Irish Wolfhounds are the descendants of war hounds that were used as scouts, sentries, and occasionally during combat. They arrived on the shores of Ireland as early as 7000 BC, and were given as gifts to nobility during the English Conquest.
This particular breed is known as a sighthound, which means that it hunts using its keen sense of sight and superior speed, rather than by scent as a Bloodhound does. This breed of dog is known as a Wolfhound due to its original purpose as a wolf hunter, not because of its appearance.
The Irish Wolfhound is considered the national animal of Ireland, with the Kerry Blue Terrier as a runner-up.
Initial Costs of an Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound puppies can be purchased from either registered or unregistered breeders.
What’s the difference?
First, pups from an AKC registered breeder are guaranteed to be purebred. Since the pup’s parents (sire and dam) are registered, it means they have had their lineage confirmed. Subsequently, the litter of pups may automatically get registered upon birth.
If you buy an Irish Wolfhound puppy from an unregistered breeder, the correct characteristics for the breed might be easily visible but no verifiable documentation of its bloodline would exist.
By having official registration papers available for inspection, the parentage of a puppy can always be easily confirmed.
If you’re simply looking for a pet companion, then papers and registration may not be important to you. However, if you intend for your Irish Wolfhound participate in official dog shows and tournaments, s/he is required to have official papers that confirm lineage.
The marketplace at the American Kennel Club is the most well-known registry of purebred dogs in the United States. The price of Irish Wolfhound puppies on the AKC breeder marketplace range from $1,000 to $2,200.
The Irish Wolfhound Club of America also hosts a directory of registered breeders who exclusively produce this particular breed.
What You Get When You Buy an Irish Wolfhound?
As you’ve learned, buying from a registered breeder has many benefits. Breeders that have kennels registered at the American Kennel Club or the Irish Wolfhound Club of America (ICWA) are bound to follow strict guidelines when transacting with potential customers.
Once an agreement to purchase a puppy from a registered breeder is reached, you will receive the puppy as well as:
- Feeding Instructions – an Irish Wolfhound has a specific diet and feeding schedule. Make sure to receive this information before leaving.
- Medical Records – a responsible breeder should be able to provide medical records that list the number and type of vaccines that the dog has received thus far, as well as any other important procedures that have taken place (e.g., de-worming). The medical records should include dates.
- Pedigree – this is the puppy’s record of lineage, that assures it is purebred. A good breeder should provide at least a 4-generation pedigree at the time of sale.
- Standard of Ethical Conduct – both AKC and IWCA have this and are required to provide a copy to a buyer.
- Bill of Sale – this is the document that legally transfers ownership of the puppy from the breeder to you.
- Breed Standard – it’s a set of guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, appearance, and temperament of the Irish Wolfhound breed. Having these guidelines are useful because you should be able to easily spot any defects if a puppy has any. Unusual behavior or appearance will be dead giveaways.
- Registration Papers – since the Irish Wolfhound puppy is registered with either AKC, IWCA, or another dog registry, the breeder should provide a copy of the registration papers that certify official registration and entry into the corresponding database. These papers also provide proof should you choose to enroll your dog in an official dog show or national sporting event.
Recurring Expenses You Can Expect by Owning an Irish Wolfhound
Before you make the decision to purchase an Irish Wolfhound, consider any and all additional recurring expenses that you’ll have to shoulder on behalf of your new family member. Do not be irresponsible by purchasing a large pet that you cannot afford.
First and foremost, follow the feeding instructions provided to you by the breeder. You may change food products once the pup turns six months old.
The top recommended dog food for Irish Wolfhounds is Wellness CORE Original Turkey & Chicken; a 20lb bag of kibble goes for $64.59. However, a word of warning; this particular breed is highly susceptible to bloating so make sure not to overfeed and do not let them exercise before or after meals.
The breeder who raised your Irish Wolfhound during the first 6 weeks of its life was responsible for administering the needed vaccines. Now it’s your turn. Vaccinations need to be given semi-annually to protect your pet and others. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of vaccinations should you board or professionally groom your Wolfhound.
The average cost of the vaccines range in price from $40 to $105. The essential vaccinations will protect your dog from rabies, canine distemper, and Bordetella (Kennel Cough).
Checkups should be done annually as Irish Wolfhounds grow fast and have shorter lifespans. When a dog has short lifespan, it tend to show signs of ill health more rapidly. A general physical wellness exam costs around $50, however costs vary depending on location. Additionally, as your Irish Wolfhound ages you may need advanced screening tests that come with steeper costs.
What an Irish Wolfhound Needs from You?
As a responsible owner and buyer, you’re in charge of ensuring the well-being of the Irish Wolfhound puppy you’ve recently purchased. In order to be certain that your new pet integrates well with the family and learns all the valuable lessons of life, it’s important for you to consider all of its needs. Shown below are a few of the essential necessities of an Irish Wolfhound:
Carving out time to properly train your puppy is key to a long-lasting relationship. Using positive reinforcement, teach your pet to obey your commands and form good habits early on while it’s still young.
While the Irish Wolfhound will grow into an active dog, it’s helpful to use nose games to help stimulate their minds and hunting instincts. By placing healthy and nutritious treats in nose games and teaching your puppy how to explore the game with its nose, you start to build a bond of trust. Also as a hunting hound, it is very important that it learns to respond to your calls. You can dedicate 10-15 minutes a day towards this type of training.
Irish Wolfhounds are a smart breed, so use unique words for each distinct call or thing you want to teach. For example, sit, come and stay are key for your pup to learn, both for his or her safety as well as for when you venture out in public on walks or dog parks.
Even though they are larger and smart animals, Irish Wolfhounds are sensitive to your emotions and do not respond well to shouting and cursing. Be gentle with them and use simple words to convey your feelings like, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘good girl/boy’, etc. Praise them often for good behavior and make sure they are not rewarded for bad behavior. By introducing your hands as things that bring comfort and gentleness, you will build a lifelong connection to your gentle giant Irish Wolfhound.
The early stages of an Irish Wolfhound’s life should be spent learning how to socialize, gaining strength, and properly growing. Do not take your puppy for walks until it is at least six months old, to ensure gradually increasing leg strength and stay injury free. Never allow your puppy to climb up or down stairs unsupervised.
Once your puppy has already completed its first round of essential vaccines, you can begin inviting people over to the house to visit. Encourage your hound to meet new people and become familiar with family members. You can also allow it to mingle with other dogs for brief periods of time.
- Identify a responsible and registered breeder. You can visit AKC or IWCA to get started.
- Schedule a visit to their kennel to learn more about the puppies and parents.
- Be on the lookout for any signs of mistreatment, malnourishment, unfavorable living conditions, or indications of dishonesty.
- If you’ve decided to make a purchase, do not leave the premises without the paperwork.
- The Irish Wolfhound is an expensive dog to maintain. It takes up a lot of space and will require a lot of food, medicine, and time. Prepare your property and priorities accordingly before making a decision.
- Most puppies sold from a registered breeder include a “puppy-back” agreement. In the event that a dog has been identified by both the breeder and a veterinary expert to have any form of structural defect, the breeder is required to provide a replacement. Make sure to inquire about the puppy-back agreement with your chosen seller.
- Keep in contact with the breeder even after the sale is completed. If you encounter any problems or have any inquiries, it is the first person that you need to communicate with.
Interesting Facts About the Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest breed of dog in the world, standing at a minimum height of 32 inches (81 cm) for adult males, and 30 inches (76 cm) for females. It can sometimes reach as high as 7 feet by standing on its hind legs.
The minimum weight is 120 pounds (54 kg) for males and 105 pounds (48 kg) for females.
The Irish Wolfhound lives for an average of seven years. Science is still unclear as to why larger dogs tend to die younger than small dogs. But according to a new research, it’s because taller dogs age faster. If you want a pet that can accompany you for a longer amount of time, consider a small dog such as a Chihuahua or Toy Poodle, that have an average lifespan is 17 years.
An Irish Wolfhound’s coat has many color variations. Some of the most common are white, black, grey, red, brindle, fawn, and wheaten.
The temperament of the Irish Wolfhound is best described by its historical motto, “gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked”. It is generally a quiet, intelligent, and courageous breed. If you are a consistent, gentle leader then the Irish Wolfhound is a perfect breed for you!