Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

29 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Irish Wolfhounds: what are they?

  • Irish Wolfhounds are majestic and gentle giants that have a rich history in Ireland.
  • They are one of the tallest dog breeds in the world and have a noble appearance.
  • Irish Wolfhounds have a fascinating history and were once prized by Irish nobility for their hunting skills. They were often used to hunt wolves, hence their name.
  • They are known for their kind and calm nature.
  • On average, males can reach a height of 81-86 cm, while females are slightly smaller at 71-76 cm.
  • In terms of weight, they can range from 48 to 54 kg for males and 41 to 49 kg for females.
  • The average life expectancy of an Irish Wolfhound is 7 to 9.
Irish Wolfhound  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Irish Wolfhounds like?

  • Irish Wolfhounds have a gentle and affectionate temperament.
  • They are known for their friendly and patient nature, making them great companions and family dogs.
  • They are generally good with children and get along well with other animals, including dogs and cats.
  • Due to their large size, early socialisation is important to ensure they are well-behaved and comfortable in various social situations.
  • They are not typically overly protective, but their sheer size can be intimidating to strangers.
  • Despite their calm demeanour, they can still be alert and willful when necessary.
  • Irish Wolfhounds thrive on human companionship and should not be left alone for long periods of time.
Boon, the Irish Wolfhound
Boon, the Irish Wolfhound

How much exercise do Irish Wolfhounds need?

  • Irish Wolfhounds are a giant breed with moderate exercise needs.
  • On average, Irish Wolfhounds need around 1 to 1.5 hours of exercise per day. This can include walks, gentle jogs, and free play in a securely fenced area.
  • However, it's important to avoid excessive exercise, especially during their growth stages, as it can put strain on their developing bones and joints.
  • Young Irish Wolfhound puppies should have controlled exercise and play to prevent potential health issues.
  • They can gradually increase their exercise levels as they mature.
  • They should not be on adult exercise levels until 18 to 24 months.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise needs of your pooch.
Brook the Irish Wolfhound

Do Irish Wolfhounds need a lot of grooming?

  • Irish Wolfhounds have a wiry and dense coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition.
  • Despite their long hair, their coat is relatively easy to maintain. They are considered a low-shedding breed.
  • Weekly brushing is usually sufficient to remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to keep their coat tidy.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Merlin, the Irish Wolfhound
Merlin, the Irish Wolfhound

Are Irish Wolfhounds easy to train?

  • Irish Wolfhounds are generally intelligent and willing to please, which can make them trainable.
  • However, they can also have an independent streak and may not be as eager to obey commands as some other breeds.
  • Early socialisation and consistent, positive reinforcement training methods are key to their success.
  • They respond well to rewards-based training, including treats, praise, and play.
  • Patience and consistency are essential when training an Irish Wolfhound.
  • It's also recommended to start their training at a young age to establish good behaviours and manners.
Nimrod, the Irish Wolfhound
Nimrod, the Irish Wolfhound

What do Irish Wolfhounds eat?

  • A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for the health and well-being of Irish Wolfhounds.
  • As puppies, they require a specific diet formulated for their growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until 6 months old, when this should be reduced to twice daily.
  • Consult with your vet to determine the appropriate feeding schedule, portion sizes, and specific dietary needs for your Irish Wolfhound puppy.
  • As they transition into adulthood, at around 18 months, Irish Wolfhounds should be gradually introduced to a high-quality adult dog food that is suitable for their size, age, and activity level.

Are Irish Wolfhounds healthy?

Irish Wolfhounds are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. It's important to be aware of these potential concerns and to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor their health. Some health issues that can occur in Irish Wolfhounds include:


  • Osteosarcoma - Greyhounds have a higher risk of developing bone cancer compared to other breeds.


  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - this is when the retina of the eye breaks down, leading to blindness

Gastrointestinal -

  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure


  • Porto-systemic shunt (PSS) - when the blood circulation bypasses the normal cleaning processes of the liver resulting in signs like stunted growth and abnormal behaviours

This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Irish Wolfhound or if you want to discuss further if an Irish Wolfhound is the right breed for you, consult with your veterinarian.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Irish Wolfhounds

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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