Irish Wolfhound

Irish Greyhound, Greyhound of Ireland

This veteran and big game hunter can satisfy many owners. However, they will have to give him the opportunity to live in the open air and enjoy the great outdoors. Athletic owners will be happy, because their companion will be able to accompany them in their exercise without ever failing. The Irish Wolfhound is very special. This seemingly quiet dog should be treated with respect and caution. Strangers with bad intentions are duly warned; if they go looking for trouble, they will find it.

Height 70 to 80 cm
Weight 40 to 58 kg
Life expectancy 9 to 11 years
Home country Republic of Ireland

Quick Overview of the Irish Wolfhound


  • Sweet, kind and friendly
  • Very calm and balanced
  • Loves children and family
  • Intuitive and intelligent


  • One of the biggest dogs in the world
  • Harsh and short coat
  • Long flat head
  • Small ears worn in the shape of a rose


  • Hardly ever sick
  • Enjoy excellent health
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Irish Wolfhound

His name of wolfhound suits him wonderfully, and hides a particular temperament that it is preferable not to wake up. Kind and friendly, the Irish Wolfhound is calm and balanced. He loves children and all the members of his family.

Generally calm in all circumstances, he can become fearsome if provoked or if he feels the threat is real. He will protect his own from aggression if necessary.

Generally docile, he is intuitive and intelligent, and his education usually poses no issue.

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Breed Appearance

Irish greyhound

This very large dog, considered one of the largest in the world, is imposing with massive muscles and a strong build.

The Irish Greyhound does not look as heavy as his ancestor, the Great Dane, but still a little heavier than his other ancestor, the Scottish Greyhound (Deerhound).


Between 70 and 80 cm (27.56 to 31.50 inches) for the male
Between 70 and 80 cm (27.56 to 31.50 inches) for the female


Between 54 and 58 kg (119.05 to 127.87 pounds) for the male
Between 40 and 52 kg (88.18 to 114.64 pounds) for the female


The color of the coat can vary between white, suede, grey, black, red or brindle.


His harsh coat is short and rather rough.


The long head of the Irish Wolfhound is flat but not very broad. His small eyes with a soft gaze are dark.

His small ears are worn in the shape of a rose, like those of the Greyhound. His nose is usually black. His full and hairy tail is medium sized and slightly curved.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 10, section 2 and is #160

Tips About this breed

The Irish Wolfhound is not always restful.

Highly appreciated in the past for hunting wolves and as a fighter in the circus arena, the Irish Greyhound has retained his ancestral genes and they are still latent in his personality.

He is calm and balanced but if he has to defend his own, he will be fearsome.

He's kind and gentle with his family and he's everyone's friend. He will be so as long as he is not provoked.

He is an excellent guard dog who only warns most of the time. His education must be precocious and rigorous in order to prevent his ancestral fighting temperament from arising.

This outdoor and wide open spaces dog is not adapted to city life. His size and great need for exercise require a minimum of living space.

He must be able to run and spend his energy as he pleases in order to maintain his balance, and calm and serene temperament.

Health of the Irish Wolfhound

Very robust, this large Greyhound is almost never sick. This hardy dog generally enjoys excellent health. No particular pathology is to be reported in his case.

Once adult, his health is excellent, but his diet must be particularly monitored throughout his growth.

This large dog does not mature until about 3 to 4 years of age, and his growth may continue until he is 15 months old, when he will need food with adequate vitamins and proteins.

His life expectancy is about 11 years.


This large dog requires daily brushing but no other special care.

History of this breed

Originally from Asia, the Irish Wolfhound arrived in Ireland between 2500 and 1500 B.C. making him a very ancient breed. He was first used to hunt bears, elk and wolves.

His name of wolfhound comes from this use. The Gaels of Ireland brought him back from Asia for hunting, but towards the end of the 4th century B.C., he was greatly appreciated in circus games. His courage and power enabled him to face the beasts of the arena and the spectators then attended an excellent show.

Considered worthy of Gods and heroes, the breed was attributed with great qualities that made the Irish Wolfhound very popular.

He was imported to England, Poland, Spain and France, where he was widely known as an excellent wolf hunter. His great popularity almost decimated the breed, and even the export ban introduced by Olivier Cromwell in 1652 was not enough to increase the numbers.

Around 1862, Captain George Augustus Graham and several of his friends undertook the rescue of this magnificent dog. This very old and noble breed was thus able to come back in force and benefit from an important resurgence. Some crossbreeding took place with the Great Dane, the Borzoi and the Deerhound to get to the breed as we know it today.

In 1870, he took part in his first show and it was in 1885 that his official club was created. France only recognized him in 1970 and since 1902 he has been the official mascot of the Irish Guards, an elite unit of the British army.

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