Irish Wolfhound Information & Characteristics

The origin of the Irish Wolfhound has been lost in antiquity, however, from illustrations dating back to 1400 BC we know that the Celts had huge hounds. Irish mythology, legends and sagas abound with the exploits of this ancient breed. This dog was the companion of kings - whether at war, on the hunt or just by the hearth. History tells of many hounds being sent to the royal houses of both Europe and Scandinavia. The breed has also come close to extinction.

Average lifespan

Irish Wolfhounds can live up to eight years of age.

Average size and weight

76cm to 86.5cm
50kg to 72kg

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament

The Irish Wolfhound is often called the ‘gentle giant’ of the dog world. Its proud bearing, quiet dignity and intelligence are just some of its many wonderful characteristics. This is definitely a family dog with an incredibly affectionate nature, which thrives on human companionship. Regardless of whether you are looking for a Wolfhound with show potential or one as a companion and family pet it should be physically and temperamentally healthy, exhibiting the friendly even disposition that is essential to its character.

Compatibility with other pets

The Wolfhound will live happily with cats, rabbits and other domestic animals if introduced to them as a puppy - however, one must always remember that this dog is a sight hound.

Care requirements

Raising a puppy that grows as fast as a Wolfhound requires special attention to diet and exercise. A balanced diet is essential to support the rapid growth rate and due to its rapid growth, a puppy's exercise should be restricted until it is nine to 12 months of age. Be especially careful not to let your puppy jump into, on to or out of cars. The breeders will be able to supply you with a suitable exercise regime. A small back yard is sufficient as long as it is kept clean and the dog is walked at least once daily.

Please take note

Some Wolfhounds like to dig large holes!

Ideal owners


Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.

Want to read up on other dog breeds? Our breeds category page has detailed information on different breeds, so you can prepare yourself to adopt a dog.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Irish Wolfhounds can get along with other pets provided they are socialized with other animals at an early age! These hounds can also co-exist around cats. 

Irish Wolfhounds make great family dogs because of their loving nature and protective instincts. While they are sweet and loyal, they can also turn the tables when it comes to protecting their families. 

Irish Wolfhounds may not be able to cope with being left alone. If you wish to leave your hound alone every now and then, teach it that it's okay to be alone! 

Irish Wolfhounds shed moderately throughout the year and are not so difficult to groom. Brush its fur once every week, brush its teeth often, and perform weekly checks when it comes to nails and ears. 

Irish Wolfhounds do not bark much because of their silent nature. If you notice them barking, they have probably found something out of the ordinary. 

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