One of the largest dogs, the stately Irish Wolfhound can reach the size of a small pony. Standing on his hind legs, a large specimen can reach over 7-feet tall! He gives an appearance of both strength and grace. He has an arched loin and very deep chest. His neck is long and his tail hangs down with a slight curve. He has a rough wiry coat of gray, brindle, red, black and white, or fawn. The rose ears are carried back against the head except when the animal is excited, when they might prick up partway.
The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed, known in Ireland since before the Romans invaded. Many tales of these imposing dogs exist from 200 BC onwards. Used for battle, hunting, and guarding duties, the wolfhound gradually came to specialize in hunting wolves. After the wolf population was eliminated from the British Isles, wolfhound numbers decreased substantially. The Great Famine in the 1840s was also hard on this giant breed because people were unable to feed these huge dogs. In the late 1800s, Captain George A. Graham dedicated himself to restoring the breed to its ancient type. Generally a companion dog today, the Irish Wolfhound is also capable at lure coursing.
Gentle, patient, sweet, loyal, and affectionate. Generous, intelligent, and reliable. Dignified and willing. Not a guard dog by nature, he can serve as one simply because of his huge presence. Responds well to firm, but gentle training.