Keeping an Irish Wolfhound

So now you have got your wolfhound, either as a baby puppy or as an older puppy or adult from a breeder or Rescue and you want to have many happy years together. I find it rather sad that it appears to be accepted nowadays that a wolfhound is old at five and is lucky to live beyond six or seven. At five a wolfhound is just about fully mature and they should live to double figures.

To achieve this, feed a healthy diet suited to the dog, and give some supplementation (click for more details); avoid chemicals such as flea treatments, flea collars, insect killing strips and sprays, insecticidal shampoos, etc. (click for details on natural flea treatments); avoid annual vaccination boosters (click for details on vaccination); and give sensible exercise and preferably free running every day (click for more details). Natural light is so important for health, so exercise has another benefit besides the exercise itself - being out in natural daylight. (click for more details on the importance of light)

Give your dogs basic training so that they will at least come when called, sit and lie down, walk to heel or at least walk on a lead without pulling, wait at doors and gates, as well as at kerb sides if you walk them along roads, and will allow themselves to be examined all over, rolled over and their feet lifted and examined, and their mouths and teeth inspected. (see page on training). Start this when they are babies if possible, because it is so much easier to do with a small puppy than with a 150+ pound adult. This sort of basic training not only helps you when taking them out for walks, visiting, or to the vets, but also makes it safer for the dogs. See the pages on Care of the Irish wolfhound and Getting an Irish wolfhound for more details on training.


If you do walk your hound in public, you are going to need to get used to the comments that will be passed on your pride and joy. Comments such as "Where's its saddle?". The following describes it rather well:

When you go out with a wolfhound
The people all stand in your way
Asking the usual questions
These are the things they all say.

Will you look at that pony,
Look at the size of his feet;
What have you done with his saddle?
Tell me how much does he eat?

Why do you have a dog this size?
He's the biggest that I've ever met.
It must cost a fortune to feed him
Who would want that as a pet?

Do you keep him outside or inside?
Does he get to sleep on your bed?
What size was he as a puppy?
My dog is the size of his head.

So what do you say for an answer?
I tell them, as sweet as I can:
He's better behaved than your children -
And cheaper to keep than your man!!!
by Frances Smith-King


If you would like to meet up with other wolfhound owners, then perhaps consider spending a day at a Wolfhound Rally. These are held each year by both the Irish Wolfhound Club and the Irish Wolfhound Society and are fun days out for owners and dogs. See the websites of the Club and Society for details.

Or there are many shows throughout a large part of the year that have classes for Irish wolfhounds. The biggest shows are Championship Shows and smaller shows are Open Shows. Both the Club and Society hold a Championship Show and an Open Show each year. Details can be found on their websites. These are in the U.K., but there are breed clubs in many countries holding breed shows and other events, and links to the websites of many of them can be found here.

There is also lure coursing for a somewhat more rugged day out. Many hounds really love coursing and it can be fun for owners too. See the Links page for websites.

If you want to keep up with other wolfhound owners online, there are several Irish wolfhound mailing lists. To see details of these lists with links to join (on the Irish Wolfhound Internet Trust website) click here. And now, of course, there is also

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Updated 12/12/2011