The Irish wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world, they can reach up to 7 ft. tall if standing on their hind legs. They are the largest dog in the sighthound group. They are about 32 inches tall at the withers and about 120 lbs.
The Irish wolfhound as the name indicates originated in Ireland and is considered an ancient breed. Celtic writings dating back to 273 BC mention them, so they have been around for quite a while. They have always been quite admired by nobility and were often given as gifts amongst royalty.
They were used as a war dog and to hunt wild boar, deer and wolf, they were in fact so good at their hunting jobs that in the 19th century they came close to extinction when the number of prey dwindled. But thankfully the breed was revived and now Irish wolfhounds can be found almost anywhere.
They have a rough and wiry coat that needs to be brushed about once a week. Their coat is longer around the eyes and bottom jaw, they come in several shades: grey, brindle, fawn, red, black and white. They have long legs that are actually stronger than they look, a long curved tail, small ears and a long muzzle.
Irish wolfhounds are good indoor pets because they are not super active and they tend not to bark, but they do need space, lots of space to stretch out, so they tend not to do great in apartments. They are not really meant to deal with stairs so they are happier in a one flight home with a fenced-in yard to frolic in. They enjoy long walks that are needed to maintain their enormous bodies, but other than that they are happy to lie on the couch. Since they are sighthounds they will chase prey and a secure fence is necessary to keep them in your yard.
Irish wolfhounds can grow about a pound a day so early training will be best. They tend to be quite friendly with other dogs and humans but unless they are taught at an early age to socialize with other indoor pets they will think them fair game and revert to their prey drive.
These dogs are known for being docile and very patient which makes them quite a good dog for homes with younger children. They are loving, patient, magnificent creatures that need a caring family who understands that their lifetime is short. On average an Irish wolfhound’s life span is of 6 to 8 years. They are so large that they often have problems with their hearts and bones. Always look for a reputable breeder to reduce the likelihood of illness and meet the parents to get a better idea of what kind of dog your puppy will grow into.
Irish wolfhounds can eat up to 24lbs of food each week so it is important to budget for that if you are thinking of adding one to your family. Remember that they will need space and that like most giant breeds, they are puppies for a long time about 18 to 24 months. Regardless of their size, Irish wolfhounds are not ponies! They should NOT be ridden by anyone and should not be made to pull carts, as they can be easily hurt.