In Ireland, one dog is the stuff of legend—the Irish Wolfhound. One look at this powerful breed and you’ll see just why this Wolfhound has a reputation. With a scraggly coat and a loveable heart, the Irish Wolfhound certainly does have a reputation for being a wonderful dog. Read on about this giant breed in the Breed Spotlight.

History & Background: Dating far back into ancient Irish history, the Irish Wolfhounds were first known as “Irish dogs,” “big dogs of Ireland,” “Wolfdogs of Ireland,” or “Greyhounds of Ireland” all used interchangeably. A coveted dog for its keen hunting abilities, this Wolfhound is called such not because of its resemblance to a wolf, but its use as a wolf hunter. In fact, boar and wolf populations in Ireland were wiped out because of the Wolfhound. During the English Conquest of Ireland, only nobility could own this breed. The English began heavily exporting these dogs and it almost caused this breed’s extinction. One Englishmen, however, brought the Irish Wolfhound back from the brink.

Captain George Augustus Graham took the remaining Irish Wolfhounds and with very precise breeding with Borzoi, Great Dane, Deerhound and possibly Mastiff, this breed was reconstituted. Only 23 years after Graham began rebuilding this breed, a breed standard was set. Today, the Irish Wolfhound is the unofficial dog of Ireland and many organizations and sports clubs use this breed as their mascot. In 1897 the AKC recognized the Irish Wolfhound in their Hound Group.

Height: 30 to 34 inches. The Irish Wolfhound can reach up to 7 feet tall when standing on its back legs.

Weight: 90 to 150 pounds

Coat: This dog’s coat is rough, hard and medium in length. The hair is wiry and long over the eyes and under the jaw.

Color: The breed standard for Irish Wolfhounds include any color that appears in a Deerhound, which includes gray, brindle, red, black, pure white or fawn.


Appearance: Large and imposing, the Irish Wolfhound is a powerful dog with sharp eyes and swift movement. Of the “galloping hounds” the Wolfhound is the largest and tallest. This dog is muscular and strong yet carries himself loftily. The head shows long face and muzzle, which leads into a long, strong neck, back, legs and tail. Much like a Greyhound, the ears are small.

Temperament: Quiet and friendly by nature, an Irish Wolfhound is a great companion dog. This dog is great for it’s loyal, affectionate disposition with its owner. Even though it bonds well with a family or individual, this Wolfhound is somewhat reserved with strangers. The Irish Wolfhound must also have plenty of exercise and one-on-one time with its owner or they can become destructive. Easily trainable and highly intelligent, this dog is an all around wonderful family dog. However, because this dog is very friendly, don’t count on them as a watchdog. Though, their size may be enough of a deterrent.

Health & Grooming: As with many large and giant breed dogs, the life expectancy of an Irish Wolfhound is 6 to 10 years, with an average of 7 years. This dog has a deep chest as well, making this dog susceptible to bloat. Bone cancer, cardiomyopathy and hip dysplasia are all other common health issues as well.

Grooming an Irish Wolfhound is as easy as regular brushing and combing. Be sure to remove excess dead hair by plucking the coat once or twice a year.

Product Suggestions: For a great, crunchy snack, give your Irish Wolfhound a 12 Inch Beef Trachea! Not only are Beef Tracheas yummy to your dog, but are beneficial as well. Full of chondroitin and glucosamine, these dog chews will promote your Irish Wolfhound’s joint heatlh!

For a great toy, check out’s West Paw Zisc! This lightweight but highly durable flying disc will keep your Wolfhound active and happy!

Do you know or own an Irish Wolfhound? Tell us your story in the comments section below!