Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed Profile

by Luke Blaise

AKC Group: Hound Group

The Irish Wolfhound dog is the tallest of all dog breeds on average. These dogs can get so big that they often resemble small ponies. A very muscular dog with a shaggy coat, it requires a lot of exercise to prevent boredom.


Among the very first documented references to this breed were found in Roman dating to 391A.D. Generally used as royal presents, they were highly sought after. These dogs were fought beside their owners in combat, protected their mansions, had fun with their kids, and laid silently by the fire as household friends.

They were ferocious hunters of oversized Irish elk and wolves. There were so great that their quarry vanished from Ireland and the hounds fell upon hard times. By the 1800's there only a couple of Irish wolfhounds left in the country of Ireland.

Physical Features

Of fantastic size and powerful look, the Irish wolfhound is impressive in mixing swiftness and power with perceptive sight. The tallest and largest of the galloping hounds, generally he's rough-coated, similar in statue to the Greyhound; very buff, robust though beautifully built; movements active and easy; neck and head maintained high, the tail holding having an upward mop with a moderate curve on the extremity.

The least height and weight of breeds should be thirty-two inches and a hundred and twenty pounds; of bitches, thirty inches and 105 pounds. Anything below this needs to be debarred from contest.

The coat colors that are recognized are gray, red, brindle, white, black, and fawn.


Irish Wolfhounds are intelligent, kind, patient, sweet-tempered and thoughtful. Excellent and reliable with children. Eager and willing to please, they're unconditionally faithful to their family and owner. This huge breed could be clumsy and so are slow to develop fully in both mind and body, taking about 24 months before they're adult.

Common Health Problems

At risk of bloat, bone cancer, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia and Von Willebrands Disease.

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