Irish Wolfhound History

People Involved in the breed's resuscitation

Besides Captain Graham there were a number of other people who worked towards the recovery of the Irish wolfhound, and their numbers increased as more became known about the breed and the efforts being made to restore it.

Colonel Garnier had helped Captain Graham in the compilation of what was to become the Breed Standard, then known as the Standard of Points of the Irish Wolfdog, which had been accepted in 1886. He had bred some wolfhounds, and had used the Great Dane, Cedric the Saxon on his mainly Deerhound bitch, Lufra, out of which litter came Scythian, Hecla, and Lufra of Ivanhoe, all of which had a marked effect on the breed.


Captain Graham used Scythian, despite his professed distaste for the Great Dane, on his Deerhound bitch, Spencer, which produced Garryowen (sire of Cheevra, Lady Kathleen and Lady Urith, and Hilda [dam of Bran II]) and Gara (sire of Brian II and Roseen Ruaidh [dam of Wolfe Witch and Williams' Finn, who was sire of Felixstowe Dromore and Wickham Lavengro]). Col. Garnier was posted abroad, so his involvement with the breed was not over a very long period.

Mr. M.K. Angelo, who had homes in Brighton and in Scotland, started in the breed in 1890. He lent his Deerhound bitch, Norah, to Col. Garnier and she was mated to Scythian (by the Gt. Dane Cedric the Saxon). Out of the litter Angelo took Fionn II and his litter brother Gelert. He had his first litter in 1891 out of Norah, by Garryowen, which produced Hilda (mentioned above, dam of Bran II) and the Revd. Hannay's Sheelah. In June, 1892 he bred a litter by the Tibetan, Wolf, out of Lindsay's Tara, in which were Vandal and Nookoo, two bitches from which all modern wolfhounds are descended.


In October, 1892 he had a litter by the Borzoi Korotai (which had been imported from Russia) out of Hilda, which produced Goth II (sire of Brian (Wild Boy), Graham's Ch. Erin, Richardson's Knight of Kerry and Bolton's Nell). In June, 1893 Hilda had a litter by Balor (by the Great Dane Earl of Warwick) which produced Bran II. In the same month Norah had a litter by Gara, which contained Oscar (or Auster). In February, 1894 Hilda produced a second litter to Korotai, which produced Daisy (dam of Graham's Ch. Erin).

In March, 1896, Angelo bred a litter from the Revd. Hannay's Sheelah, to Goth II, which produced Boris and Arric in a litter of fourteen. April 1896, Vandal had a litter by Bran II, which included Capt. Richardson's Earl of Antrim. In April 1897 the Goth II/Sheelah mating was repeated, from which litter came Capt. Richardson's Knight of Kerry and Bolton's Nell (later becoming Steyning Nell). Angelo used his hounds to course stags and find wounded deer in Scotland. Although Angelo bred another couple of litters, he did not produce anything more of note. However, he had brought in the three outcrosses and bred hounds that were to continue their lines to the present day.

Mr. Thomas Bolton, MRCVS was a vet in Steyning, West Sussex who was quite closely linked with Mr. Angelo in Brighton only a few miles away. It's difficult to tell when he actually started in the breed as the Kennel Club records in those days were inaccurate and scrappy. It does seem that, as with so many of the early Irish wolfhound people, he was first a Deerhound owner. The first wolfhound actually registered to him (in June 1898) is Steyning Nell, bred by Angelo by Goth II out of Sheelah, as mentioned above, but in December, 1896 a bitch called Ballymena is registered as having previously belonged to Mr. Bolton. She was by Goth II out of Brenda and born in March, 1896. Perhaps Bolton's first hound was Brenda but there is no Brenda registered to him nor are there any details about her parentage or even what breed she was.

There is also something of a puzzle about Vandal, the littersister of Nookoo from the Tibetan, Wolf, to Lindsay's Tara's litter born in 1892 and mentioned earlier. Vandal was first registered in November, 1896 by Miss I. Napier as having previously belonged to Mr. Angelo (her breeder - see above) but she was not registered to Angelo, although she was listed as belonging to him in 1895 and up to April, 1896 when hounds from her litters were registered. However, in May, 1896 she is listed as belonging to Miss Napier, several months prior to being registered by her. In May, 1897 Vandal was again registered, this time by Mrs. J. Napier, and in April, 1898 she is listed in a registration for a puppy out of her as being owned by Mr. Bolton, but there is no official transfer of registration.

T. Bolton with Steyning Nell
Mr. Bolton outside his surgery with Vandal (lying down)
and Steyning Nell (standing)

Whilst with the Boltons, Vandal had a litter on April 30, 1898, by Angelo's Bran II, from which came Mrs. Bolton's Doris, Major and Mrs. E.H. Richardson's Maid of Athlone, and Mr. Mares's Justin. Steyning Nell had a litter by Bran II on May 24, 1899 and Vandal had a litter by Angelo's Oscar on June 1, 1899, and this breeding was repeated with a litter born in October, 1900, when Vandal was 8½. Steyning Nell had a litter by Mr. Green's Wolf II on February 1,1902, from which Mr. Bolton kept Steyning Doris and Steyning Mickey (later transferred to another owner), and this breeding was repeated with the litter being born November 1st, 1902, and again the following year with the litter being born Aug. 7, 1903, and yet again the following year with the litter being born April 19, 1904.

Nothing was then seen of Mr. Bolton until April, 1926 when the transfer of Broadbridge Brenda was registered to him. She was first registered by Mrs. I.H. Whalley; s Patrick of Ifold, d Angelina of Ifold; bred by Mr. R.M. Scott (Ifold) and born June 21, 1925. Brenda had a litter on February 13th, 1927, by Cromac, from which I.W. Everett took a bitch puppy, Felixstowe Kilfree, and a dog puppy, Felixstowe Kilsheelan, and Mr. Bolton kept two bitches, Steyning Norah and Steyning Sheilah. Brenda had another litter on August 20th, 1928, by Fergus of Ouborough, from which was kept Steyning Doris.

On August 15, 1929 Steyning Sheilah had a litter by Chulainn Connacht, from which was kept Steyning Coleen. On March 1st, 1930 Steyning Norah had a litter by Slane of Ouborough, from which came Steyning Sorrel, and on September 2nd, 1930 Broadbridge Brenda had another litter, this time to Chulainn Copper, from which came Steyning Dianah. Steyning Norah had another litter by Slane of Ouborough on March 1st, 1931, from which came Steyning Lisa, and Mr. Bolton loaned Steyning Coleen for breeding to Miss F.E. Abbott from January 25, to August 1, 1932. Coleen was then transferred to Lieut.-Com. E. Hauffman.

 Thos. Bolton with Steyning Colleen
 Thos. Bolton at a show with Steyning Colleen

Steyning Lisa had a litter by Ch. Rippingdon Dan of Southwick on March 16th, 1935 and this appears to have been the end of the Steyning hounds, as Thos. Bolton was no longer listed as a member in the Irish Wolfhound Club Year Book for 1935-6-7.

Miss M.S. Kearns, who was later to be a Committee member and Secretary of the Irish Wolfhound Club, started her Southwick kennel with hounds from Mr. Bolton, and took over most of that final litter out of Steyning Lisa.

In his Retrospect of the Breed printed in the Club Year Book for 1929-30-31, Isaac Everett writes "Mr. Bolton was (and still is) a real 'stayer' and I believe bred, among others, a very noted bitch named Cheevra, whose name can be seen to-day in some of the old pedigrees. She was very prolific and gave us some good ones." However, Mr. Everett had got it wrong as Cheevra was bred by Miss Aitchison.

Mr. George E. Crisp, of Ipswich, started in the breed in about 1886, buying a male, Corrib (Bhoroo/Hecla), from Col. Garnier and a bitch, Iona, (from the Scythian/Spencer litter) from Capt. Graham, and was the second owner of Ch. Sheelah (bred and first owned by Graham). It was from Sheelah, mated to Dhulart, that Mr. Crisp had his first litter in September, 1888. There were two crippled bitches in this litter but also a dog, Myshall, black and tan. In March, 1889 he bred a litter by a Great Dane, Leon, out of a Deerhound, Fly II, in which was Zarah, dam of Brian II. Iona was mated to Myshall and in September, 1891 produced Navan.


In July, 1892 this Myshall/Iona mating was repeated, producing Kincaid and Princess Oona. Capt. Graham said of Kincaid, "Dark grey brindle. Very long head. Too slight in limb, poor ears, short tail, near hind leg twisted." and of Princess Oona, "Short made. Very little coat. Brindle. Short tail, poor ears, long head."

 Kincaid  Princess Oona
 Kincaid  Princess Oona

In 1893 Crisp bought in a bitch, Zota, from T. Lambert of Hull. Zota was by Myshall out of Nell (by Fionn II out of Jess, a Scythian daughter). In June, 1894 Crisp bought in Roseen Ruaidh from R.B. Townshend of Oxford. She was by Gara out of Dark Rosaleen (Dhulart/Lufra of Ivanhoe). Graham said of Roseen "Red brindle. Fair coat. Excellent bitch. Massive head, a trifle short, good tail. (Fawn brindle, good hard coat. Head long, ears half erect, heavily bearded; girth, 32-ins.; 104-lbs. at one year)".

In 1895 there was another litter from both Iona (to Kincaid) and Zarah (to Myshall) but without producing anything worth while. Two of the Kincaid/Iona litter went to Russia in December, 1896. In March, 1896 Princess Oona, mated to Bran II, produced Mona (which became Ch. Pomona and possibly went to Russia) and the famous O'Leary, which also became a champion. In the same month, Zarah had another litter to Navan, which produced Kenmare (the sire of Felixstowe Esperance).

George Crisp held the Graham Shield (for BoB at the Irish Wolfhound Club show) longer than anyone else on record.

 Mona (Pomona) O'Leary 
 Ch. Mona (Pomona)  Ch. O'Leary

Pomona had a litter by Goth II in April, 1898, which produced nothing of note, and the same was true of the litter by Bran II out of Roseen Ruaidh in March, 1899. Later that year Roseen was mated to O'Leary and produced Kilcullen, a fawn brindle which later was owned by O'Mahony, was the sire of Isaac Everett's Felixstowe Yirra (black and tan) and was stuffed and displayed in Dublin Museum. [In Graham's Pedigreesit says that Kilcullen was "Litter brother to No. 413" but it should have read to "418".] This is the last litter bred by Crisp of which I can find details. A Mr. and Mrs. H.L.Crisp owned the Hindhead kennels which was producing hounds in the early 20th century, but I have no information as to whether they were related to G.E. Crisp.

R.B. Townshend of Oxford bought the bitch Lufra of Ivanhoe from Col. Garnier. Lufra was born April 28th, 1885 and was by the Great Dane Cedric the Saxon out of Lufra, of Deerhound breeding. She was the litter sister of Garnier's Scythian. Capt. Graham said of her "Brindle. Hard coat. Very ugly and loutish. Bad ears." She had a litter by Graham's Brian (Swaran II ex Clutha) in September 1886, which produced Raheen (great grand dam of Brian (Wild Boy) and dam of Cheevra) and the Earl of Caledon's Colleen (dam of Hakon). Lufra had a litter in September 1888 by the Deerhound, Jock, which produced only two pups (the drawing of Lufra in Graham's Pedigrees shows her with two pups). Another litter in May 1889 was by Angus (Bhoroo ex Gillian, who was from a brother/sister mating), and again produced only two pups, one of which was Beynon's Cruiskeen, dam of Allen's Lady Kathleen and Nell's Lady Urith. On February 15th, 1890, Lufra again produced a litter, this time to Dhulart, which contained Dark Rosaleen.

 Dark Rosaleen
 Dark Rosaleen

Dark Rosaleen had a litter in June, 1894 by Gara, which produced Crisp's Roseen Ruaidh and the Rev. L. Curtis's Brian Boru II. Roseen had a litter by Bran II on March 24th, 1899, which produced Crisp's Finona and Williams's Finn, sire of Wickham Lavengro and Felixstowe Dromore. This appears to have been the last litter bred by Townshend.

Mrs. Gerard of Malpas (Kennel name KIDNAL) bought Cheevra from Miss Aitchison. Cheevra was born on June 29th, 1892, by Garryowen ex Raheen. She was very Daney and almost smooth coated but proved an excellent brood bitch, producing 74 puppies.


She had a litter on 14th May, 1894 by Keltair, and another to the same dog on July 31st, 1895 which produced Lt. Messiter's Esca. A third litter to Keltair was born in April (or July), 1896, which produced Wanda. On January 31st, 1897, Cheevra had a litter by Williams's Ch. Dermot Astore, which produced Ch. Sportella, Major Shewell's Princess Patricia of Connaught, and Arthur's Marquis of Donegal. In October 1899 Cheevra had a litter by Brian II, which produced Sheila of Kidnal and Wanda of Kidnal, and on May 24th, 1900 a litter by O'Leary which contained Rajah of Kidnal (later to be given by the Irish Wolfhound Club as the first mascot for the newly formed Irish Guards, at which his name was changed to Brian Boru), Lupus of Kidnal and Ranee of Kidnal. August 22nd, 1902 Cheevra had a litter by Wolfe Tone.

 Sheila of Kidnal  Wanda of Kidnal
 Sheila of Kidnal  Wanda of Kidnal

On February 3rd, 1898 Wanda (the Keltair/Cheevra Wanda) had a litter by Brian II. January 23rd, 1902, Sheila of Kidnal had a litter by Ch. O'Leary. March 27th, 1902 Wanda of Kidnal had a litter by Thady O'Flynn (O'Leary/Lufra). For more on the hounds of Kidnal, click here.

Major Percy Shewell of Cheltenham bought Princess Patricia of Connaught from Mrs. Gerard. She was by Dermot Astore out of Cheevra and born January, 1897. He also bought Tara from Mr. Crisp. She was by O'Leary out of Roseen and was born February, 1900. Another purchase, from F. Howard, was Iris, born June 24th, 1901 by Marquis of Donegal ex Nuala (Dysart/Nookoo, bred by Graham), and, from Williams, Artara Astore, born March 30th, 1903 by Dermot Astore ex Artara. She was registered in America in 1908.

For more on the Cotswold Kennel, click here.

Mrs. H. Compton of Brasted Chart started with Wolfe Witch, bred by Crisp on February 14th, 1900, by O'Leary ex Roseen, and with Allen's Colleen, born April 29th, 1898 (by Earl of Antrim ex Lady Kathleen), whose name was then changed to Wolfe Colleen. Colleen was mated to Wargrave to produce Wolfe Tone, later to be owned by Major Shewell.

 Wolfe Tone
 Wolfe Tone

Wolfe Witch mated to Dermot Astore produced, on July 26th, 1901, Wolfe Watch, to be owned by Miss McEchrane (kennel name Adel), and to become dam of Adel Colleen by Ch. Gareth, Adel Dennis by Wolfe Tone, and Cotswold Watch and St. Brendan by Ch. Cotswold.

Mr. I.W. Everett of Felixstowe bought from Crisp a bitch, Felixstowe Mavourneen, which was a littersister to Crisp's Kenmare (by Navan ex Zarah III), born March 7th, 1896. For more detail on the Felixstowe hounds, click here.

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Updated 8/29/2015