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The Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound was mentioned in Roman records as far back as 391 A.D., when the first authentic mention of the breed was made by the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius. He wrote in a letter to his brother Flavianus, "In order to win the favor of the Roman people for our Quaestor you have been a generous and diligent provider of novel contributions to our solemn shows and games, as is proved by your gift of seven Irish dogs. All Rome viewed them with wonder, and fancied they must have been brought hither in iron cages. For such a gift I tender you the greatest possible thanks."

A Wolfhound is believed to have accompanied Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage.

The IW is a sighthound, one of the breeds of dogs that hunt primarily by sight and not scent. The tallest of all dogs, he is rough-coated and of greyhound-like shape, strong and gracefully built.

He is a sensitive, intelligent and loving companion with a heart even bigger than his body.

IW lifespan is similar to that of other giant breeds - about 6-10 years. They require daily and prudent exercise and must never be allowed to run at large. The breed has special nutritional needs, especially as puppies. Easily trained, the IW responds best to positive training methods, not coercion. Read an excellent article on Wolfhounds and training under "Obedience! The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", on the Irish Wolfhound Club of America website.

The Irish Wolfhound is not a breed for everyone. All dogs are a responsibility; a dog as large as the Irish Wolfhound is an extra-large responsibility!

If you are considering an Irish Wolfhound for your family, take the time to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the breed - it's characteristics, requirements, and potential drawbacks. Go to dog shows and talk to the exhibitors. Make arrangements to visit as many owners and breeders as possible. Ask questions, and be prepared to be asked many questions in return - a responsible breeder will ask many personal questions because he/she cares about the welfare of each puppy placed. The unethical breeder is only concerned until the check clears. What is expected of a responsible breeder? And what constitutes a responsible owner? Check out Finding A Puppy - What Is A Responsible Breeder?

Also visit the Irish Wolfhound Club of America's website and read the "Standard of Ethical Conduct". You can also find a list of breed information contacts and regional IW clubs in your area along with much more information on the IWCA website. 


Some Other Places to Visit:

Desert Irish Wolfhound Association - contact 
Audrey Rajec
, phone: 602-246-4751
Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association
Irish Wolfhound Association of the Delaware Valley 

Irish Wolfhound Association of the Garden State

Irish Wolfhound Association of the Greater Smokey Mountains

Irish Wolfhound Association of New England 

Irish Wolfhound Association of the Mid South 

Irish Wolfhound Association of the West Coast 

Irish Wolfhound Club of Puget Sound

Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club  

Potomac Valley Irish Wolfhound Club 

Rocky Mountain Irish Wolfhound Association

Two Rivers Irish Wolfhound Association (TRIWA) - contacts: 
A I Gottsch, Chairperson (712-548-4442)
Frankie Stoffer, Secretary (319-545-2327)


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Karen Pryor