... and so you really want an Irish
Think twice before you bring home an
Irish Wolfhound. He is the King among dogs and will rule your life for the time
coming. Everything will change or will have to adjust, be it your car or your
house. Holidays can be a problem, youíll need to find a Kennel specialised for
I.Wís or friends, preferably also Wolfhound owners, to keep him during your holidays.
But the easiest way is to adjust your holidays and take him
If your living
quarters are filled with breakable trinkets
and not so stable, even antique valuables, an Irish Wolfhound can
cause catastrophes. A fruit bowl or other delicacies cannot be left on a table,
as for an Irish Wolfhound having set his mind on self service, nothing is sacred
He is a friendly and tolerant dog,
gentle by nature, but donít let him deceive you by his ĄGentle Giantď image. A
young puppy can have itís distinct personality and be very boisterous. His
friendly wagging tail can mean
hurting blows and cause bruises for adults and children. Specially with small
children one has to be careful, so quickly they can be overrun and hurt, even
the puppy meant no harm. But fortunately puppies soon learn to be careful of
smaller beings, whether they have 2 or 4 legs.
Irish Wolfhounds are very sociable
dogs, they want to live with the family in the house, not locked away in a
kennel. The sad howling of a lonely dog could make you unpopular with the
surrounding neighbours. In the same way as he loves humans, he also loves
contact with other dogs.
He is not a watchdog, but will alert
you if somethingís not the usual way. A Wolfhound is a born hunter, he was bred
for the chase of wolves and big prey. His size could lead to think to use him as
watchdog and have him patrol a farm or a company yard. This would be
contraproductive and ridiculous, because a lonely and bored Hound would welcome
any burglar as a friend to
If you still think this will be your
dog, youíll find the addresses of breeder in Dogís Magazines or at the breed
clubs/Kennel Clubs. A breeder will gladly show you his dogs or puppies by
appointment. He will ask you a lot of questions, he will want to know if his
ďkidsĒ come into a good home.
Prepare his bedding before you bring him home the first
time.The ideal would be a mattress, single or children size, in a
quiet corner of your living quarters, not beside a radiator, but off draught.
The mattress can be covered with plastic or a waterproof protection sheet (as
used in childrenís beds) to stay clean, on top of this one of these
towel cloth sheets or a Vetbed mat. The main thing is that it can be
The puppy needs a place, that
belongs to him alone, whereto he can retire and sleep undisturbed.
A soft bedding is indispensable. As
he grows and puts on weight, his elbows must be protected to avoid a bursite,
which take up to 6 months to heal and are not nice to look
The breeder will probably give you a
feeding plan, to which you should pay attention, as in the first months a
balanced diet is very important
to make his bones strong enough to reach the final size gradually, but not to
quickly. This final size will be reached at about 2 Ĺ yrs for a bitch and 3 yrs
for a male
Meals and Care
Adult dogs should be fed
twice a day, never give just one huge meal! One hour before and after
meals the dog should be kept quiet, no playing and running in this time.
This is one of the measures to avoid
a bloat or gastric torsion, that can be lethal and is always a danger in large
breeds. The full, heavy stomach, like a sack hanging by two ends, is turning
around itself, blocks the two ends and bloats like a balloon through the gas.
The result if not treated within minutes, is death by shock and heart
Wolfhounds put on weight quickly, a
bit of regulation is necessary, older dog better get several, but smaller meals
per day, to avoid that overweight is to demanding on their
Wolfhounds are drinking a lot,
therefore they should always have a bowl of fresh clean water at their
disposition. The bowl, particularly when it stands outside, should be thoroughly
cleaned each morning because by dirty ev. contaminated water an expected
infection can occur. Water and food should be presented at a comfortable height
for the dogs (min. 50 cm), so they can swallow food and water with the gravity,
not against it. Also they can stand upright, which is easier on shoulder and
Make it your intention to brush your
dog daily, if your lucky youíll do it 2-3 times a week. Regular care of his coat
helps to see smaller injuries or ticks, which can be hidden in the thick coat.
Also teeth, ears, claws and anal glands should be checked
Fleas, ticks and other unpleasant
visitors can occur even in a clean household. Do something against it! Your
veterinary can advise you, there are meds and sprays, which can give you and
your dog peace for several months. Flea eggs can survive under worst conditions
up to 2 yrs, thatís why the dogs bedding should be washable.
For a show Irish Wolfhounds are
trimmed with thumb and index finger, but a special trimming instrument will also
do good services. if you donít show, your dog looks good this way and shows his
elegant lines. If he is dirty or smells you can rub him with a wet terry towel
(with a few drops of bath oil or
sim.). Nobody visiting you should ďsmellĒ the dog.
An adult hound will take some hours
of your day, he needs his walks and runs (donít forget, he is a sighthound!) to
stay fit. A puppy needs a lot of rest and sleep during its growing time.
His activities and walks should grow
longer very gradually and regularly. Each day around the block and a 10 Miles
walk on Sunday are an absolute No.
Training is important, it should
start the moment the pup comes home. You
will have to show him, that you will always be bigger and stronger(Alphadog),
even later on this of course is untrue, but heíll still believe
Donít show him to greet you standing
up on his hind legs, he will later weigh about 50-75 kg, and youíll need a very
good accident or third party insurance to cover any results of
All training should be in a gentle
but firm way.
An Irish Wolfhound must learn to
walk on a lead without pulling, for his and your safety.
Think of visiting an obedience
course with him. The word he must learn is NO. But donít expect to much of
he is a born hunter, not a working
dog. The following things you can and must ask him to do, to protect you and
himself of danger, are:
- walk on a lead
- come to you, when
- stop, when you ask
- sit and down on
Donít trust your dog, when you meet
cattle, sheep and goats. His instincts are highly developed after the motto:
what moves is to be chased. If an Irish Wolfhound chases such an animal or worse
kills it, it is your fault not his. So donít give him the
Never deal a blow to your dog or
beat him! He will lose his trust in you and
not forgive.Your disapproving voice is as a rule
enough to punish him. If he was really bad or naughty,take the loose skin on both sides of
his neck in both hands, then on even level with your face look at him and tell
him in no uncertain way, that you did not like his behaviour. This will do it
and your position of Alphadog is safe
Healthwise the IW in general is not
a problematic breed. He is rather stoic and does not make a big fuss when hurt
in playing etc. Also whenever he has a cut or else that has to be
insist at the vetís to do this with
a local anaesthetic, if you stay with him he will be calm and let him do it. try
to avoid a general anaesthesia as much as possible.
The very long tail can sometimes be
a problem. It can be hurt, when a dog wags excessively to greet you and bangs it
against door corners or other, and when it bleeds your walls will have to be
redecorated. Even the smallest hurt on the tail has to be treated carefully, it
can quickly get infected, and this can result that a partial amputation is
Some of the problems of this breed
are related to the size and the rapid growth. But with reasonable and careful
acting they can be avoided.
Donít let your puppy chase after
other dogs or jump walls or race up and down the stairs. Avoid everything that
could hurt those fast growing bones and ligaments. Torn ligaments
mean a long time healing process and sometimes even an operation
cannot heal it completely.
If you read all this and still want
an Irish Wolfhound, you really mean it. You will experience a lot of joy with
him, he is simply different from other breeds. Heíll bond with you, will feel
every mood and share joy and sadness with you. If once you shared
your life with an Irish Wolfhound, it is almost inevitable that after him, you
will have another and never live without one.
Irish Wolfhound Club