Irish Wolfhound Characteristics
Irish Wolfhound is a large hunting breed of dog, good watchdog and companion. He has a huge stature and a strong, graceful constitution. Dog has long legs and can run very fast so he is indispensable helper at hunting for wolves.
Breeders always admire the personality of the Irish Wolfhound because this giant has extremely kind eyes and heart. This brave breed is completely devoid of aggression towards people and can scare off the stranger only with his a huge height.
Irish Wolfhound is the mascot of the Armed Forces of Ireland because the Irish people love and respect him.
This ancient breed appeared over two thousand years ago and until today he remains a mystery for cynologists. In Ireland they guarded settlements and hunted for large predators. Wolfhound was bred to hunt after the most dangerous predators of Ireland - wolves and boars. Dog has keen eyesight and strong paws and could defeat the enemy without effort. There is a legend that these giants used to hunt the giant Irish elk but it is the fiction.
There is a version that ancient Romans brought these "bearded giants" from Britain to the metropolis as dogs for fighting on the circus ring.
Another version says that the Celts brought him to Ireland in 500 years BC. In those days the breed was called "Irish Hound", "Wolfhound", and «Ku" - which meant a strong hound because he has tremendous strength and courage. Irish soldiers incited the dog-giant against the enemies because Wolfhound could dump the enemy riders on the ground without problems.
Dogs always went before the army and guarded by a fortress as sentries.
There are a lot of legends about the valor and exploits of Irish Wolfhound.
Many members of the aristocracy dreamed to get this dog as a present because the Wolfhounds were rarity in Europe.
In 1641 the Irish Wolfhound was brought to France and presented to Cardinal Richelieu.
In 1652 Cromwell came to power and banned the export of this breed from England. The death penalty was the punishment for disobedience.
Several centuries later the breed could disappear because the Wolfhound destroyed lot of wolves and remained without a main work - hunting for wolves.
In the XVIII century, the breeders have crossed him with Greyhound, Great Dane and Scottish Greyhound because the Wolfhound has almost disappeared.
In 1862 a Captain British Army D. Graham engaged breeding and restoration of the breed. Eventually, he improved many of the qualities of this breed except dexterity. The ''updated'' Wolfhound regained his popularity in the army.
The Story of Gelert (Irish Wolfhound)
The most popular legend talks, that John Lackland King of England gave Llewellyn Prince of Wales the puppy of Wolfhound. Dog was called Gelert. He became a favorite and true friend of the prince and a protector prince`s little son.
One day the prince went hunting and left Gelert at home. In those difficult times there were lots of wolves in the woods. Sometimes it seemed there were much more wolves than humans and dogs together. Wolves were dangerous for everybody: hunters in the woods and the people who stayed at home.
After the hunt the prince saw pet in the castle yard which ran to meet him, wagging his tail. Llewellyn worried about dog's muzzle which was stained with blood. Prince ran into the house to son`s cradle but it was empty and turned over and blankets were stained with blood.
He felt grief and sorrow and thought that the dog killed child. Saddened father drew his sword and slaughtered Gelert. Dying, the faithful dog mournfully howled. Prince`s son who slept under the crib awake and cried. Prince knelt down and saw a huge dead wolf. Loyal Gelert killed predator and saved the life of baby.
Llewellyn was heartbroken and ordered to put a monument of Gelert. The place, where prince's favorite pet was buried was named Beth Gellert.
Irish Wolfhound Personality
Irish Wolfhound has a gentle, calm and kind temperament. It is amazing that such a giant dog is very sensitive and friendly. He is very hard to fly into a rage. But if he gets angry, this dog will be a very dangerous opponent.
Wolfhound is a good watchdog but he never rushes to people because he is very trusting and benevolent. Dogs of this breed do not have aggression towards people but always can protect the owner from danger.
The owner has to dominate over dog of this breed because the Irish Wolfhound is very clever, cunning and independent. This breed matures slowly. Some individuals remain puppies more than a year, although they look like a huge dog. They cannot jump from a height of up to one year, and then one year is spent on training. Of course, they are not as fast as Border Collie or Golden Retriever but they are very persistent.
It is necessary to teach him obedience. He must completely obey the master's commands. If you train your pet properly, he will be faithful to you all life.
The main rule of a good breeder - never hit your dog. If you cannot bring up your pet, you need to consult an expert. The professional will help and teach dog a proper behavior.
Irish Wolfhound loves host`s children and can tolerate many childish pranks. If the dog gets tired, he will go to the other room. Remember never leave a small child alone with a pet because the Wolfhound is very big.
He gets on well with other pets: cats and dogs of other breeds. The breed is very calm, does not bark and do not make a noise without a cause. Despite the large size, he can live in an apartment but you have to provide him with a separate sofa. He cannot lie on a hard floor or carpet for a long time because he has a large weight.
This breed is in need of communicating with the host. It is impossible to leave him alone in a small apartment for a long time because he has to move. It is necessary to walk with pet two times a day, 40 - 50 minutes. Walking should be calm, without physical exertion.
Wrong living conditions are the main reason of the wrong physical and emotional development of the dog.
You need to understand that a large pet is a big responsibility. If you want to have a dog of breed Irish Wolfhound, you will need to provide him with proper nutrition, grooming, visit vet and walk in nature. And the most important to have time to communicate with your pet, otherwise it will get bored and play pranks. For example one year old puppy can smash the room during an hour.
Well-trained Wolfhound can participate in dog shows, competitions in obedience and field trials. Wolfhound will feel good in a private house with a garden and a spacious yard. He needs to run in a field or forest at least 1 time a 2 week.