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Irish Wolfhounds are massive, muscular dogs and are the largest of all breeds. The average adult weighs between 105 to 150 pounds. They have a rough wiry outercoat and a softer undercoat. Their coat color can be solid or brindle in assorted shades of gray; white to wheaten (beige) to sandy beige, or varied tones of brown and black.
Disposition and MannerismThese slightly shaggy dogs are intelligent, good-natured gentle giants with sweet dispositions. Despite their size, they are quiet indoor dogs who thrive on human companionship . They are sensitive, affectionate pets who love everyone in their family .... other dogs, the new kitten ... even the family parakeet. They're especially sweet and responsive to children. They bond easily and become devoted guardians of the children they love.
Care of Irish WolfhoundsThey do need lots of space to accommodate their size. The Irish Wolfhound is a fairly expensive dog to properly maintain. Medications like heartworm preventative and flea protection that are given according to a dog's size will be two to three times as much as for an average dog. They need super size crates, extra large pet beds, and more food than typical large breeds.
All dogs need a balanced diet from a high quality pet food, but this is of utmost importance for a rapidly growing giant breed puppy. Follow a diet recommended by your dog's breeder or your veterinarian. Feeding adult wolfhounds twice a day, dividing the recommended daily diet in two, is recommended to prevent bloat, a deadly condition that can result from overeating or eating too fast.
Irish Wolfhounds are moderate year-round shedders. Brush and comb once a week to remove loose hair and keep the coat tangle free and in good condition.
Lifespan of Irish WolfhoundsAs with many giant breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have short lives. Sadly, their average lifespan is only about 6 to 8 years.
A high percentage of Irish Wolfhounds suffer from cardiac disease. Heart failure is one of the major causes of death. A yearly health check is very important. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and Lymphoma are the most common cancers diagnosed in the breed. Other common health issues are Bloat, Von Willebrands Disease (a bleeding disorder), Hypothyroidism, joint diseases such as Osteochondrosis, Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, and Epileptic seizures.
Irish Wolfhounds OutdoorsIrish Wolfhounds must be contained when outdoors. Even though they are no longer used to hunt wild boar and elk, their predatory traits persist, and they will instinctively chase whatever "prey" they see outdoors. To today's Wolfhound, "prey" might include rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, the neighbor's cat, or even that kitten it gently plays with and nudges indoors.
Since young Irish Wolfhounds love to run, they should have a securely fenced yard where they can run and play freely. Though they love the outdoors, mature adults will quite easily become couch potatoes if you let them. They need outdoor play and exercise or regular walks daily.
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