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» Irish Wolfhound
One phrase that could describe the Irish Wolfhound is a “gentle giant”. The breed is one of the tallest in the world and stood on its hind legs it can reach the size of a pony! However, despite its large physique, the breed is renowned as an excellent family pet and is loyal and affectionate. Just as its name suggests, the Irish Wolfhound did originate from Ireland and the latter part of its name relates to their original use. They were previously used to primarily hunt wolves, although other animals also came under their capture such as deer and boar. They were an extremely popular breed at one time and were often used as gifts to Royals. However, when wolves and boar gradually became extinct in Ireland, they weren’t bred as much and this led to a decline in their popularity. They did manage to return in force in the rest of Britain though and since, they’ve been known as a loyal companion to many a family.
The Irish Wolfhound is absolutely massive in size, with some standing up to thirty five inches tall! Such height means they’re no welterweight either and some weigh in the region of one hundred and fifty pounds. Their general appearance can be described as nothing but muscular and this physique is lathered with a rough coat that can come in colors such as red, white or grey. Their head is long and the muzzle corresponds with this, while the ears are slightly pinned backwards.
While some owners like to utilize this breed as a guard dog due to their size, the general temperament of the Irish Wolfhound would suggest this isn’t a good idea. In general, the breed is quiet, friendly and will greet anyone with acceptance. They get along with children fantastically which means they can be described as nothing other but an ideal family pet. Although their temperament means they are easy to train, any prospective owner should put this at the top of their to-do list as if the breed is allowed to get out of hand, their size can result in them becoming boisterous and hard to handle. What’s more, any potential owner should realize that this breed needs an enclosed yard, as their hunting nature means they don’t think twice about chasing anything that catches their fancy.
In terms of health problems, the Irish Wolfhound can be prone to issues surrounding the heart and liver. Bone cancer has also emerged as a widespread problem amongst the breed, as has bloat. Any owner of a young Irish Wolfhound should also be wary of issues surrounding their growth. As they grow to such a high size, the joints can come under high pressure so any owner must make sure their dog is looked after appropriately. All of these health problems meant that the breed has a relatively low life expectancy, with the average being between six and eight years.
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