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Irish Wolfhound: dog food and breed portrait

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Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a large breed of dogs from Ireland. It belongs to the rough-coated sighthounds and is accordingly listed by the FCI in Group 10, Section 2.


Despite its enormous size, the Irish Wolfhound is extremely gentle, which makes it an excellent companion dog for active families.

History of the Irish Wolfhound

The exact origin of the Irish Wolfhound can no longer be traced today. Its ancestors probably lived several thousand years ago in what is now Ireland and Great Britain.


In ancient times and in the Middle Ages the Irish Wolfhound was an appreciated hunting dog. At that time, however, its keeping was reserved for the nobility. Because of its size it was mainly used for hunting bears, wolves and other big game.


With the advent of firearms, however, the Irish Wolfhound lost more and more importance, so that the breed almost completely disappeared in the 17th century.


In the middle of the 19th century the Scottish cynologist George Augustus Graham finally established the first general breed standard for the Irish Wolfhound and crossed the few existing specimens with Great Danes and other sighthounds such as the Deerhound.


Due to the two world wars, the Irish Wolfhound almost disappeared again in the meantime. Since the 1960s, however, the population could recover considerably. Nevertheless, the Irish Wolfhound is still rather seldom to be found outside Great Britain and Ireland.

Characteristics of the Irish Wolfhound

The life expectancy of the Irish Wolfhound is six to ten years. According to the breed standard, males reach a shoulder height of at least 79 centimetres and female Irish Wolfhounds should reach at least 71 centimetres.


Occasionally, individual specimens can even reach a size of 100 centimetres. This makes the Irish Wolfhound one of the largest dog breeds of all, next to the Great Dane.


Its body weight is however manageable. While males should weigh at least 54.5 kilograms, bitches with a weight of 40.5 kilograms or more are usually considerably lighter.


As usual with greyhounds, the Irish Wolfhound's physique is slender and wiry despite its stately size. He has a well developed musculature and a deep chest, which gives him an athletic appearance.


The coat of the Irish Wolfhound is rough and hard. According to the breed standard it may have the colours black, white, grey, red, fawn and brindle. In addition, however, all other colours found in the Deerhound are also permitted.

Irish Wolfhound nature and character

Irish Wolfhound nature and character

The appearance of the Irish Wolfhound is at first sight quite formidable. But basically it is a very gentle and good-natured dog.


The Irish Wolfhound is very affectionate and prefers to spend as much time as possible close to his owner. He has a very high stimulus threshold, which makes him a good family dog.


At the same time the Irish Wolfhound is characterized by a courageous and fearless character. In addition, he still possesses a quite strong hunting instinct, which can become a problem, especially if he is not sufficiently busy.


The right degree of consistency is very important in the training of the Irish Wolfhound. Because the breed has the reputation to be sometimes a bit stubborn and sometimes needs a moment to acquire desired behaviour.

Activities with the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is an excellent family dog that proves to be considerate and gentle when dealing with children. Due to his body size he is of course not a suitable dog for keeping indoors. However, accommodation in a kennel is also out of the question.


Whoever considers keeping an Irish Wolfhound should consider that the breed has a rather high urge to move. Extensive walks are therefore an absolute must.


Apart from that, it is advisable to give the Irish Wolfhound an additional employment opportunity in dog sports. However, sports such as agility or even dog dancing should be avoided due to the high strain on the locomotor system.

Instead, the following dog sports are suitable for the Irish Wolfhound:

Irish Wolfhound diseases

There are a number of canine diseases that can occur in the Irish Wolfhound. Among other things, due to its size there is an increased risk of joint diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia. In addition, the Irish Wolfhound is one of the dogs that particularly often suffer from a life-threatening stomach twist.


Unfortunately, DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) is also a recurrent theme in Irish Wolfhounds. DCM is a heart disease in which dilation of the heart muscle leads to a progressive loss of pumping power.

Other health problems that can occur in Irish Wolfhounds include:

With regard to the prompt diagnosis and treatment of possible diseases, owners of an Irish Wolfhound should know that the breed has a reputation for not letting symptoms show. Regular check-ups at the veterinarian are therefore a must for responsible owners.


As with all sighthounds, it is also important for Irish Wolfhounds to make sure that the dosage of anaesthetic is kept low in case a general anaesthetic is required.

The right diet for the Irish Wolfhound

Bellfor Liegeschwielen Ointment

With regard to the health of the Irish Wolfhound, in addition to good husbandry conditions and conscientious health care, nutrition plays a decisive role. A species-appropriate feeding, which takes the needs of the Irish Wolfhound optimally into account, can make a valuable contribution to avoiding health problems.


We recommend feeding the Irish Wolfhound with our cold-pressed dry dog food. The food is free of grain and artificial additives. In addition, the croquettes produced in the cold pressing process swell only slightly in the stomach, so that the risk of your dog's stomach turning is reduced.

Apart from this, the following Bellfor products can be useful for the Irish Wolfhound:

With the special nutritional concept from Bellfor, you can make a valuable contribution to the healthy development of your Irish Wolfhound from a very early age.


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