Irish Wolfhound

Breed History / Description

Although originally the breed was smooth coated or rough coated, only the rough coated variety exists today. It is thought that Phoenician sailors brought dogs of greyhound type from the Middles East to Ireland and these dogs were crossed with Mastiffs to produce a dog of gigantic size with the speed and strength to see off wolves which were a great threat to livestock in Ireland. By the end of the 18th century the wolf was extinct in Ireland and breed numbers dwindled. With the Great Famine in Ireland 1840s the breed became very rare. 

However, a group of devotees lead by the Scotsman Captain George Augustus Graham developed a breeding programme to revive the breed, with the few Irish Wolfhounds which had survived using outcrosses with the heavier type of Deerhound, the Great Dane and the Tibetan Mastiff. The Irish Wolfhound is reputed to be the tallest of the hound breeds and the biggest of all breeds. Despite his size, he is gentle and calm: truly a gentle giant. The Irish Wolfhound is part of the Hound Breed Group.


Of great power, activity, speed and courage. 


Gentle, kind and friendly nature

Club, K., 2018. The Kennel Club's Breed Standards. 5th ed. London SW1V 2SA: Ebury Press

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