Irish Wolfhound History

Bits and Pieces - Regimental Mascots

4th Battalion Leinster Regiment

The Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment was made up of two Regiments of Foot and three Militia Battalions. The 4th Battalion (Queens County Militia) were stationed at Maryborough. The Leinster Regiment was disbanded in 1922.

IRISH TIMES - 15 July, 1915

The O'Mahony, D.L., Grange Con, County Wicklow, has presented an Irish wolfhound to Lieutenant-Colonel Sir A.A. Weldon, Bart, D.S.O. , and the officers of the 4th Battalion Leinster Regiment as a mascot for the battalion. The dog, which is a splendid specimen of the breed, was handed over to the battalion, at its present quarters, on the 8th July.

Note: The previous year the Leinster Regiment had been offered a wolfhound - Litchborough Garryowen - as a mascot, by his owner Miss Violet Grant, but she was informed that, because the regiment was being sent into battle, she would probably prefer the hound to remain at home. Garryowen was then presented to the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Pierce Charles de Lacy O'Mahony, also known as The O'Mahony of Kerry, bred Irish wolfhounds and was said to have the last of the original race before Captain Graham began the resuscitation of the breed (for more information on The O'Mahony, see an interesting article at
. Granua, in the picture below was said to be Pierce O'Mahony's last wolfhound. He died in 1930. There were registrations made with the English Kennel Club for two bitches from a litter bred by The O'Mahony on June 29th, 1914, by Teigne out of his Sabha, and there was one registration for a bitch from a repeat mating, whelped October 13th, 1915. Interestingly, Teigne was registered with the English Kennel Club by The O'Mahony, as by Mr. H. Pemberton's Cenwulph ex owner's Moira, whelped August 7th, 1910, but these are the only registrations I have been able to find.

 The O'Mahony and Granua
 Pierce Charles de Lacy O'Mahony with Granua


Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Formed in 1881 and continued until 1968 when it was amalgamated with other regiments into the Royal Irish Rangers, which then merged with the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1992 to form the Royal Irish Regiment.

BATH CHRONICLE and WEEKLY GAZETTE - Saturday 12 June 1920

The presence of various regiments in our city during the war period made us well acquainted with various animal mascots. These memories have been recalled this week by the visit of the Band of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who are accompanied by their mascot, a fine grey Irish wolf-hound. The mascot wears a handsome green coat, and has already attracted a good deal of attention at the performances, where he is in charge of a drummer-boy, and walks in a dignified way, which suggests that he is fully aware of his exalted position.

 Inniskilling Fusiliers mascot



The Irish wolfhound (Bryan) which has been the Inniskilling Fusiliers' mascot for some time had to be destroyed yesterday. He contracted an illness from which there was no hope of his recovery. Bryan was a great favourite with the troops. He could deliver messages almost as good as a "runner" and always when the troops were on parade he walked in the front line.


THE DAILY MAIL, Friday August 26th, 1938

Bryan, Irish wolfhound mascot of the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, will never again amuse the troops on manoeuvres by licking the faces of the "wounded" to revive them.
At the end of mock warfare yesterday at Tow Law, County Durham, Bryan was reported sick and had to be painlessly destroyed.
Troops will miss him from his accustomed place at the head of the band on ceremonial parades.


The Irish Division

The 10th (Irish) Division was one of Kitchener's New Army Divisions formed in 1914, and consisting of three Brigades - the 29th, 30th, and 31st. For full details see

LINCOLNSHIRE ECHO - Saturday, 8th May 1915

Mr. Redmond intends to present an Irish wolfhound as a mascot to every one of the three brigades of the Irish Division.


THE NEWCASTLE DAILY JOURNAL - Friday, March 26th 1915

Mr. John E. Redmond, M.P., has written to Mr. T. Ryan, Buxton, thanking him for his splendid gift of a young Irish wolf-hound for the Irish Brigade. The hound's sire, Owen Roe, stands nearly 9½ hands at the shoulder, and the puppy, Benburg, is one inch taller than his sire was at the same age.

Note: a 'hand' is the equivalent of four inches, so Owen Roe would have been measured at nearly 38 inches. There were no registrations for any litters by Owen Roe, and Owen Roe was originally Felixstowe Mask, by Ch. Felixstowe Gelert ex Chalfont Wolverine and bred by F.H. Purchase, wh. May 15, 1913.
The only Kennel Club registration made by Mr. T. Ryan is of two bitches, Grania and Zoe, by Major Shewell's Lindley Hector ex Miss Carner's Cranage Sheilah, wh. May 13th, 1913. The only other notifications to do with Mr. Ryan are the transfers to him of two dogs [Felixstowe Mask being the first, and Michael O'Brien - bred by Everett, by Ch. Felixstowe Gweebarra ex Felixstowe Gara, wh. August 8, 1911 and transferred from his previous owner, Miss Dobson, to Mr. Ryan in 1914] and one bitch - Dark Rosaleen, originally Felixstowe Athy, by Winnal Gwynne ex Felixstowe Gara, and then transferred by Mr. Ryan to C.E. Donnelly in 1916. but no registrations of litters bred by him, although Michael O'Brien did sire a litter out of Good Hope (listed as belonging either to Miss Windley or Dr. & Mrs. Fisher) which was whelped December 4th, 1914, with two of the progeny being registered by their owners. There was also a registration in April, 1921 by Lieut.-Colonel D.L. Hartleys, of Kathleen, sired by Brian Boru ex Zoe, wh. 1915, br. Mr. Ryan.


IRISH TIMES - 19 June, 1915

The three Irish wolfhounds presented to Mr. John Redmond by Mr. Thos. Ryan of Buxton, as mascots for the regiments of the Irish Division, reached Kingstown last evening by the mail boat. They are fine-looking animals and were much admired on the pier before they were entrained for Dublin.


8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

The Sherwood Foresters was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, which was formed on July 1st, 1881. (Note: the following information about the mascot, Vulcan, is taken from the book "The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914-1918. The 2/8th Battalion by Lieut.-Colonel W.C. Oates, D.S.O., published in 1920. The photograph comes from the book.).

The mascot was presented to the regiment on May 26th, 1916 by Sir Francis Synge, Bart. as a remembrance of the good work the regiment had done in Ireland. The C.O., accompanied by Captain Dimock, motored over to Birr to fetch him. The dog had never been on a lead before, the motor was an open one, so that the expedition was not without incident, and resolved itself into a wrestling match between Captain Dimock and the dog, which terminated in the man sitting on the dog! Early in 1917 the Battalion were being sent to France and said a sorrowful goodbye to Vulcan. All ranks were very fond of him, and proud of his dignified deportment on occasions of ceremony. With their usual thoughfulness the Duke and Duchess of Portland kindly volunteered to look after him during the time the Battalion was abroad. Needless to say the dog had a right royal time at Welbeck, until the time came for him also to do his bit.
With this end in view the Duchess sent him to Major Richardson for training, and the writer was informed that he proved a very useful animal in defence work.


NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST - Tuesday 17th August, 1920

There is great consternation at the headquarters of the 8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Newark) over the loss of the battalion's mascot "Vulcan", a huge Irish wolfhound. He was found to be missing on Saturday night as the battalion was packing up ready for Sunday's departure from the Scarborough camp. A rear party was left to institute a search, but there was no success.
Yesterday morning the Scarborough police telegraphed that the pride of the battalion had been killed. "Vulcan", as the mascot of the 2/8th Battalion, saw service in Ireland right through the rebellion, but on the battalion proceeding to France, the Duchess of Portland undertook to be responsible for his care. On the return of the 2/8th from France, and the formation of the 8th Battalion on May 1st, the dog was presented by Capt. E.C.A. James, of Southwell, to the 8th Battalion and had been since with this battalion.

 Lieut.-Col. Oates and Vulcan
 Lieut.Col. W.C. Oates, D.S.O. and Vulcan
 William Coape Oates was a keen cricketer, playing for Nottinghamshire, and then joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers, serving in the Burmese War 1885-7 and the Boer War, where he was severely wounded. He retired in 1902 with the rank of Captain and became Justice of the Peace for Nottinghamshire. Recalled to service at the start of the First World War, he was with the 2/8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and retired as Lieutenant Colonel, D.S.O.
 Note: I have not been able to find any registration details that fit 'Vulcan', so do not know who bred him or his pedigree or date of birth.


Royal Munster Fusiliers



Seven years ago the 1st Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers played a very gallant part in that historic landing at "V" Bay, Cape Helles, on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It will be recalled that the transport River Clyde was run in shore as near as possible while under heavy gunfire by the Turks, and this battalion swarmed over the side a thousand strong. But the wily Turks had been well-prepared for the adventure. At low water they had laid terrible barbed wire entanglements and other devices to hold up the invaders. The Britishers were undaunted but the casualties were terrible, and they came out of the ordeal with the loss of something like two-thirds of their numbers.
Now the battalion is stationed at Crownhill, and yesterday practically the whole battalion, together with the headquarters, attended a special Requiem Mass at Plymouth Roman Catholic Cathedral. The parade strength was 25 officers and 314 other ranks. With them came the band, pipers, buglers, and Garry, the aged wolfhound mascot of the battalion, proudly led the parade. Lieut. Col. J.A.F. Cuffe, C.M.G., D.S.O., was in command.
The battalion is now in the main composed of youngsters, who have joined the colours since the war, but there was a fair sprinkling of warriors displaying their war ribbons and medals, and included in the parade were several survivors of that great historic episode now seven years old. These included Major G.W. Geddes, D.S.O., Captain (Brevet-Major) G.W. Nightingale, M.C., Captain F.X. Russell, D.F.C., and Captain F.S. Waldegrave, M.C.
Inside the Cathedral the service was one to remember. Around the catafalque stood 10 sentries from the battalion. These, with a non-commissioned officer at the head and at the foot, were almost all survivors of the memorable landing, and they presented an impressive appearance as with heads bowed they rested on their reversed arms motionless throughout the celebration of the Mass. The service opened with the playing by the battalion band, under Mr. Parfitt, of Greig's "Death of Ase" from "Peer Gynt". At the close of the Mass the heads of the sentries suddenly became erect and their rifles came to the "present" as, for a few minutes, everyone paid a great silent tribute to the dead. Again the arms were reversed, and the sentries stood with bowed heads as the Absolution was performed at the catafalque. Twenty buglers then ranged themselves alongside, and there followed a soul-stirring rendering of that finest of all service calls, "Last Post". As the last echoes of this died away the band commenced an impressive interpretation of Chopin's "Marche Funebre". There was another brief pause as the concluding bars passed into silence, and then with a quick turn the guard marched away.
With Garry again at their head, the Munsters marched back to Crownhill to the lilting Irish tune "Killaloe", and later the skirling bagpipes broke into that rousing march "Green, white, and yellow".
The Bishop was unable to attend the service at the Cathedral, and he was represented by Monsignor Barry, of Holy Cross Church. The celebrant was Rev. W.S. Gaynor, with Rev. D. Noonan deacon, and Rev. R. Lyon sub-deacon. The master of ceremonies was Mr. Bernard Brien. The arrangements in the Cathedral were made by Maj. McGowan, commanding the Catholic Boys Brigade.
The celebration had a special significance, as it is probable that the Munsters will soon be disbanded, although no defnite instructions have yet been received to that effect. In any case, yesterday was probably the last occasion on which the members of the battalion will join in commemorating a great historic event which added a page of glory to the traditions of the British Army.

 Garry leading the band
 Garry leading the band in Plymouth

Note: For more on the Royal Munster Fusiliers and their mascot Garry, see


99th Infantry

Unfortunately I have not been able to find out any more about the 99th Infantry, apart from one newspaper calling it the "99th French Infantry". However, that appears to have been disbanded before 1900. Also, I have not been able to discover Betty's actual breed, as she could have been a Russian wolfhound (Borzoi), and is even described in the first piece as an Alsatian, as well as being male and not having been left with Rudelle the first night, plus quite a few differences from the other stories. The Alsatian was known at one time as a 'wolf dog' because of its appearance, but was not a 'wolf-hound'.



No-one could fail to be moved by the story of how a dog stayed for a day and a night beside an injured stranger in the snows, and saved him of dying of cold.
A young Frenchman named Rudelle was skiing near the Galibier Col. in the Savoy Mountains, when he fell and broke his leg.
His friends went to Valloire for help. Soldiers climbed to the place but when they reached M. Rudelle they were helpless from exhaustion and cold. They could only give him food and leave him to spend the night on the mountain.
Next morning another rescue party of soldiers set out, taking with them an Alsatian dog and a sledge. They got the injured man on the sledge but it soon broke. Some of the men had frostbitten hands and feet. They could not carry Rudelle, so they left him - but the dog remained.
When the soldiers got back to Valloire the commanding officer forbade any more rescue parties, for the temperature was 18 degrees below zero.
Sticking to His Post
Then a party of civilians struggled up to M. Rudelle and found him still alive, huddled against the dog. They, like the soldiers, were frostbitten and exhausted; they could not bring him down and once more the poor man was left in the snow.
The dog stayed with him.
Next day two famous guides from Chamonix took up a party to bring back M. Rudelle's body. To their astonishment they found him still alive.
The dog had stuck to his post and kept the man warm.
Both were brought down and both were doing well when last we heard of them.



Medal for Wolfhound
Betty, magnificent wolfhound mascot of the 99th Infantry, who saved the life of a mountaineer named Rudelle, was awarded a silver medal and diploma before her regiment drawn up in the barrack square at Grenoble.
When Rudelle broke his leg in the Galibier Mountains, a rescue party found him exhausted by blizzards.
They were unable to bring him back, and left provisions and the dog Betty.
A second party was defeated by the storm, but on the third day another expedition reached Rudelle. They were amazed to find him still alive, with the faithful Betty lying across his body to keep him warm.
Betty, who had puppies a week before this exploit, suffered serious frostbite, which compelled her to find a foster mother for her puppies.
After the general commanding the area had congratulated the rescuers, the medal was attached to Betty's collar and military honours were rendered by a band.
Betty watched the proceedings quietly, but showed a soldier's traditional modesty when she bared her teeth and growled at the Press photographers. - Reuter


BURNLEY EXPRESS - Wednesday 15 May 1935

Betty, a wolfhound, the mascot of the 99th Infantry Regiment, who saved the life of a mountain climber named Rudelle, was awarded a silver medal and diploma before her regiment drawn up in the barrack square in Grenoble.


Royal Air Force

TAMWORTH HERALD - Saturday 7th February, 1942

Nobody loves a pet more than an airman and although orders state that "dogs and livestock" may not be kept on an aerodrome "except by the consent of the commanding officer" there are usually plenty of pets about, which indicates that C.O.s have a soft spot for animals too. The Group Captain commanding one bomber station, for example, has a tiny terrier which always accompanies him and stands quietly beside his master on the edge of the flying field at every take-off. Probably no dog has seen more aircraft taking off for Germany than this one. Even the roar of the biggest four-engined bombers does not scare him.
A Canadian bomber squadron has a huge Irish wolfhound as its mascot. It belongs to a pilot officer from Montreal. When he goes out on an attack another officer takes charge of the wolfhound. which watches the Wellington bomber, with his master in the cockpit, soaring into the sky. When he returns it welcomes him with barks that can be heard above the racket of the engines.
In great contrast, on the same station, is a diminutive mongrel by the name of "Scruffy", which has become the pet of the officers' mess. The wolfhound will not condescend to notice the little dog as it yaps around his long legs. Scruffy does not like aircraft; he stays around the mess.


DAILY RECORD - Wednesday 16 June 1943


The wolfhound mascot of a Scottish regiment gave a smart "eyes right" as it reached the saluting base at a recent march-past, and the brasshats of the "platform party" are now saying freely that, since meeting the gaze of those big, soft, limpid, dewy, soulful doggy eyes they are feeling better men, by gad.

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