Irish Wolfhound: is it the right breed for you?
Last Updated: 30/10/2023
Irish Wolfhounds are gentle giants. They enjoy the great indoors just as much as the outdoors (providing they have enough space) and make for loving, even-tempered pets.
Let's take a closer look.
Place of origin: Ireland – perhaps as early as 7000BC!
How big do Irish Wolfhounds get? 76 – 81cm
How heavy are Irish Wolfhounds? 47 – 54kg
Irish Wolfhound Life Expectancy: 6 – 10 years
Colour: Black, White, Brindle, Fawn, Grey, Red
Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.
How much exercise does an Irish Wolfhound need?
Owing to their large size and hunter’s instincts, Irish Wolfhounds are suited to houses with large and secure open/garden areas for them to roam around in. They’re well suited to flat surfaces and you should avoid walking your Irish Wolfhound up/down stairs – this can have a bad impact on their joints.
Irish Wolfhounds are typically very calm and happy when inside. They’ll need 1-2 walks a day to keep them fit and healthy, although play time out in the garden would be a valid alternative.
Training: how to train an Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhounds are known to be quite sensitive, so perhaps their need for positive reinforcement is greater than that of other breeds.
You may find your Irish Wolfhound to be quite introverted and happy keeping themselves entertained, but make no mistake – they’re quite content in your company!
Start training when your Irish Wolfhound is young or if you’re adopting one, start training almost as soon as you bring them home. They’re usually easy enough to train but you may have to go to greater lengths to kerb their inner hunter.
The Irish Wolfhound is a rough-coated breed. They moult throughout the year and will benefit greatly from regular grooming. You’ll only need to bathe your Irish Wolfhound when they’ve rolled through something smelly.
You’ll likely find Irish Wolfhounds to be intelligent, gentle and shy. They’ll need socialising from an early age in order to feel comfortable around new friends, but Irish Wolfhounds are typically really good with children and other pets.
Originally bred as hunting dogs, your Irish Wolfhound will always have the temptation to chase, so keep them on a lead whilst out walking until you reach a secure area where they can’t wander off too far.
Because of their size and bodily structure, Irish Wolfhounds aren’t suited to small living spaces. If you have lots of open space in and outside of your home and you’re happy with a laidback lifestyle, an Irish Wolfhound may be the perfect breed for you!
When considering the lifetime cost of owning a dog, remember to take into account:
- Breed-specific food
- Veterinary care
- Pet insurance
- Kennels or dog sitters
- Grooming costs
- Toys and equipment
- Preventative healthcare
As a rough guide, allow between £100 and £150 a month to cover the ongoing costs of owning an Irish Wolfhound. Our vets have drawn up this handy guide to save dog owners money.
Need more info?
For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet.