By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Irish Wolfhound


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Irish Wolfhound is a type of sighthound. They are also popularly known as Cú Faoil, which implies to different names like Irish hound, or simply hound, or, wolf dog and war dog, wherein refers to a respected prefix used for warriors and kings, which implies to how respectably they were treated in the past. They are known for their huge size and are the tallest of all breeds of dogs.

Irish Wolfhound Pictures

Quick Information

Dog BreedIrish Wolfhound
CoatHarsh and rough; wire
ColorBlack, white, gray, red
Breed TypePurebred
Group (of Breed)Hound
Lifespan5 to 8 years
Weight101 to 154 pounds (45 to 70 kg approx.)
Height (size)
Large; 34 to 38 inches (86 to 97 cm approx.)
TemperamentLoyal, quiet
Good with ChildNo
Litters3-4 puppies at a time
Health ConcernsMajor: gastric torsionMinor: CHD, OHD, osteosarcoma, cardiomyopathy


The name of these domestic dogs are derived from the purpose of their past wolf-hunting skills, and not for their outward appearance. In the hoary past, they were used by their masters in hunting and guarding purposes. Irish Wolfhound is a very old breed of dog, said to be as old as 7000 BC, the time when they “had been brought to Ireland”.


The historical motto of the Irish wolfhounds describes it as “gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”. Precisely, this breed of hounds is more than just watchdogs. They are a very intelligent and generous breed of dogs with the virtues of patience, kindness and loyalty to the owner and family. They always try to please and impress their master and greet everyone in a friendly manner. Hence, they get along well with other dogs, and even with other animals. They are easy-going animals but during danger, they show their fearless nature. They tend to guard the individuals rather than guarding just the owner’s house or belongings. They are said to be ‘guardians rather than guard dogs’.



Being a huge dog, they are not ideal for apartment dwellers. They need bigger, open space to move around, play and exercise. It is necessary to take an Irish wolfhound puppy for walks everyday for the well-being of both their mind, and growing body. It is not recommended to impose hard and forced exercise, since this might be too wearing for the dog, when it is young.


Irish wolfhound is an average shedder. It has medium-length, rough coat covering its huge body and it needs to be groomed briskly and regularly with brush and comb. This should maintain the good quality and condition of the pet’s coat. In order to remove excess dead hair, plucking the dog’s coat once to twice a year can be done.

Health Problems

Irish wolfhounds are prone to quite many diseases like hip dysplasia, bloat, PRA, cardiomyopathy, bone cancer, Von Willebrands and osteosarcoma. However, gastric torsion alone is one of the major problems with this breed.


They generally live on foods meant for most other dog breeds. The daily quantity recommended is 4 to 8 cups of healthy and good-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.


These dogs are ‘born-trained’, or in other words, born with the instinct to guard and protect their master and the whole family. Otherwise, for their intelligence and alertness, Irish wolfhounds are able to pick up tricks easily, and can readily perceive what is asked of them, and are eager to please their owners. However, they do best in a home with a large fenced yard.

Interesting Facts

  • Originally, these dogs were war dogs that were used to pull men down off horseback or off chariots. These hounds also hunted wolves and elks when they were in large numbers in Ireland.
  • Captain George Augustus brought the Irish wolfhounds back from being extinct in the mid 1800s, as he cross-breeded wolfhounds with other breeds like mastiffs, great danes and deerhounds.
  • In the breed of these hounds, color blue was one rare color, which was considered impermissible. In such cases, blue wolfhound puppies were put down during birth or the moment their color became distinct.
  • The Irish wolfhound was saved by Oliver Cromwell as their numbers dwindled. To put a check to this, the military man and political leader refused allowing the export of any more of this breed from Ireland.

Irish Wolfhound vs. Great Dane vs. Scottish Deerhound

Points of Difference

Irish Wolfhound

Scottish Deerhound

Great Dane

Height; Weight34-38 inches; 101-154 pounds30-32 inches; 85-100 pounds30-43 inches; 119-198 pounds
CoatHarsh, rough, wireHarsh, rough, thickDense, short
Good with ChildNoYesNo

  1. Loyal
  2. Social
  3. Aggressive
  4. Intelligent
  5. Cheerful
Litter Size3-4 puppies8-9 puppies5-14 puppies
Life Expectancy5-8 years8-9 years7-10 years

Buying/adopting Irish wolfhound puppies from breeders

For getting a healthy dog, it is advisable never to buy a puppy from any pet store, puppy mill, or an irresponsible breeder. A reputable breeder is always desirable, who tests the breeding dogs in order to make sure they don’t carry any genetic diseases, which might in turn pass on to the baby wolfhounds. It is also important to be sure from the breeders that, the dog to be bought possesses a sound temperament.

One response to “Irish Wolfhound”

  1. Laura Bgron says:

    My Irish WolfHound puppy is amazing. She is 2 & 1/2 months old, today all of a sudden she is in the peeing position, straining to go and small amounts come out and then she seems to have to go and postures frequently. She is eating, drinking, playing, this behavior is different. She just saw the vet but this behavior doesn’t seem right.

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