By: Carol Stack
Although not for the faint of heart, Irish Wolfhounds are strong, muscular, beautiful dogs that are usually even tempered and friendly. Originally they were used in Ireland to hunt wolves and Irish elk. But today they are a favorite among dog enthusiasts for their gentle disposition and commanding appearance.
The temperament of this dog breed is soft-natured and easygoing. They are calm around the house and patient. These qualities make them a good dog with children, pets, and other dogs.
History of the Breed
The Irish Wolfhounds in their earliest form were actually dogs that went to war and were trained to kill men and beasts. They were also used as guard dogs and as hunting dogs early on as well.
It is believed that their history has been long, perhaps even reaching all the way back to the first century BC. During the 19th century, when it became popular to give a number of these dogs as gifts to foreign royalty and as the wolf became extinct in Ireland, they almost became extinct.
Thankfully, Captain Graham began to breed Irish Wolfhounds with other breeds, such as Great Danes and Deerhounds, to keep the breed from dying out. This interbreeding led to variations in color and in a mellowing of the temperament as well.
Characteristics of Irish Wolfhounds
Although in history these dogs were used as war dogs and guard dogs, the Irish Wolfhound today does not make a great guard dog. While they do have a penchant to hunt, these dogs love people and require a great deal of interaction with the family.
The Irish Wolfhound is actually the tallest hound in the entire world and they are a stately and proud dog. Their coats feel rather rough to the touch, and they come in a variety of different colors, including brindle, pure white, red, brown, black, gray, and fawn.
They typically live to be about seven, although there are dogs that live to be as old as ten. Increasing numbers of breeders, however, are now selecting for longevity and this will hopefully increase the lifespan of the Irish Wolfhound in the future.
What Irish Wolfhounds Need
If you decide that you want to own an Irish Wolfhound, it is important that you take into consideration the special needs of these dogs and take care of them properly to promote the best health possible. They need plenty of room to stretch out and a daily long walk.
Irish Wolfhounds need to be with people and need plenty of interaction, so before you purchase one, you need to be sure that you have the time to properly take care of your dog.
It is important that you train your Irish Wolfhound well or he may get out of hand. Starting to train from the time your dog is a puppy will help you avoid problems later in the dog’s life.
Having an Irish Wolfhound can bring a great deal of joy and pleasure to your life and these dogs make wonderful companions. If you are ready to invest some time in a dog, take care of a dog properly, and you want a dog that will keep you company, you may want to consider having an Irish Wolfhound as a pet.
Carol Stack enjoys writing articles, especially about dogs. She lives with her husband, children, four dogs and seven cats in the United States. Carol and her daughter Christy are working on a web site that focuses on dog breeds, dog care, and dog training. You can visit it at www.christysdogportal.com