Irish Wolfhound


A large sized grey Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)28-35in (71-89cm)
Weight100-150lbs (45-68kg)
Hair Colour(s)Grey
Lifespan7-9 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size3-4
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftLow

The Irish Wolfhound is a very tall and muscular dog that can reach the size of a small pony. The body has a deep chest, strong shoulders, a muscular neck and upward curving tail carried between the legs. The long tapering head has a moderately pointed muzzle, small ears and eyes and bushy eyebrows. The coat is rough and wiry, and the colouring is mostly grey but also brindle, red, black or white.


Irish Wolfhounds are friendly, sweet-tempered and dignified gentle giants that love their owners and families unconditionally. They need plenty of space and attention but do make excellent companions and family pets. Loyal, eager and willing, they are relatively easy to train and respond well to gentle yet firm training. However, these dogs can be very independent and also destructive when young, and so they are more suited to owners with some experience of dog ownership rather than novices. Their gentle attitude often means that early socialisation is required to improve their confidence and sociability. Irish Wolfhounds are easy-going dogs and will get along with children, although are not suitable for smaller kids due to their large size. They will get along okay with other dogs too, but may chase or attack smaller dogs or pets when left together, and so must be socialised early on. These friendly dogs are not overly aggressive or suspicious and are also fine around strangers, which means they are not effective watchdogs. However, their sheer size can mean they do make good deterents to intruders.

History & Skills

Irish Wolfhounds originate from Ireland, which shouldn't come as a surprise, and are a very ancient breed. It is possible they were brought to Ireland around 3500 BC by early settlers, and are mentioned in many old literature sources. Bred as war dogs, they were also hunters and had the necessary skills required to pursue wild boar, wolves and elk. Despite almost being wiped out in the mid-1800s by famine, these days they are of course used as companions and family pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Irish Wolfhounds tend to live between 7-9 years, which like many large breeds is relatively short. Some of the health problems noted in this breed include cardiomyopathy, bone cancer, bloat, Von Willerbrands, PRA, and hip dysplasia, sensitivity to chemicals and drugs, and cataracts. Also their joints can be susceptible to damage while they are still growing, and so should not be exercised too strenuously.


Irish Wolfhounds are low to medium shedders, and with adequate grooming are probably okay for those suffering from allergies. Their grooming needs are moderate and the coat will need brushing several times a week to remove dead hair and keep the coat looking its best. The hair around the ears and eyes may need to be trimmed occasionally.

Exercise & Environment

Irish Wolfhounds are not suitable for small homes due to their large size, and although relatively inactive indoors, they need a daily walk and some time outdoors. They will need a secure yard or garden area but would not thrive being in a kennel, as they like to be mixed in with the family. Although these dogs need a fair amount of exercise, care is needed while they are still growing as strenuous exercise can lead to joint damage.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

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