De Ierse wolfshond

Algemeen voorkomen
De Ierse Wolfshond is de grootste rashond die we kennen: een echte, goedaardige reus. Hij is massiever dan de Deerhound waarop hij het meeste lijkt, terwijl hij weer niet zo zwaar mag zijn als de Duitse Dog.

reuen minimaal 79 cm; teven minimaal 71 cm

reuen minimaal 54,5 kg; teven minimaal 40,8 kg

De meest voorkomende kleur is grijs, rood, gestroomd, zwart, effen wit, reekleurig; elke kleur die bij de Deerhound voorkomt, is eveneens toegestaan. Zijn vacht is ruw, hard en lang, en vooral warrelig boven de ogen en op de onderkaak.

Zichtjager, gezelschap

Soms komt in dit ras heupdysplasie voor, evenals erfelijke oogafwijkingen en hart- of leveraandoeningen.

Gemoedelijk en vriendelijk, ook tegen vreemden! Een Ierse Wolfshond is niet waaks. Trouw aan zijn baas, lief voor kinderen, aanhankelijk maar niet slaafs. Een hond die midden in het gezin moet leven, anders kwijnt hij weg. Mits hij er op jonge leeftijd goed mee gesocialiseerd is, kan hij met andere honden en dieren samenleven.

Regelmatig borstelen om vervilten van het lange warrelige haar aan het hoofd te voorkomen.



We know the continental Celts kept a greyhound probably descended from the greyhounds first depicted in Egyptian paintings. Like their continental counterparts, the Irish Celts were interested in breeding large hounds, but theirs seem to have been even bigger than the more ancient variety. These large Irish hounds could have had smooth or rough coats, but in later time, the rough coat came to predominate, possibly because of the Irish weather. The first written account of these dogs was by a Roman Consul in 391 A.D. but they were already established in Ireland in the first century A.D. when Setanta changed his name to Cu-Chulainn (the hound of Culan). Mention is made of the Uisneach (1st century) taking 150 hounds with them in their flight to Scotland. Irish hounds undoubtedly formed the basis of the Scottish Deerhound. Pairs of Irish hounds were prized as gifts by the Royal houses of Europe, Scandinavia and elsewhere from the Middle Ages to the 17th century. They were sent to England, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Persia, India and Poland. The change of name to Wolfdog probably dates from the 15th century when each county was required to keep 24 Wolfdogs to protect farmers’ flocks from the ravages of wolves. The Cromwellian prohibition (1652) on the export of Wolfhounds helped preserve their numbers for a time but the gradual disappearance of the wolf and the continued demand abroad reduced their numbers to the point of extinction by the end of the 17th century.It was probably part of the surge of Romantic nationalism which helped to revive interest in the breed. The Wolfhound achieved a true strain only through fairly frequent inbreeding, but the results were ultimately accepted as a legitimate revival of the breed. A club for the Irish Wolfhound was formed in 1885 and the Irish Kennel Club scheduled a class for the breed at their show in April 1879. The Wolfhound now enjoys once again something of the reputation it had in the Middle Ages and excites the most interest because it is a living symbol of Irish culture, a remembrance of the Celtic past. Wolfhounds, lambs at home, lions in the chase, are now bred in fairly large numbers outside Ireland.


The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble. Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity.

Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average from 81 cm (32 ins) to 86.5 cm (34 ins) in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity courage and symmetry.


Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle long and moderately pointed.

EYES - Very light eyes are a fault.

EARS - Small and Greyhound-like in carriage.

MOUTH - Bite: Scissors ideal, level acceptable.

NECK - Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.

Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Leg - Forearm muscular, and the whole leg strong and quite straight.

Chest: Very deep, breast wide.

Back: Rather long than short. Loins arched.

Belly: Well drawn up.

Muscular thighs, and second thigh long and strong as in the Greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.

Moderately large and round, turned neither in nor out. Toes well arched and closed. Nails, very strong and curved

Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.

Easy and active.

Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw.

The recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any colour that appears in the Deerhound.

The minimum height and weight:of dogs should be 79 cm (31 ins) and 54.5 kg (120 lbs); of bitches 71 cm (28 ins) and 40.8 kg (90 lbs). Anything below this should be debarred from competition

Too light or too heavy a head, too highly arched frontal bone.
Lips and nose any colour other than black.
Very light eyes. Pink or liver-coloured eyelids.
Large ears and hanging flat to the face.
Short neck; full dewlap.
Bent forelegs; overbent pasterns (fetlocks)
Too narrow or too broad chest.
Too short in body.
Sunken or hollow or quite straight back.
Weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle.
Twisted feet; spreading toes.
Too curly a tail.

- Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

About the Irish Wolfhound


Dogs of great size are believed to have come to Ireland from Greece by 1500 B.C. In Ireland they became even more imposing, and gifts of these great dogs were made to Rome. The first definite mention of the Irish wolfhound occurred in Rome in A.D. 391. The breed gained fame for its imposing stature and ability in fighting wild animals in arena sports. It was so acclaimed in Ireland that it became the subject of many legends recounting its valor in battle and chase. All large hounds were once known as cu, a term implying bravery. The Irish name for the breed is cu faoil. Favored by Irish chieftains for the hunt, it gained its reputation as an unparalleled hunter of wolves and Irish elk. Illustrations of these dogs from the 17th century look very similar to modern Irish wolfhounds. The impressive hounds (often seven at a time) were traditionally given to foreign nobility. This practice, along with the extinction of the wolf in Ireland in the 18th century, contributed to the decline of the breed's numbers. By the 19th century, Irish wolfhounds were almost extinct in Ireland, and the famine of 1845 virtually decimated the breed. In 1869, Capt. G. A. Graham determined to resurrect the Irish wolfhound, a task he set about by crossing the few existing wolfhounds — in particular one named Bran, thought to be the last true wolfhound in Ireland — with such breeds as the Scottish deerhound as well as the Great Dane, the borzoi and even the Tibetan wolf dog. When first exhibited at a dog show in the 1870s, the reborn wolfhound created a sensation — the same reaction it inspires to this day when first seen. Its commanding appearance draws many admirers, but its popularity is tempered by the practicalities of keeping such a large dog.


Aptly known as the gentle giant, the Irish wolfhound is a soft-natured, easygoing breed. It is calm around the house, sensitive, patient, easygoing and sweet. Despite its great size, it is good with children, pets and other dogs. It is reserved with strangers and courageous when the need arises.


The Irish wolfhound enjoys a long walk and a chance to stretch its legs, so it needs daily exercise. At home it needs ample room to stretch out on a soft surface and should not be required to live in cramped quarters. It can develop callouses if allowed to lie on hard surfaces too often. Its coat needs to be brushed or combed once or twice weekly, plus occasional slight scissoring to neaten up straggly hairs. Dead hairs should be stripped twice a year.


• Major concerns: gastric torsion
• Minor concerns: cardiomyopathy, OCD, osteosarcoma, CHD
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: (hip), (heart)
• Life span: 5 – 7 years
• Note: sensitive to anesthesia; prone to tail-tip injuries

Form and Function

The tallest of the sighthounds, the Irish wolfhound resembles a rough-coated greyhound, although of more powerful build. Great size is especially valued in the breed. This combination of speed, power and size enables the Irish wolfhound to run down and overpower large prey. Despite its size, the breed should be gracefully built, its gait easy and active, and its head held proudly. The rough coat, which provides protection against the cold and damp, as well as its opponents' teeth, is especially wiry and long over the eyes and under the jaw.