irish Wolfhound almost became extinct. There became a much lower need for them when there was a much lower amount of prey in Ireland. For this reason, the Irish Wolfhound stopped being bred as much.

This drop in the breed occurred around 1800. Captain George A. Graham found the last few Irish Wolfhounds in the mid-1800s and started breeding them. He even began to breed these original Wolfhounds with Scottish Deerhounds to bring the breed back.

6. A Civil War Memorial Has an Irish Wolfhound Represented

The Irish Brigade was one of the most famous brigades of the Civil War. Soldiers from New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts were part of this brigade. There is a memorial for this brigade at Gettysburg.

On the memorial is a lifelike Irish Wolfhound laying down. The inscription says, “This, in the matter of size and structure, truthfully represents the Irish wolf-hound, a dog which has been extinct for more than a hundred years.” This was the time in which individuals thought the dog was extinct.

7. The Irish Wolfhound is Referenced in Many Pieces of Poetry

There are centuries of poems that talk about the Irish Wolfhound. Many different authors have referenced this dog in many different examples of poems. There are centuries worth of these examples.

Katherine Phillips is one poet who wrote specifically about the dog in her poem titled the “Irish Greyhound.” It was written in 1664. A few lines from this poem state, “Behold this Creature’s Form and State, Which Nature, therefore, did create, That to the World might be expressed, what mien there can be in a beast…”

8. Irish Wolfhounds are Not that Great At Guarding

Though one of the high kings of Ireland wanted to use the Irish Wolfhound for guarding, they were not great at it. They were terrible guard dogs. They continue to be terrible even now as well.

The Irish Wolfhound does look intimidating, but this does not mean that it is at all. The Irish Wolfhound loves all people and will not even become afraid of strangers. It is ready to meet and greet anyone it comes across with love and affection to all.

9. The Irish Wolfhound was a Presidential Dog

There have been two presidents that have owned Irish Wolfhounds in the White House. These two presidents were Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy. Each was president during the mid-twentieth century.

Herbert Hoover’s wife technically owned the Irish Wolfhound. It was given to her as a gift, and she named it Cragwood Padraic. John F. Kennedy also received his dog as a gift, and he simply named it Wolf. His dog came as a gift directly from Ireland, where he had received the dog from friends of his family members.

10. The Irish Wolfhound Has a Very Simply Grooming Routine

The Irish Wolfhound is a very easy coat to take care of. It simply requires brushing a few times a week. They can also be shaved down twice a year to avoid matting and knotting within the coat.

If you do not take these precautions, you will also allow the dog to become unkempt. The dog is considered hypoallergenic, as it will not shed. It is important to make sure no food or water has become stuck to their beards to keep them clean.

1 thought on “Dog Breed Facts: Irish Wolfhound

  1. Kristina Greenwell

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