The Irish Wolfhound dog breed was originally used in war to drag men off horses and chariots.
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Irish Wolfhound.
Although there is no confirmed record of the breed until 391 A.D. in Rome, there are references to Irish Wolfhounds dating back to ancient times. Irish laws and literature from the fifth century refer to the dogs as "cu," which has been roughly translated to mean "hound." There is confusion about the breed's origin, but some believe that it first made its way to Ireland in the sixth century B.C. via the Celts moving from the area around the Black Sea.
It is a sturdy, yet swift dog, capable of running down and killing large animals. It has a general greyhound build, only larger and stockier. The legs are long, the body comparatively narrow, the loin slightly arched, the chest deep and the waist moderately small. Like most sighthounds, the tail is long and carried low.
3) The biggest
This massive hound can reach a height of 7 feet when standing on its hind legs. The Irish Wolfhound's average size can range from 2 to 3 feet at its shoulder. Compared in size to a small pony, the giant dog is actually a calm family companion. In fact, the breed is often described by an old Irish proverb: "Gentle when stroked; fierce when provoked."
4) Gentle Giants
Due to their intimidating size, Irish Wolfhounds are often thought to be more aggressive than they actually are. They may be enormous, but they are gentle giants. Although they are brave, Irish Wolfhounds would sooner cozy up with a potential new friend than bark an alarm to the arrival of a stranger. They are not aggressive, although their size may serve as a deterrent to some.
Just under the surface of their gentle exterior does lie the nature of a coursing hunter, so Irish wolfhound owners must be vigilant when outdoors. Like all sighthounds, Irish wolfhounds love to chase animals that are running away from them, and they can take their time responding to your calls to come back. Yet Irish wolfhounds are generally model citizens with other dogs, pets and children. Their great size is usually enough to scare away intruders; this is fortunate, as most Irish wolfhounds are pacifists and not great protection dogs.
6) Living With
The major consideration any prospective Irish wolfhound guardian needs to make is the matter of size. These dogs need room to stretch out and be comfortable; they are the size of another person — a person who takes up even more room because they do not walk upright. They enjoy a quiet life, and as long as you take them out for a good walk or run once a day, they will be content to sprawl around your house. Think beyond your house; where will such a large dog fit in your car? Can you control a dog that large? What if you ever had to pick him up because he was sick or hurt? Remember that everything that goes with a big dog is big: big feed bills, big medicine bills, big boarding bills — so think big!
Young Irish Wolfhounds need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. The proper amount of exercise can be difficult to regulate in giant breeds.
There was a time when this breed was not found in any common homes. Only nobility were allowed to own the coveted dogs. They were found in a number of royal courts, including those of Edward III, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in England and France's Henry IV. Because Irish Wolfhounds were so highly valued, they commonly were given as gifts to foreign courts, such as Sweden, Denmark and Spain. Since the Irish Wolfhounds were for royalty only, their numbers were limited, and the constant exportation to other countries did not help their rapidly diminishing population.
Grooming is not difficult. The hair does not mat, but the coat should be combed a couple of times a week and dead hair should be stripped (pulled) out twice a year. Otherwise the dog will look shaggy and unkempt. Irish wolfhounds do not shed. The beard can become dirty from food and should be washed regularly, and water drips from the beard after the dog drinks.
10) Health Issues
Irish Wolfhounds are extremely prone to a life-threatening digestive syndrome called bloat. It comes on suddenly and can kill a dog in just a few hours. In addition, Wolfhounds are frequently stricken at an early age by crippling joint and bone disorders, by heart disease, and by cancer.