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Breed of the week

Dog Breed of the Week: Irish Wolfhound

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These scruffy-looking dogs may be one of the biggest breeds in the world, but don’t let their appearance intimidate you! Despite the breed’s beginnings as a Celtic war dog, modern Wolfhounds are as loveable as they are tall, and make the perfect family pet.

Temperament

Despite their intimidating size, Irish Wolfhounds are gentle giants and love nothing better than a good snuggle with their humans. Their calm nature makes them an ideal dog for families with children, and they will usually become very attached to other dogs within the household. However, the Wolfhound’s friendly temperament makes them terrible guard dogs – they’re more likely to make friends with an intruder than to try and scare them off! Because of their size when fully grown, it is important for owners to train their Irish Wolfhound well while it’s still young – it’s much easier to teach a puppy to stop pulling on his lead than a 60kg dog!

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Health

Irish Wolfhounds don’t actually require any more exercise than your average pooch – around 40 minutes a day should be enough. It is important for owners to make sure that Wolfhound puppies are not over-exercised because their bones grow so quickly, meaning that they are more prone to damage at a young age. As with many large dog breeds, such as the St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhounds sadly have a relatively short life expectancy, with the average being around 7 years, and the most common cause of death being bone cancer.

Did you know…
  • Irish Wolfhounds are the breed of choice for one of our favourite Instagrammers, Norwegian dog photographer Truls Bakken!
  • The earliest evidence of Irish Wolfhounds is from over 2,200 years ago, when Celts used them as war dogs to fight the Romans. According to stories from the time, they were tall and strong enough to pull a grown man down from his horse. By the Middle Ages, they were being used mainly to control the wolf population in Ireland, hence the breed’s name.
  • The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed in the world, at just under 3 feet tall at the withers, and can can stand up to 7 feet tall on their hind legs.
  • Irish Wolfhounds were brought back from the brink of extinction at the end of the 19th Century, when one man, Captain George Augustus Graham, single-handedly managed to revive the breed by mixing in other breeds including the Great Dane, Scottish Deerhound and English Mastiff.

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Dave

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