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Irish Wolfhound Dogs

A beautiful irish wolfhound with a puppy cut coat and a scruffy beard A lovely, grey irish wolfhound with a tinge of light brown A lovely, young irish wolfhound ready to play A relaxing irish wolfhound ready to have a nap An adult irish wolfhound lying, waiting for a command A close up of an irish wolfhound's lovely wiry beard and soft ears A great, big irish wolfhound with a wonderful, white, wiry coat Two healthy, adult irish wolfhounds lying down in the grass Two wonderful irish wolfhounds enjoying some exercise in the Snow

Breed Rating (3 Reviews)



Very large dogs were often prized for their imposing stature and, due to the fact that they checked almost all the boxes, Wolfhounds were gifted to the Romans by the Irish. This breed dates all the way back to around 400AD, when they were bred to fight animals in Roman Arenas. They were a very popular breed in Ireland, often packs of these dogs would accompany hunters to bring down wolves and irish elk. By the late 1700’s, the Irish wolf population was almost non-existent, and because of this the Irish Wolfound’s numbers also plummeted. Sometime in the 1800s, breeding programs were started and by the 1870s, Irish Wolfhounds were being exhibited in dog shows.


The term “gentle giant” perfectly describes this breed. They are a very calm, placid and easy going dog. They are calm in the house and will happily sleep given the chance (and a comfortable bed). They enjoy being around people, but aren’t exactly the most cuddly of dogs. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t affectionate and loving though. They tend to get on well with other dogs, though some sometimes have a tendency to chase after cats and other smaller animals. With such long legs, the Irish wolfhound is an incredibly fast runner.

Training with these dogs needs to start from an early age and even after they are fully trained, it is still best for them to be walked on a leash or in a safe, enclosed area. They are quick learners, but can be stubborn at times. As with most dogs, they dislike being left alone for long periods of time and will seek to entertain themselves if they do get too bored. Their great height means that all food needs to be safely hidden away. Even the top of the fridge is risky. They can be greedy and will need a fair amount of food each day in order to satisfy their hunger. They are usually fine with children, though they do have their boundaries and won’t be appreciative of much “rough” play.

Hip Dysplasia and Bloat can be a problem for the breed, but this isn't that common. Damage to the tip of their tail is. Brushing a couple of times a week should be enough and a trim when the coat gets too wild.


The Irish Wolfhound has an easy going, laid back temperament. Like most big dogs they are very sociable and tend to be great with children and other dogs alike. They form a loving bond with their family yet show little to no interest in strangers, they can make great guard dogs if need be.

Health Problems

Irish Wolfhounds can be prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, bloat, bone cancer, blood clotting disease, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), and heart problems.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 6 - 10 years
  • Weight: 100 - 150 lbs
  • Height: 30 - 32"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Hound
  • Size: Giant
  • Energy Level: Low
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

Irish Wolfhound Pictures

Valhalla puppy

Latest Reviews For Irish Wolfhound (3 of 3)

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Absolute heart hounds and soul mates - Debbie,

Must respect the massive growth curve and protect there young bodies from over use or strain as they grow. Couch potatoes, very stubborn, need to be a member of the family and prefer to be with their humans 24/7. Can be prone to illness / injury and only have a short average life span. The BEST companions ever!!! We've had 6 and desperately hope to get another one! THEY ARE BIG! Some of our boys have been 100kgs and 7 foot from nose to tale.

These great hounds - Hernameisveronica,

I've kept Irish Wolfhounds for over 30 years. Each is an individual, but in general they are lovely, funny, and devoted animals. Make sure you get a good breeder, if anything goes wrong, they will be there to help. Great information is available HERE: They are wonderful dogs, but are not cheap to keep and die younger than most regular dogs. I've had a retriever that outlived two Wolfhounds. In addition to a LOT of food, their size and weight mean you'll be paying a lot more for flea/tick, heart worm prevention, dental care -- any meds and care/boarding are at premium fees as well. They really don't like their people gone all day, but will tolerate it if you ask it of them. Mine have all been good with toddler and older kids, two have hated cats, one rescue was afraid of stairs(?). In general the are lovely and loving dogs who deserve a good home with a large yard and regular exercise. Just make sure you've planned your budget ahead, and take the time to find a breeder who will accompany you throughout the life of a hound. A "good" puppy costs about the same as a poor one, and will cost you much more in heartache, pain, and medical bills that may result from poor breeding. If you like quiet walks down city streets, might look for another breed. They do draw questions and conversations when you go out with them. For shy people or introverts, that part of IW ownership can be hard.

We will always have Wolfhounds - Cynthia, California,

The Irish Wolfhound is a magnificent dog and is wonderful with children. They are a friendly dog and easygoing but when provoked will protect their family with their lives. They are good with other dogs but must be trained from an early age to cohabit with smaller animals like cats. It’s important to remember they are sighthounds and their instinct will kick in so do not let them off leash unless they are in a large fenced area. They need space and exercise so ample fenced property is ideal. Exercise when they are puppies must be limited as they grow due to their size and the rate of their bone growth. They are slow to mature. Some dig and some don’t. When they do, the holes they dig are large! When in training, they do not do well with harshness and aggressiveness. Just because they are large doesn’t mean they need a heavy hand. Be patient, positive, and kind. They are a sensitive breed. Being a giant breed, their life spans are shorter than your average dog. Please educate yourself about their health issues before committing to owning one and find a reputable breeder who follows all health testing guidelines.