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faq (frequently asqued questions)


The Irish Wolfhound



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1. Is it possible to train an Irish Wolfhound to be a watch dog?


Do’nt try to make a watch dog of your Wolfhound. If you ever had in mind to have him trained, you have chosen the wrong breed. His height makes him a very dissuasive dog anyway and who would be crazy enough to go and face an angry Wolfhound?


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2. How a Wolfhound does he behave in front of children?

The Irish Wolfhound is a dog and as such it is indispensable to take any necessary precautions in particular when children are around. If he is used to them since puppyhood, the Wolfhound adores children and behaves towards of them with much gentleness.


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3. Which are the size and weight of a Wolfhound?

According to the « Standard FCI n° 160 - 13/10/2002 / F » --> Complete Standard

Size and weight:

Desired size: around 32 inches (81 cm) to 34 inches (86cm) with the dogs.
• Mininum for dogs 31 inches (79 cm) for a weight of 120 pounds (54,5 kg).
• Minimum for bitches 28 inches (71) cm) for a weight of 90 poinds (40,5 kg).

The Irish Wolfhound of today exceeds largely these heights and weights.


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4. Which is the life expectancy of an Irish Wolfhound?

As all the big breeds, his life expectancy is rather short: 6 to 7 years, some rare individuals reach 11-12 years.


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5. Which are the major health problems with the Irish Wolfhound?

The most frequent pathologies are the different cancers, in particular osteosarcoma, dilated cardiomyopathy and torsion/bloat. But as all breeds, the Wolfhound may also have other health problems (e.g. osteochondrosis, in case of too much exercice for the puppy).
Hence the importance of having your dog examined by the vet annually, at least on the occasion of the annual boosters. And of cours if you have any anxiety, never hesitate to get the advice of the vet. You should also be able to ask advice to your breeder (who however does’nt replace the vet!). The Irish Wolfhound is not always a very well known breed by the vets, he will appreciate all information you are able to communicate.
N.B. The Wolfhound is often prone to injuries of the tail, as well as the development of bursas on the elbows.


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6. Is it possible to keep an Irish Wolfhound outdoor?

He should have the possibility to live with you in the house, he is your friend and companion.
He needs human presence because he gets easiliy bored when he is left alone and he does’nt accept easily the the kennel, be it very comfortable.
In your house, give him a place where he can retire for sleeping and where you can ask him to rest when you do’nt wish to be disturbed. A thick and soft matress will do, placed not too near from the heating but out of draught. Cover it with a plaid or blanket which can be wash frequently.
When the weather is nice, your Wolfhound likes to rest outside, in particular when you are there too. Take care to give him a place in the shade as he does’nt support the heat too well.


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7. What about feeding a Wolfhound?

At birth a Wolfhound puppy weighs around 500-600 g (1 – 1,5 lb) and within less than a year he should centuplicate his weight. Hence the importance of an abundant quality food. Do’nt believe those who say that 500g (1 lb) of dry food is sufficient!
Do’nt ever compound with quality of the food. Any profit you could make in purchasing a low quality food you will often spend it with the veterinary later on because your puppy will present growth problems. But PLEASE: quality does not mean alimentation in superabundance and seasoned by various complements. It’s the right balance that is needed.
Your breeder should provide you with a food plan for the first months.
For a young puppy, it is essential to feed him three or four times a day.
The adult hound will do better with two feedings, morning and evening than one big bowl per day. The fact to eat less at one time helps to prevent torsion / bloat, a disease that happens with most of the giant breeds: the stomac fills with gas and sometimes makes a complete rotation blocking both ends, then blows up like a balloon provoking death by syncope and heart failure. That’s why it is advised that the owner keeps his dog quiet one or two hours before and after his meals. It is also often forgotten that drinking an important amount of water, for instance after a long walk, may also provoke torsion. After an exercise you better let him drink several times by small quantities.


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8. What sort of education is suited for an Irish Wolfhound?

As soon as he arrives in your home, you may teach him that certain things are permitted while others are forbidden. The education of a puppy is a clever proportioning of firmness and soupleness and he will learn what you will take pains to teach him. Be consequent: he will not understand that something is permitted one day and the day after it will not! A NO with a firm voice will generally be sufficient, do’nt ever slap your Wolfhound. With a bit of patience you should obtain the calling to come, setting, sit and down on command, as well as walking on a leash without pulling. Besides the fact that this is very bad for his articulations, you will not be able to hold him anymore when he will weigh 70-80 kg!


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9. What sort of exercise for a Wolfhound?

All that might damage the bones, cartilage and articulations so frail with a puppy should be avoided: no running, neither with other dogs nor with children, no bouncing, no scales!
The most current and most fatal error during growth is to give too much exercice which could be the cause of permanent deformation of the articulations. Many puppies find themselves with « cow hocks » or very down on pasterns because the loving owners are unable to stand locking in their exuberant baby and let him galop, bounce and play as much as he wants. Too much exercice may also be the cause of serious bone troubles, in particular osteochondrosis of the articulations, the shoulder in particular.
The ideal for a Wolfhound puppy would be to play in a yard or run too small for galoping but big enough to have fun. The puppy should be encouraged to rest and sleep a lot and should always be locked in after a meal (torsion – see above).
At six months, a puppy with strong limbs may galop five minutes in a large field every two days, whilst the the other day you can walk him for one km on a quiet road, without pulling on the lead which would tire the articulations. This exercice is perfectly sufficient till his growth decreases, at 9-10 months for a bitch and 11-12 months for a dog. Afterwards the exercice should be increased very progressively with a careful watch at the strength and firmness of the articulations, because the bones will not calcify totally before 13-14 months or even later.
When your Wolfhound will have stopped growing, around 12-13 months, his exercice can be increased regularly inorder to put muscle on this large frame.
An adult Wolfhound should have the possibility to run and galop every day to obtain and maintain a good physical condition and it is also essential to his mental stability.


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10. What special cares are needed to maintain a Wolfhound?

The Irish Wolfhound is a “rustic” hound. His coat should be of a rough texture and therefore it is easy to keep up if it is of good quality. A brushing with a hard brush and a passing with the comb once or twice a week are sufficient to maintain a well groomed appearance. You can then take the opportunity to look at his ears, watch the teath and nails. If you want to show your dog, a bit of trimming will be necessary.
Unless he is particularly dirty (cow dung , liquid manure...) or he has a bad smell, it is not necessary to bathe our big hound.