The Irish Wolfhound is a gentle giant who loves human companionship. Also known as the Irish Dogs, or the Big Dogs of Ireland, they are the tallest of all dog breeds and the largest of all the sighthounds. They were bred to hunt wolves and elk, but as wolves became extinct in Ireland, the Wolfhound population also declined. Although their huge size is often attracted by many people, this breed also comes with a short life span of six to eight years. Wolfhounds will use your furniture and you will have to make sure to provide plenty of cushioned resting places as their large, bony body can develop calluses if they are forced to lay on hard surfaces.
Common Health Conditions
- Hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis.
- Irish Wolfhounds are especially prone to a life-threatening heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy in which the heart becomes so large, thin, and weak that it can no longer effectively pump blood to the body.
- Wolfhounds are more likely to have a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt. Some of the blood supply that should go to the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly.