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Are you afraid of large dogs? And what about the largest ones? When you face an Irish wolfhound in person, fear will be the last thing you feel.

The Largest and Most Elegant Dog: the Irish Wolfhound

Eva Ledecká
15.Jul 2017
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1 minute
the Irish Wolfhound

It is the world’s largest dog breed. His minimum shoulder height is 79 cm and weight starts at 54 kg (females weigh from 41 kg up). But his height and size are deceptive. His luxurious visage does not correspond to the fact that he is very gentle, even soft, very good-natured, and a perfect companion for children.

the Irish Wolfhound
the Irish Wolfhound
the Irish Wolfhound

A Remarkable Wolf Killer

The Irish wolfhound is an ancient breed. The first mentions about the breed come from 400 B.C. It is said to have got to Ireland with the Celts, who were considered passionate dog breeders. It is assumed that this luxurious breed was created by crossing hounds from Egypt with Molosser-type dogs in order to create a fast, strong dog that can survive in adverse natural conditions.

The wolfhound’s task was to hunt and kill wolves. Other sources say that his task was to tear enemy riders down from their horses. That is why he needed to be fast enough to keep up with a horse.

Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 10 - 303m
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 10 - 303m, Praha 10

An Elegant Companion for the Nobles, Wearing A Golden Collar

The Irish wolfhound has elegant looks – he is muscular and large, but does not look clumsy. His size and graceful movement made him a highly recognised and valued companion for nobility, who pampered him duly. Often, dogs of this breed were luxury gifts for rulers who frequently decorated them with collars covered in precious stones and gold.

You can still encounter this dog breed at a royal court. It is the Irish wolfhound that walks alongside the drummers during the changing of the guards in London’s luxury Buckingham Palace.

A Nearly Extinct Breed

In the 10th century, this dog was three times the value of a horse. The breed was exported from Ireland to India, Persia, Denmark, and Spain. Exports got so plentiful that in the end, a ban was put on them. By the mid-19th century, the wolfhound as a breed had been rendered essentially redundant: wolves had nearly disappeared and Europe was stuck by famine. The luxurious breed was only resurrected by the passionate deerhound breeder, Captain George Graham.

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