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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Irish Wolfhound


Irish Wolfhound Facts

  • Group
  • Hound
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 30" - 32"
  • Weight
  • 105-120 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 8 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White
    • Black
    • Brindle
    • Fawn
    • Red
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Irish Dogs, Big Dogs of Ireland, greyhound of Ireland, wolfdogs of Ireland, great hounds of Ireland


This Irish wolfhound originated in Ireland.

Date Of Origin

One of the earliest recorded references to Irish Wolfhounds is in Roman records dating to 391 A.D. although some believe it was brought to Ireland by settlers around 3500 B.C.


Most believe that the Irish wolfhound is an ancient breed, dating from as far back as 339 B.C. It was first written about in Rome, when the Roman consul Quintus Aurelius received seven of these dogs as a gift. In Ireland it was used as a guardian and military dog, and hunted wolf and Irish elk. When Irish elk nearly became extinct, so did the Irish wolfhound. Fanciers revived the breed in the 1840's.


The Irish wolfhound is a large, tall dog that is greyhound like but rough coated. It is muscular but graceful with a long head that is carried high and a long, pointed muzzle. The nose and eyes are dark and the small ears are folded. It has a strong, long, arched neck with a deep chest, large feet, and a long, curved tail. It is double coated with a short, dense undercoat, and medium length outer coat, which is especially wiry around the eyes and under the chin. It may be gray, brindle, red, black, white or fawn.


The Irish wolfhound is a dignified, intelligent, calm dog. It gets along well with people, especially children. It is fun loving and active but calm in the home, making it a poor guard. It lacks aggression and wariness towards strangers.


Because of its excellent character, the Irish wolfhound could theoretically be considered an excellent companion dog. However, it needs a great deal of space for unrestrained runs. It is still used for hunting stags, wild boars, wolfs, and coyotes.

Health Concerns

Bloat, cancer, eye problems, heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, seizures, von Willebrand's disease.

Additional Information

This breed loves to run!
Early training is important because this breed will grow large fast.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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