Family : Canidae
Text © Pietro Paolo Condò - Giudice Enci-fci
English translation by Mario Beltramini
It is one of the tallest dogs and, from Middle Age up to the seventeenth century, it was utilized for hunting the wolves not only in Ireland but all over Europe (couples of Wolfhounds were given as gift to many European royal houses).
The gradual disappearance of the wolf and the continuous demand from abroad had drastically reduced its number thus risking its extinction, thing which was then averted.
It is a big sized dog and with an imposing look, very muscled, with a strong yet graceful body. The head is long and flat, the muzzle moderately pointed, the teeth with an ideal scissor bite (the level bite is tolerated), the dark eyes and the small rose-like ears (carried like in the Greyhound).
The neck is very powerful, muscled and without dewlap, the trunk is long with long ribs, the back rather long than short, the rump very broad between the hips, the thorax is deep and moderately wide, the chest is ample and the belly well retracted.
The tail is long, slightly curved, of moderate thickness and well covered by hair. The forelimbs, not turned in or out, have muscled and oblique shoulders, the hind limbs have long and muscled thighs; the feet are moderately big and round, with well arched and closed toes, very strong and curved nails.
The hair is rough and hard on trunk, limbs and head, particularly shaggy over the eyes and under the jaw. Recognized colours: grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn and all the colours which are admitted for the Deerhound. Size: desired height in the males from 81 to 86 centimetres (minimum 79) and a minimum weight of 54,5 kg even if some males can reach the 80; in the females, the minimum height is 71 cm and the minimum weight is of 40,5 kg.
Even if its ancestors were utilized in the arenas against bears and lions and had to hold the necessary courage for confronting the wolf, the Irish Wolfhound is nowadays an as big as good dog, calm, loving to stay close to its master and is less reserved and indomitable than the other hounds; if well educated it becomes quickly aware of its size and learns how to behave consequently.