The Irish Wolfhound – Some Basic Information

The Irish Wolfhound - Some Basic Information


The Irish Wolfhound – Some Basic Information

Congratulations on your new Irish Wolfhound! To help you enjoy your Irish Wolfhound and to promote the well-being of the breed, the Irish Wolfhound Club of America would like to provide you with some basic information.



The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed of the greyhound family. He was used to hunt wolves and elk and to accompany Irish nobles to war. The instincts originally developed for the chase are still very much a part of the modern hounds.

Therefore, for their own protection and to maintain good relations with your neighbors, it is important that they not be allowed to roam freely. A conventional wood or wire fenced yard is essential. Breeders should insist on it. If you don’t have a fence, you’ll need to be with your puppy every time he goes outside. This can be difficult in a busy household. Puppies can be very destructive when confined tothe house, which argues even more strongly for a fenced area.



Besides adequate exercise, your Irish Wolfhound will need professional veterinary care, vaccinations, good quality food, and basic training and socializing. The growth patterns, nutritional needs, and treatment for health problems are not the same for a giant breed as for small dogs. Reputable and conscientious breeders are committed to their puppies for life, and should be willing to help you with advice and support for any problems or questions you may have.

If for some reason you lose touch with your Irish Wolfhound’s breeder, or you simply want to find others near you who share your interest in Irish Wolfhounds, the IWCA can provide you with names of knowledgeable owners in your part of the country. Educational materials are available through the club and in book stores. Some of the better resource materials are listed on the back of this brochure. The club magazine, Harp and Hound, is available through membership in the club.



The decision to breed your Irish Wolfhound should not be taken lightly. You should not even consider producing a litter of puppies unless you are prepared to devote the time, energy, and funds to give them a good start in life and to keep every puppy until a suitable home can be found. The expense of producing and raising a litter can be quite large, and proper homes for Irish Wolfhounds are not always easy to find. Neutering your Irish Wolfhound is a simple and relatively safe alternative that has many health benefits as well.

If you decide to take on the commitment of breeding your Irish Wolfhound, the IWCA urges you to proceed responsibly. Like every AKC-registered breed, Irish Wolfhounds have an approved standard that describes a model of how the ideal Irish Wolfhound should look, move, and behave. Responsible breeders strive to produce hounds which conform to this standard. They will not breed animals with serious deviations from it, and certainly not breed any Irish Wolfhounds with serious health problems or known genetic defects. They carefully screen potential homes, help educate new owners, and bear lifelong responsibility for the puppies they produce.

If for any reason the owners cannot keep the puppy, responsible breeders either take the puppy back or provide help in locating a new and suitable home, regardless of the age of the hound.

Unfortunately, these ideals are not always adhered to. The IWCA has an active network of rescue coordinators who help to place Irish Wolfhounds needing a new home and rescue abandoned or abused dogs.



Irish Wolfhounds are eligible to participate in a wide variety of AKC-sanctioned activities. Conformation showing is open only to non-neutered dogs (except the veteran’s class at independent specialties) and measures how closely an IW conforms to the official AKC breed standard. Neutered dogs can participate in obedience competitions, lure coursing, tracking, rally, agility, and junior showmanship (for youngsters between the ages of 10 and 18). Canine Good Citizen is another activity you and your dog can participate in to demonstrate your dog’s good behavior.

Not all hounds do well in every one of these events, but if you can find one that both you and the dog enjoy, it can provide you with many hours of rewarding companionship. Of course, even though many Irish Wolfhounds don’t excel at the precision exercises necessary for obedience competition, you’ll need to teach your hound manners and enough obedience commands to make him or her a comfortable companion and good citizen.

The information provided here is the property of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America and is printed with permission from the parent club.



Copies of the breed standard and other informational materials, breed contacts, membership applications, and rescue assistance and information may all be obtained from The Irish Wolfhound Club of America. Visit the website at:

Harp and Hound, semi-annual publication of the IWCA, available through membership only.

The New Complete Irish Wolfhound, by Joel Samaha, at bookstores and from Howell Book Company.

Playtraining Your Dog, by Patricia Gail Burnham, at bookstores and from St. Martin’s Press.

What All Good Dogs Should Know, by Volhard & Bartlett, at bookstores and from Howell Book Company.

The Magnificent Irish Wolfhound, by Mary McBryde.

The Irish Wolfhound Guide, by Alfred De Quoy

A more comprehensive list may be found on the IWCA web site.

Copyright 2014, The Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc.
Reproduction is limited to non-commercial use.



  • The Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Inc. is the AKC parent club for Irish Wolfhounds, serving as guardian of this magnificent breed. The club is responsible for determining the official breed standard and encouraging the acceptance of that standard by its members, breeders and judges.

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