Irish Wolfhounds: Majestic Giant Dogs with Potential Joint Problems

July 20, 2023

If you're a dog lover who adores big, majestic canines, look no further than the Irish Wolfhound. These magnificent dogs, often referred to as the "Gentle Giants" of the dog world, have captured the hearts of many with their imposing stature, gentle nature, and rich history. In this blog, we'll delve into what makes the Irish Wolfhound an excellent choice for those who love giant dogs.

Irish Wolfhound History

The Irish Wolfhound's origins date back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest dog breeds known to man. Ancient Celtic tribes highly prized these hounds for their hunting prowess, particularly in the pursuit of wolves and other large game. Over the centuries, Irish Wolfhounds became symbols of prestige and nobility, gifted to kings and emperors as a sign of respect and diplomacy. Their historical significance adds an air of mystique and grandeur to their already impressive presence.


Irish breed dogs Irish Wolfhound

Giant Size and Appearance

Standing at an astounding height of up to 32 inches (81 cm) at the shoulder and weighing between 140 to 180 pounds (64 to 82 kg) or more, the Irish Wolfhound is truly a giant among dogs. Their sheer size is enough to turn heads and draw admiration from everyone they encounter. Despite their imposing appearance, they possess an elegant and graceful gait, exuding a sense of regal poise.

These large dogs have a shaggy, grey coat. Add the name “Wolfhound” and you would think these dogs are quite dangerous. However, their name comes from the job they once did: hunt wolves in the wild. Since that is no longer in their job description, they have become gentle and loyal family dogs.

Some the biggest dogs are still the Great Danes. A Great Dan named Giant George currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest living dog in the world. This was in 2010. There are new efforts that another Great Dane may take over the World Record soon. And you can't say that Irish Wolfhounds are the heaviest. The Guinness Book of World Records has the heaviest dog as an English Mastiff, Zorba, who was 286 pounds in 2001. These are exceptional members of the breeds. 

However, on average, the Irish Wolfhound will be taller than a Great Dane, but not heavier. 

Irish Wolfhound

Grooming needs of Irish Wolfhounds

Despite their long, shaggy coat, Irish Wolfhounds are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Their wiry, coarse hair requires brushing once a week to keep it clean and free of tangles. Regular nail trimming, teeth cleaning, and ear checking are also essential parts of their grooming routine. Given their size, it's essential to start grooming and handling them from a young age to ensure they are comfortable and cooperative during grooming sessions.

Wolfhound Personality & Temperament

While their size might be intimidating, Irish Wolfhounds are known for their exceptionally gentle and affectionate nature. They are incredibly loyal and form deep bonds with their human family, often displaying a deep sense of empathy and understanding. This gentle disposition makes them fantastic companions for families, including households with children and other pets.

Despite their historical hunting background, Irish Wolfhounds are surprisingly calm and laid-back dogs. They are not overly active or hyper, which makes them well-suited for indoor living, as long as they have enough space to stretch their long legs. They enjoy regular exercise but are content with moderate activity, preferring a leisurely stroll over intense workouts. Their low-key temperament makes them great pets for people who may not have the energy to keep up with more hyperactive breeds.

Despite their size, Irish Wolfhounds are known for their gentle demeanor and polite behavior. They are often respectful of smaller animals and have a surprisingly gentle approach when interacting with them. This characteristic is especially important for households with smaller pets or children, ensuring harmony and safety among all family members.

Health of Irish Wolfhounds

As you can imagine, giant dogs sometimes have giant health problems. The Wolfhound’s main health issues are in part due to their size, which can cause pressure or inherited problems in their joints. Some of the biggest causes of concerns, or health problems to know about includes:

  1. Hip Dysplasia. With most Giant breeds, there are a variety of joint issues. There will be joint problems arise, especially in the hip and elbow joints. This causes pain and impacts their mobility.
  2. Elbow dysplasia.
  3. Osteoarthritis, or arthritis. Because of the joint problems already mentioned, Wolfhounds are at very high risk for osteoarthritis. Arthritis is as painful for dogs as it is for humans. And just like humans, there is something you can do about it. Learn more about arthritis in dogs and check out all the risk factors.

Preventative Care

As most of the Irish Wolfhound’s health problems are joint-related, plan to do what you can to protect and strengthen their joints safely and naturally by adding a joint supplement to their diet. Most dogs need joint supplements by age 8. But since their life expectancy is much shorter, at 6 – 8 years, they should begin taking joint supplements much earlier, by age 4 or earlier. Joint supplements can promote joint health and cartilage development which keep dogs active and youthful, longer.

Glyde™ Mobility Chews

Parnell Living Science are the experts on osteoarthritis (OA) or arthritis in dogs. We created a unique formula with key anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat the signs of aging. Glyde uses natural, gluten-free ingredients to promote healthy joints to let your dog do everything he or she loves to do!  Glyde is the only nutraceutical that contains proven levels of three key components that work to relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

Glyde's proven formula has all-natural ingredients and high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, plus Green Lipped Mussel (GLM). The proven levels of these key ingredients are what makes the formula unique:

Read how these ingredients work together. 

Irish Wolfhound Puppies

Irish Wolfhound puppies are the cutest little dogs. Just know they grow up to be pretty large in a short period of time.

One important consideration for potential Irish Wolfhound owners is their relatively short lifespan. On average, these gentle giants live between 6 to 8 years. Though their time with us is shorter than many other breeds, the love, joy, and memories they bring into our lives make every moment with them truly cherished. Be sure you do all you can to keep them happy and healthy for as long as you can! 

For those who love giant dogs and are enchanted by the blend of grace and grandeur, the Irish Wolfhound is an ideal choice of dog breed. These Gentle Giants offer not only an impressive physical presence but also a loving and loyal companion that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on your heart. Embracing an Irish Wolfhound into your life means opening your home to an ancient and noble breed that exemplifies the true essence of a gentle and majestic giant. So, if you're ready to embark on a journey with one of the world's most remarkable dogs, the Irish Wolfhound awaits with open paws, ready to fill your life with love, loyalty, and joy.



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