Irish Wolfhound, the world’s tallest breed of dog, is believed to have descended from the ‘cu,’ a giant, rough-coated type of Greyhound known in Ireland from pre-Christian times. The cu was renowned in story and legend as a ferocious dog in battle, a tenacious courser of large game and a trustworthy guardian. Ownership of the cu was restricted to kings, nobles and poets. When the last wolf left Ireland, it was said the Irish Wolfhound vanished with it but Capt. G.A. Graham, a Scottish officer in the British army, made it his life’s work to search out specimens of the breed and, with the help of other interested fanciers, re-establish the breed to its former size and type. The breed has been named the national dog of Ireland.
General Appearance: Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type, he is a rough coated, Greyhound-like breed; very muscular, strong, though gracefully built; movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity.
Temperament: Though giant in size, the Irish Wolfhound is among the gentlest of breeds. He is protective of his home and family, fond of children and courageous in the commission of his self-appointed tasks.
Size: The minimum height and weight of dogs should be 32 inches (81 cm) and 120 lb. (54 kg); of bitches 30 inches (76 cm) and 105 lb. (48 kg), these to apply only to hounds over 18 months of age. Anything below this should be debarred from competition. Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average from 32-34 inches (81-86 cm) in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage, and symmetry.
White Irish Wolfhound
Coat and Colour: Hair rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and underjaw. The recognized colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any other colour that appears in the Deerhound.
Head: Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle long and moderately pointed. Ears small and Greyhound-like in carriage.
Irish Wolfhound puppy
Neck: Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.
Forequarters: Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Forearm muscular, and the whole leg strong and quite straight.
Body: Back rather long than short. Chest very deep. Breast wide. Loins arched. Belly well drawn up.
Irish Wolfhound puppies
Hindquarters: Muscular thighs and second thigh long and strong, as in the Greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out. Feet moderately large and round, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Toes well arched and closed. Nails very strong and curved.
Tail: Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.
Faults: Too light or heavy a head, too highly arched frontal bone; large ears and hanging flat to the face; short neck; full dewlap; too narrow or too broad a chest; sunken or hollow or quite straight back; bent forelegs; over bent fetlocks; twisted feet; spreading toes, too curly a tail; weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle; too short in body. Lips or nose livercoloured or lacking pigmentation.
Link: Irish Wolfhound club Ireland.