Please feel free to send any additional information you may have relating to any question posted. Comments are also welcome.

  1. Fencing
  2. Tail injury
  3. How much do they cost and what about hip dysplasia?
  4. Coat type
  5. Are they good guard dogs?
  6. My young wolfhound is destroying my house!
  7. What medical ailments are common in the breed?
  8. How do I integrate my current dog with my new Wolfhound?
  9. Do Wolfhounds need a lot of grooming?
  10. What is the normal growth rate of a puppy?
  11. I have a five month old IW puppy. How do I go about showing my dog and when could I start?



Maybe this is not the right place to tell this story, but I need to do so while the event is still fresh in my experience.This morning, my beautiful hound and gentle companion, Fiona, was killed by a car after she and the Norwegian Elkhound I recently acquired to keep her company romped onto the road. The smaller dog wasn't hurt. I live on an acreage in the country and a neighbour came to my door to tell me what happened. I crossed the highway and she was lying in the ditch her front shoulder shattered, still breathing and able to raise her head to look at me with the gentle expression I had come to love over the past year and a half she had been with me. Fiona would have been two in October. A check of her pulse and pale mucous membranes, confirmed my fears that she was in shock from probable severe internal injuries. I knew she would never be an active dog again, and I tearfully requested my neighbour to fetch his gun and end her suffering. Over the following five to ten minutes, I stayed with my friend, held her head and stroked the silky ears one last time as life ebbed from her and she stopped breathing. The pupils in her brown eyes dilated, and she was gone. Randy returned and we loaded her into his truck, I borrowed a shovel and drove her to a peaceful spot on a country road near some crown land. There I dug a grave and laid her to rest. The autumn morning sun lit up the shimmering aspens as I made my last farewell to this most wonderful of pets. I don't think Fiona was a particularly smart dog, but she had a wonderful temperament, and despite her awesome size, never showed aggression. She was particularly good with all ages of children. I had wanted a Wolfhound for as long as I can remember, and when, at age fifty, I finally got Fiona, I was not disappointed. She was
everything I had hoped for.

Could this have been prevented? Yes. Adequate fencing would have worked. Unfortunately, I did not have time to see to this since moving onto my 5 acre site two weeks ago. An ironic twist to this tale was that I had purchased an electric "shock collar & boundery wire" device just yesterday with 1000 feet of wire. I was reading the installation instructions when the knock came to my door. I was told by a number of pet stores I phoned yesterday, that they did not approve of these devices and would not stock them. Yet, after inspecting the package, I see they are endorsed by various animal humane groups, and I suspect my wolfhound would have been conditioned quickly to stay off the road, having witnessed the respect she quickly acquired for other types of electric fence on friends' farms. I never noticed any neurotic traits develop from these encounters.

What more can I say? If you want to avoid an emotional experience akin to the loss of a human family member, I would strongly urge owners to invest the $200 to$400 needed to greatly reduce the chance of a fatal outcome for your pet, not to mention the prospect of massive veterinary bills in the event of a non-lethal injury. I wish I had acted sooner. Now it's too late.

Editor's Note: While elevtronic fencing works wonderfully for many individuals, it should be remembered that Irish Wolfhounds are sighthounds and as such, many of them will have a very high instinct to chase moving objects like cats, squirrels or blowing pieces of paper. Wolfhounds intent on the chase have been known to override previous conditioning to electric shock in the drive to reach their prey. Therefore it is recommended to use full physical fencing whenever possible to keep our hounds safe.

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2. Our Wolfhound has had a problem with the tip of her tail getting thrashed about and causing it to bleed. It seems to just get healed and it happens again. We have tried various methods to protect it, everything from socks, bandages, etc. We even tried condoms once at the kennel we left her at over on weekend. Nothing seems to work. Any suggestions short of cutting off the last inch of her tail? Ointments or creams would be preferable.

ANSWER: Tail wounds are hard to deal with, as you have experienced. The area where the skin is broken has to be protected until it heals then again until hair grows in again. This takes several weeks. Confining the hound is not a good idea...he needs space to wag his tail without hitting it and breaking the wound open again.

Go to your vet and get some Furacin dressing ointment, Vetwrap and sterile gauze pads. You will also need a roll of gauze, some Epsom salts, iodine and strippable painters tape. At least twice a day ....more often is better.....wash the wound in a solution of Epsom salts and warm water then dip the tail tip in iodine.Coat the area with Furacin and wrap in several gauze pads forming a cushion. Cover this with the Vetwrap then tape the top end of this to the tail withthe painters tape. It holds well but comes off easily without tearing off more hair. Go up the tail a few inches above the end of the Vetwrap covered gauze with this tape but leave the wound area only covered by the gauze and Vetwrap. This cannot be left on for more than a few hours. If you can't stop the hound from wagging and hitting its tail then, using the roll of gauze, tie his tail up under his belly. Obviously, this will have to be removed when he goes outside and when you leave him alone and should only be done until the wound has healed.

Alternate Tail Wrap (thanks to Nancy for suggesting this): Instead of tying the tail up under the belly you tie the tail to the leg with a loop of gauze that is loose enough to permit the tail to be moved for pottying and won't slip off over the foot if the dog has a nap on the couch. This bandage is on the tail usually above the injury and is just there to hold the tail from beating on things while it heals.

If your dog lets you get away with it you can just do the loop in a bow on the upper thigh and it can easily be taken apart at any time by you. Taping like this means you can leave the wound open to the air for healing and still keep more damage from happening. You have to make sure that any knots will not slip to cut off circulation in the tail. The soft gauze usually doesn't bother the dog and the whole set up is pretty convenient as you don't have to redo bandages if dogs need a trip out.

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3. I've been reading and enjoying your web site, but I noticed it does not include even a ball park cost for a wolfhound. Can one purchase grown dogs from breeders? Also, the medical problems information did not mention hip dysplasia, are Irish Wolfhounds unlikely to develop this disorder? Again your web site is fantastic. I haven't seen any U.S. sites to match it for attractiveness and speed of screen change. S.B.

ANSWER: Thank you for the positive comments about our Irish Wolfhound Club of Canada web site. Re price: the price would certainly vary across both countries as well as between them and from breeder to breeder. However, an average purchase price would be $2,500. There are many costs for Wolfhounds over an above the price of a puppy. Expect food bills of about $200-$300 per month on average, depending on choice of diet. Any equipment is purchased in giant (i.e. more expensive) sized and vet bills for most procedures are also greater than for smaller breeds. If required, bandaging, drugs etc. are needed in larger quantities. Also, fencing has to be taller than normal and cover a larger than normal area. All these things should be considered before purchasing a Wolfhound.

Re purchasing grown Wolfhounds: it might happen that a breeder would have a mature hound available but this would probably be unusual. Re hip dysplasia: this has not been a major problem in the breed but a few hounds have developed HD and those who believe this could be a problem in their line or who want to be able to state that a particular hound is unlikely to pass this on, have x-rays done. There is a nutritional component to the development of HD and any large fast growing breed (which basically defines IWs) is susceptible. Pups should be kept lean while being fed a diet that meets all their nutritional needs.

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4. Is there a variation of the breed that has a relatively smooth coat?

ANSWER: There are variations in coat that range from short (a smooth coated, more greyhound look) to quite long and soft, however the preferred coat for an adult Irish Wolfhound would be one that is harsh and medium length. This is the type of coat called for in the Standard which states "hair rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw".

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5. Do Irish Wolfhounds make good guard dogs?

ANSWER: No, absolutely not. However, Wolfhounds are big and that is usually enough to stop people from coming onto your property. They should never be "trained" to be guard dogs. If it is even possible to train them to do that, they would be very dangerous. The type of training required would break a gentle wolfhound's spirit before creating a guard dog. Please choose another breed.

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6. What can I do with a young wolfhound that is destroying my house?

ANSWER: Be sure that your young Wolfhound has enough free exercise to "run off" his extra energy. Although Wolfhounds shouldn't be over exercised during their growth, they need to romp when they feel like it and rest afterwards. If they have a secure outdoor area to play as well as lots of toys, they will exercise themselves. To be sure they don't get "carried away" in the house, either they must be continuously supervised or kept in an confined area such as a laundry room where they can't do too much harm until they can be watched. However, they shouldn't be confined for long periods. A rubber Kong for chewing is helpful during teething. Be patient, they will outgrow this destructive stage.

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7. What are the medical ailments common to the breed?

ANSWER: Irish Wolfhounds are generally a sturdy breed. The life-threatening medical ailments most often seen are the typical ones found in large breeds, which are cancer (osteosarcoma and lymphosarcoma) and heart problems. There is ongoing research into heart disease and a two year study of canine osteosarcoma at Cornell University with funding from Morris Animal Foundations which will hopefully help eliminate these.

Bloat is another potentially life-threatening ailment to which deep chested (greyhound shaped) dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed. Owner awareness of causes and symptoms so that bloat can be prevented and quick action if it occurs is vital.

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8. If we were to purchase a Wolfhound puppy but already had a mature dog of another breed, what would be the best way to integrate them?

ANSWER: Try to introduce your new pup to the older dog on neutral ground such as a friend's yard. After the initial meeting, you return home with your older dog and your friend brings the pup along a few minutes later. Give your older dog lots of attention and treats so that he doesn't feel his relationship with you is being threatened. Sometimes older dogs are frightened of a pup and they will growl or react by attempting to dominate the puppy. Let the older dog display his superior position unless he gets really rough in which case, use a verbal reprimand. It is difficult sometimes to stand by and let the dogs establish their order as puppies can scream pathetically when they are actually not being hurt at all. Don't be too quick to interfere. Also, puppies can get rambunctious and be "too much" for an older dog so the pup should get some time on its own for play and of course the older dog should also continue to get its share of individual attention. Usually, within a few days, the new pup will be integrated into your home.

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9. Do Irish Wolfhounds need a lot of grooming?

ANSWER: Regular brushing and combing, that takes only minutes a day is all that is needed. Their nails should be cut at least once a month. Grooming for a show involves more, including a bath about two weeks before the show so some crispness returns to the coat. Striping out the long ear hair, the ociput area, triming the neck area as well as the inside thighs and feet should also be done for a show. Excessive removal of neck hair, however, is not correct.

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10. What is the normal growth rate of a puppy?

ANSWER: Irish Wolfhounds are about one and a quarter to one and a half pounds at birth. By the time they are 6 months old, they will be around one hundred pounds.and when one year they should be all but an inch or so of their adult height. During the following year or so they will fill out. When they are three to four years, they will be fully mature.

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11. I have a five months old Irish Wolfhound puppy. How do I go about showing my dog and when could I start?

ANSWER: It's not wise to be in a hurry to show an Irish Wolfhound pup. Why would you want to show a pup? It isn't a fun for the pup and there are other activities you could do with your puppy that he/she would enjoy more.

However, if you are dying to show the world your baby, a good place to start is a local handling class. Your pup will learn to go around a ring, stand for examination and get used to other dogs running around with him/her. Sanction matches are another way to teach your pup and learn yourself. They allow younger dogs than are able to enter in normal CKC shows.

To enter a CKC point show, your puppy must be at least 6 months old. Pick one show and enter only one day. Don't show a Wolfhound pup excessively, they get "turned off" quickly. Talk to your pup's breeder, they should be able to give you lots of help showing.


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