Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound


ORIGIN

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

CRANIAL REGION

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Skull

:
FCI
Not too broad

FACIAL REGION

:

Nose

:

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.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Scissor bite ideal, level acceptable.

Eyes

:
FCI
Dark.
KC
Dark. Elliptical (regular oval) and full. Eyelids black.

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.

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.

BODY

:
FCI
Long, well ribbed up.
KC
Chest very deep. Breast wide. Back, long rather than short. Loins arched. Belly 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.

LIMBS

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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.

Shoulder

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

Elbow

:
FCI
Well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.

FORELEGS

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Forearm

:
FCI
Muscular, heavily boned, quite straight

FEET

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KC
Moderately large and round, turned neither in nor out. Toes well arched and closed. Nails 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.

Thigh

:
FCI
Long and muscular.

Stifle

:
FCI
Nicely bent.

HIND LEGS

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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.

COAT

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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.

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.

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.

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.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

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Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

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