As the Irish Wolfhound’s name implies, it hails most recently from Ireland, where it was used for hunting large game, such as wolves and Irish elk, which could be as tall as six feet at the shoulders! Before helping out Irish hunters, this breed was mentioned in ancient Roman records as far back as 391 A.D. as a loyal dog that fought terrible battles at the sides of their soldier masters.
Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest of all dog breeds, standing nearly three feet tall at the shoulders. Slender, but well-muscled, their body shapes resemble that of the greyhound, though at up to 120 lbs., they are quite a bit larger. It is a laid-back breed, but due to these dogs’ large size, they are not a breed to be entered into lightly. Irish Wolfhounds need plenty of room, both indoors and outdoors, and plenty of daily exercise. Additionally, they are easily trained, but having spent years working far from their masters, they have an independent streak that must be considered. Grooming, however, is a breeze with these devoted dogs – regular brushing is all that is needed to keep their wiry coats in check.
Despite their independence and athleticism, Irish Wolfhounds are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Irish Wolfhounds are prone to include joint conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia; eye conditions such as cataracts; skeletal issues such as osteosarcoma; heart problems such as cardiomyopathy; and internal issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat).
Thankfully, veterinary pet insurance from Petplan covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Irish Wolfhound inherits more than just a large build, you’re covered.