Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest breed of dog, with a kind and gentle temperament. It is a sighthound, originally bred for as its name suggests hunting wolves.

Irish Wolfhound Breed Group


Size of the Irish Wolfhound


Colour varieties of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound comes in a wide variety of colours which include:

  • Black
  • Black Brindle
  • Brindle
  • Cream
  • Dark Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Grey
  • Grey Brindle
  • Red
  • Red Brindle
  • Wheaten
  • Wheaten Brindle

Country of origin


Time of original development

The Irish Wolfhound is a very old dog breed, with estimates suggesting they may go back as far as 7000BC. The Irish Wolfhound was originally used for wolf hunting and guarding.

Irish Wolfhound breed introduction and overview

The Irish Wolfhound is a sight hound, as well as being the tallest of all the dog breeds. It has a strong, well-muscled body and a small head in comparison to its size.

Size and weight of the Irish Wolfhound

Height bitch 71-90cms

Height dog 71-90cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 40-69kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 40-69kgs

Exercise requirements of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a highly athletic breed requiring at least 2 hours of exercise every day.

Irish Wolfhound temperament, socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets

The Irish Wolfhound is a gentle giant with a calm and quiet nature. They are affectionate, friendly, placid and loyal, making them an ideal family dog. They can however be wary of strangers, but rarely shows signs of aggression. They are normally good with other dogs, but caution should be expressed around other smaller pets in the home.

They are normally good and patient with children, but its size may make it an impractical choice of dog breed for families with small children.

Is the Irish Wolfhound a good dog for a first time dog owner?

No. The Irish Wolfhound is an impractical size for many family homes and is best suited with an owner with experience of this magnificent dog.

Irish Wolfhound coat length

Medium. The coat is rough and wiry.

Grooming requirements of the Irish Wolfhound

Medium. The wiry coat requires weekly brushing with a soft slicker brush to keep the coat in tip-top condition.

Ears need to be cleaned and checked regularly for any sign of infections.


No. The Irish Wolfhound sheds hair steadily throughout the year, making it an unsuitable choice of dog for allergy sufferers.

Health issues in the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is generally a healthy dog, but owners should talk to their breeder about the following health issues that have been recorded in the breed:

  • Bloat
  • Bone cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Von Willebrands disease

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Irish Wolfhound

A healthy Irish Wolfhound should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 6-8 years.

Approximate Irish Wolfhound pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay from £1,000 for a pedigree Irish Wolfhound puppy and litters are not often available. Only 293 puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Estimating how much a Irish Wolfhound would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 40kgs requires 436gms of complete dry food daily.

A dog weighing 50kgs requires 509gms of complete dry food daily.

The weekly cost of feeding a 40kgs bitch is around £10.75

The weekly cost of feeding a 50kgs dog is around £12.50

Our figures are based on feeding an ‘above average quality’ and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket. A good quality feed is suggested for the energetic dogs in the hound group.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment