Gentle and kind, Irish Wolfhounds are those dogs who always crave for human companionship. Even though they can run ridiculously fast, they do most of their house activities in slow motion and generally show a laid-back attitude.
The Irish Wolfhound served as a war dog, pulling enemies from horses or cars, and came close to extinction in the 19th century, due to extensive cross breeding. Disappeared widely in Ireland, thankfully the breed has been revived and today it is a wonderful companion that attracts the admiration of many. Irish Wolfhound is known for its famous dishevelled eyebrows, that gives them a noble outlook. They are also one of the tallest dog breeds in the world right now. Even though Irish Wolfhound's ancestors were ferocious in nature, these dogs have a gentle attitude that makes them one of the ideal companion dogs today.
The Irish Wolfhound's coat is rough and hard, with the exception of the face hair which is stiff and long, the colors vary between white, red, grey, brindle, brown and black. Even though they have a long coat, they can be groomed pretty easily. Brushing once a week keeps the coat healthy. Bathing can be kept less frequent, even twice a year is enough. Periodically, remove the excess hair that usually accumulates in the ears. Theirs ears should be inspected weekly for redness and bad odour as both of these are signs of an infection. Regarding brushing, using a soft brush or a dog comb would be enough to clean their hair. You may have to use a large bristle brush if your Irish Wolfhound is experiencing the problem of matting and tangling of hair. Even though they do shed, they don't blow their coat unlike many double coated giant dog breed.
Like all giant breed dogs, Irish Wolfhounds too need a diet consisting of biologically protein, healthy fats, ground bones and vegetables. This nutrition is essential to ensure optimal health and performance in Irish Wolfhounds and to also to maintain a robust immunity. When it comes to puppies, they can be fed several daily meals as they can chew down and consume large amounts of food. Make sure you never overfeed Wolfhound Puppies, especially in one large serving. Adult Wolfhounds tend to "self regulate" and hence can be fed multiple times per day. You should remember that Wolfhounds are those dogs who will eat only when they require and hence you should never overfeed them. Feeding them above their limits can quickly make them obese leading into several health issues. As Irish Wolfhounds move into their seniorhood, you should reduce their calorie intake as they won't be indulging in too much exercise.
Irish Wolfhound is a large rough coated and wiry breed who needs a fair commitment when it comes to their grooming. They have thick hair around the eyes and have a bushy hair brow as well. Regarding shedding, Irish Wolfhounds shed throughout the year and hence need regular brushing and bathing to reduce the hair fall. As for brushing, you need to brush this breed weekly with a firm slicker brush to keep their coat healthy. This brush tremendously helps in removing dead hair and to eliminate matting and tangling of the hair as well. You may also trim the long hairs on their face, tail and legs when the scissors as required. As for bathing, you can bathe Irish Wolfhounds once, every 6 to 8 weeks. But remember to comb them each and every time you bathe them as it will prevent matting of the hair. Also, use some high quality shampoos and conditioners for keeping their hair healthy and shiny.
Because of its large size, it is common for people to think that it is a dog that should live in the backyard, but this is a mistake. It is a domestic dog that loves to be surrounded by people and to go to the yard when it feels like running and playing. Also, when opening the yard for play, wait an hour before and two hours after meals to reduce the risk of digestive problems. As it is a hunting dog, their space needs to be fenced so that it does not run away after prey.
The ancestry of Irish Wolfhounds traces back to the year 700 BC. They were used as a hunting dog by the Romans and were worthy of respect as they fought alongside the warriors. He was also used as a working dog, where his job was to pull men down from the horses and chariots. Another task they did was they were guarding their homes and livestock against all kinds of external threats. Unlike the modern Irish Wolfhounds, their ancestors were proper guard dogs who would charge on to intruders without any second thought. As of today, Irish Wolfhounds have developed a highly affectionate behaviour, a trait that makes them one of the best family dogs around today.