The Irish Wolfhound is the largest breed of the group of greyhounds chasing movable prey, as well as the tallest dog in the world. One of the first references to these animals dates back to the year 391 AD, when the Roman consul Aurelius wrote about the “great surprise and delight” experienced by the inhabitants of Rome and the aristocracy, when they saw the seven wolfhounds brought by the legionnaires from the campaign.
In Ireland, these dogs were highly appreciated for their fighting qualities, fearlessness and tremendous strength. In battle, an Irish wolfhound was used to knock a horseman off a horse, and, often on the ground, this same horseman found himself with a horse. They hunted big game, Irish elk, wolf and bear.
Irish law in the Middle Ages allowed only an royal wolf and noblemen to have an Irish wolfhound. Moreover, the number of dogs which could be kept depended directly on the height of the occupied title.
Irish legends say that the national hero Finn McCumhill had at least 500 Irish wolfhounds, of whom two were favorites – their names were Bran and Schiolan. They occurred, allegedly due to sorcery and magic. But the nobleman of the lower class could have no more than two dogs.
Irish wolfhounds nobles and kings were often used as an expensive gift. Moreover, this gift was often delivered in an expensive collar made of pure gold or silver. One of the most popular and beloved Irish stories, tells the story of a dog named Gellert, which was presented to the Prince of Wales by Llewelyn by the English king John in 1210.
Once a dog defended the son of the Prince of Wales from a wolf, killing him while his father was on the hunt. Returning from the hunt and seeing the dog in blood, he thought that the dog had killed his little son, and he killed him with a blow of the sword. However, he later discovered the body of a wolf and an unscathed baby, which was smeared with the blood of a dead predator. In honor of his faithful dog Gellert, the prince erected a memorial grave in Kernarvon, Wales – it can be seen today.
A huge role in reducing the population of Irish wolfhounds was played by hunting for large moose and wolf in Ireland. Since they were practically exterminated, the dogs simply stopped breeding, because of which the breed was even on the verge of extinction for some time.
The breed could have disappeared if Major Richardson had not paid attention to it. In the mid-19th century, he wrote a book where he suggested that the Irish wolfhound and mountain deer were of the same origin (today such an absurd assumption will cause laughter). He began to breed Irish wolfhounds, basing his breeding program on reindeer herders Glengarry, and achieved considerable success. Later, George Augustus Graham, another breeder, added Tibetan mastiffs, greyhounds and German Great Danes to the breeding program.
Irish Wolfhound – the breed is really huge. These are the tallest dogs in the world, and one of the largest dogs on the planet. The limbs are long, the chest is pronounced, wide, voluminous. Build muscular, powerful. On the head, the transition from the forehead to the eyes is clearly pronounced. Ears hang down on the sides of the head, tail is longer than average.
Despite its huge size and frightening appearance, the Irish wolfhound in the circle of his family is extremely affectionate, loyal and loving dog. For a long time away from the family and the owner, he can not. Children will ride it like a pony, you can not doubt it, because your pet simply can not resist children’s charm.
He loves children very much, loves to play with them and simply loves to be in the circle of children’s attention. However, you cannot let children ride a dog like a pony, as the joints of these animals, including the spine, will be injured. And given that the breed Irish Wolfhound, in principle, has many health problems and skeleton in particular, it is better to preserve their health.
By the way, they also live not for long – only 6-8 years, a maximum of 10 but very rarely, and no more. The breed of dog Irish Wolfhound has an average level of energy, but this does not mean that he can lie at home on the pillow all day. This is completely wrong. They need an active lifestyle to maintain their large body in good shape, as muscles and joints require movement and exercise, but the load is correct. In this regard, let us recall once again that children should not be allowed to ride on the back of an animal with a cry of “horse!”, But they will definitely try.
The Irish Wolfhound treats strangers normally, and if these are family friends, then seeing the owners’ location, the dog will treat them with friendliness. Their fighting nature can mainly manifest themselves in a collision with another dog, although they may well be friends with dogs without conflict. Small pets can be perceived as potential prey, due to the rich past of the hunter, so they need to be introduced to cats at an early age, and conduct early socialization.