Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

United Kennel Club

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound


ORIGIN

:
FCI
Ireland.

PUBLISHED

:
FCI
13.03.2001.
KC
March 1994

UTILISATION

:
FCI
Up to the end of the 17th century, Irish Wolfhounds were used for hunting wolves and deer in Ireland. They were also used for hunting the wolves that infested large areas of Europe before the forests were cleared.

CLASSIFICATION

:
FCI
Group 10Sighthounds
Section 2Rough-haired Sighthounds
Without working trial

KC
Hound
UKC
Sighthound/Pariah

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

:
FCI
Like their continental cousins, the Irish Celts were interested in breeding large hounds. The first written account of these dogs was by a Roman Consul 391 A.D. but they were already established in Ireland in the first century A.D. when Setanta changed his name to Cu-Chulainn (the hound of Culann). Mention is made of the Uisneach (1stst century) taking 150 hounds with them in their flight to Scotland. Irish hounds undoubtedly formed the basis of the Scottish Deerhound. Pairs of Irish hounds were prized as gifts by the Royal houses of Europe, Scandinavia and elsewhere from the Middle ages to the 17th century. In the 15th century each county in Ireland was required to keep 24 wolfdogs to protect farmers' flocks from the ravages of wolves. The Cromwellian prohibition (1652) on the export of Wolfhounds helped preserve their number for a time but the gradual disappearance of the wolf and continued demand abroad reduced their numbers almost to the point of extinction by the end of the 17th century.
The revival of interest in the breed accompanied the growth of Irish nationalism in the late 19th century. The Irish Wolfhound became a living symbol of Irish culture and of the Celtic past. At this time, one determined enthusiast, Capt. G A Graham, set about obtaining some of the few remaining hounds of the Wolfhound type that could still be found in Ireland, and with the use of Deerhound blood and the occasional outcross of Borzoi and Great Dane, he eventually achieved a type of dog that bred true in every generation. The results were ultimately accepted as a legitimate revival of the breed. The Irish Kennel Club scheduled a class for Irish Wolfhounds at their show in April 1879, and a club was formed in 1885. The Irish Wolfhound now enjoys once again something of the reputation that it had in the Middle Ages.
UKC
The present-day Irish Wolfhound owes its existence to R.D. Richardson and Captain G.A. Graham who, in the 1840's, helped restore this almost extinct, ancient breed to its former state. The original Irish Wolfhound is thought to be a very ancient breed, being documented as early as 393 A.D. The intelligence, strength and courage of the breed are legendary, and they were valued as guardians, hunters and war dogs. The Irish Wolfhound was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1921.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

:
FCI
The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble. Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly 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.
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 32 inches (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage and symmetry.
KC
Of great size, strength, symmetry and commanding appearance, very muscular, yet gracefully built.
UKC
The Irish Wolfhound is Greyhound-like, but rough coated. It is the largest and tallest of the coursing hounds, remarkable in its combination of power and swiftness. Maintenance of breed type is of prime importance. They are of great size, with a commanding appearance, very muscular and strong, yet gracefully built, with easy and active movement. Any deviation from the standard is to be evaluated in relation to its degree of deviation. The ideal specimen has the great size with a proportionate length of body, and shows the requisite power, activity, courage and symmetry.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

:
KC
Of great power, activity, speed and courage.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

:
FCI
“Lambs at home, lions in the chase”.
KC
Gentle, kind and friendly nature.
UKC
The Irish Wolfhound is a superb companion animal and a determined hunter.

HEAD

:
FCI
Long and level, carried high; the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes.
KC
Head long, carried high, the frontal bones of forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle long and moderately pointed. Nose and lips black.
UKC
The long, level head is carried high. The frontal bones of the forehead are very slightly raised, with very little indentation between the eyes.

CRANIAL REGION

:

Skull

:
FCI
Not too broad
UKC
The skull is not too broad.

FACIAL REGION

:

Nose

:
UKC
The nose is dark.

Muzzle

:
FCI
Long and moderately pointed.
KC
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level bite tolerated but not desirable.
UKC
The long muzzle is moderately pointed.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Scissor bite ideal, level acceptable.
UKC
The Irish Wolfhound has a complete set of strong, white teeth that meet in a scissors bite. A level bite is acceptable.

Eyes

:
FCI
Dark.
KC
Dark. Elliptical (regular oval) and full. Eyelids black.
UKC
The eyes are dark.

Ears

:
FCI
Small, rose ears (Greyhound like in carriage).
KC
Small, rose shaped, of fine velvet texture. Preferably dark in colour, not hanging close to face.
UKC
The small, rose ears are Greyhound-like in carriage.

NECK

:
FCI
Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.
KC
Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about throat.
UKC
The very strong, muscular neck is rather long and well arched, and is carried high. There is no dewlap or loose skin about the throat.

BODY

:
FCI
Long, well ribbed up.
KC
Chest very deep. Breast wide. Back, long rather than short. Loins arched. Belly well drawn up.
UKC
The chest is very deep, and moderately broad. The rib cage is long, with the ribs well sprung. The back is rather long than short, with arched loins and great width across the hips. The belly is well drawn up.

Back

:
FCI
Rather long than short.

Loin

:
FCI
Slightly arched

Croup

:
FCI
Great breadth across hips

Chest

:
FCI
Chest: Very deep, moderately broad, breast wide.
Ribs: Well sprung

Underline and belly

:
FCI
Well drawn up.

TAIL

:
FCI
Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.
KC
Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness and well covered with hair, carried low with an upward sweep towards the extremity.
UKC
The tail is long and slightly curved, moderately thick and well covered with hair.

LIMBS

:

FOREQUARTERS

:
KC
Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, turned neither in nor out. Leg and forearm muscular, and whole leg strong and straight.
UKC
The muscular, sloping shoulders are set to provide breadth to the chest.

Shoulder

:
FCI
Muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping.

Elbow

:
FCI
Well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.

FORELEGS

:
UKC
The forearm is muscular. The entire leg is strong, quite straight, and heavily boned. The elbows are set well under.

Forearm

:
FCI
Muscular, heavily boned, quite straight

FEET

:
KC
Moderately large and round, turned neither in nor out. Toes well arched and closed. Nails very strong and curved.
UKC
Both front and back feet are moderately large and round, turning neither inward nor outward. The toes are well arched and closed. The nails are very strong and curved.

Forefeet

:
FCI
Moderately large and round, neither turned inward nor outwards. Toes, well arched and closed. Nails, very strong and curved.

Hind feet

:
FCI
See Forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

:
KC
Muscular thighs and second thighs, long and strong, good bend of stifle with hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.
UKC
Both the upper and lower thighs are muscular, with the lower thigh being long and strong (as found in the Greyhound).

Thigh

:
FCI
Long and muscular.

Stifle

:
FCI
Nicely bent.

HIND LEGS

:
UKC
The hocks are well let down, turning neither in nor out. The stifles are nicely bent.

Lower thigh

:
FCI
Well muscled, long and strong.

Hock

:
FCI
Well let down and turning neither in nor out.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

:
FCI
Movements easy and active.
KC
Easy and active.
UKC
Movement is easy and active.

COAT

:

HAIR

:
FCI
Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry. Hair over eyes and beard especially wiry.
KC
Rough and harsh on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw.
UKC
The hair is rough and hard on the body, legs and head. It is especially wiry and long over the eyes and on the underjaw.

COLOUR

:
FCI
The recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn or any colour that appears in the Deerhound
KC
Recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, wheaten and steel grey.
UKC
Recognized colors include: gray, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, and any other color that is found in the Deerhound.

SIZE

:
KC
Minimum height for dogs: 79 cms (31 ins), bitches: 71 cms (28 ins). Minimum weight: 54.5 kgs (120 lbs) for dogs, 40.9 kgs (90 lbs) for bitches. Great size, including height of shoulder and proportionate length of body is to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a breed that shall average from 81-86 cms (32-34 ins) in dogs.
UKC
The desired height is 32-34 inches. Minimum heights and weights (applied only to Irish Wolfhounds over 18 months of age): Dogs, 31 inches, 120 pounds; females, 28 inches, 90 pounds.

Height at withers

:
FCI

Desired: Averaging 32 inches (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs.
Minimum: Dogs 31 inches (79 cm). Bitches 28 inches (71 cm).

Weight

:
FCI
Minimum: Dogs 120 pounds (54.5kg). Bitches 90 pounds (40.5 kg).

FAULTS

:
FCI

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
  • Too light or too heavy a head.
  • Too highly arched frontal bone.
  • Crooked forelegs; weak pasterns.
  • Weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle.
  • Too short in body.
  • Back sunken or hollow or quite straight.
  • Large ears and hanging flat to the face.
  • Twisted feet.
  • Spreading toes.
  • Short neck; full dewlap.
  • Chest too narrow or too broad.
  • Tail excessively curled.
  • Nose of any colour other than black.
  • Lips of any colour other than black.
  • Very light eyes. Pink or liver coloured eyelids.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
UKC

The various points of the breed are listed in order of merit. No singular point is to be exaggerated or diminished at the expense of the total breed standard. Breed type. A rough-coated, Greyhound-like breed. The tallest of the coursing hounds, with a remarkable combination of power and swiftness. Great size and commanding appearance. Easy and active movement. Long and level head, carried high. Heavily boned, straight forelegs. Elbows well set under. Long and muscular thighs. Well-muscled second thighs. Nicely bent stifles. Rough, hard coat, especially wiry and long over the eyes and on the underjaw. Long, well-ribbed-up body. Well-sprung ribs. Wide across hips. Arched loins. Belly well drawn up. Small ears, carried thrown back and folded (as a Greyhound). Moderately large, round feet. Close, well-arched toes. Long, well-arched, very strong neck. Very deep, moderately broad chest. Muscular, sloping shoulders. Long, slightly curved tail. Dark eyes.
Muzzle: Head too light or too heavy. Frontal bone too highly arched. Lips any color other than black.
Eyes: Very light eyes. Eye rims any color other than black.
Nose: Nose any color other than black.
Ears: Large ears. Ears hanging flat to the face.
Neck: Short neck. Full dewlaps.
Forelegs: Bent forelegs. Over bent pasterns.
Body: Chest too narrow or too broad. Back too straight. Sunken or hollow back. Short body.
Hind Legs: Weak and/or lack of muscle in hindquarters.
Feet: Twisted feet. Splay feet.
Tail: Tail excessively curled.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
UKC

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.
Color: Albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.