The Irish Wolf Hound originated in Europe. They were only permitted to be owned by kings and the nobility, but there were plenty of them as there were 150 kingdoms in Ancient Ireland. The number of hounds each person was permitted to own depended on his position.
The hounds were used as war dogs to haul men off horseback and out of chariots. There are many tales in Irish mythology of their ferocity and bravery in battle. They were also used to protect property and herds. They were excellent at hunting Irish elk, deer, boar, and even wolves. They were held in such high esteem that battles were fought over them.
Irish wolfhounds are called “gentle giants” for good reason. Tolerant, calm, and loyal are some of the words that describe this breed. In addition to their great size, they are also “large of heart”. Those who choose to share their home with the Irish Wolfhound will have a cherished companion. I.W.’s do well with children and generally other pets. An Irish saying aptly describes their personalities, “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” The Irish Wolfhound is a gentle dog who protects family, and is extremely fond of the elderly and children alike.
This graceful and powerful breed is an athletic sight hound that seems to gallop naturally. Courageous and loyal, I.W.’s are intelligent, very sensitive, and need a great deal of human companionship. Despite its size, it is a dignified and quiet-mannered house pet, and is non-aggressive.
I.W’s are intelligent and learn fast when trained with proper feedback. You will be amazed at how fast your puppy will learn basic commands. I.W’s love to have a good run and are beautiful to watch. It excels in lure coursing, obedience, and rescue, and are swift and powerful sprinters covering the ground with long strides with seeming ease. Following a good romp or run, they will quickly change gears and flop down for a lazy nap.
Raising a Puppy
Irish Wolfhounds grow extremely fast, which can put a strain on bones and joints. Until your puppy is several months old it is very important not to walk them long distances as this can cause permanent damage to joints. You will have to put a limit on their play and exercise time, though they may want to keep going. After six months you can start taking your puppy for walks but make them short to begin with and lengthen them gradually. By nine months the puppy should be able to go out for 20 minutes at a time. It is better to have several walks of 20 minutes each rather than a long walk of an hour at this stage, but do not tire the puppy. Puppies are as individual in the amount of exercise they can take as in the amount of food they require, and a puppy that has grown very tall and gangly should be given several short walks during the day and not overtired.
An adult hound requires a minimum of an hour's walking or half-an-hour free running every day. Part of the daily exercise should be solely for the hound's enjoyment. The Irish Wolfhound, being a galloping hound should be given the opportunity to run at least sometimes as an adult. Remember, the I.W. was bred for the chase, so a fence when off leash is always a good idea unless you are with your dog.
The last timber wolf in Ireland is said to have been killed in 1786, and once their prey was gone, the Irish Wolfhound went into decline with only a few families keeping them more for "ornament use". In the 1860's Captain George Augustus Graham was determined to bring the Irish Wolfhound back to its former glory. He worked for 20 years to save the breed. The Irish Wolfhound Society was founded in 1981 and may be the only reason the breed is alive today.
Titan and Ayla