Purchasing an Irish Wolfhound

Where to purchase

The first step in choosing an Irish Wolfhound puppy is to contact the Irish Wolfhound Club of Canada for information on breeders in your area. The breeders should then be contacted and arrangements made, if possible, to see the hounds in their own environment.

Owning an Irish Wolfhound represents a major responsibility and commitment in both time and money and should not be undertaken without a thorough evaluation of one's interests and other obligations. The exercise, nutrition and personal attention which an Irish Wolfhound requires is virtually impossible to obtain in a commercial setting. This means that pet stores and "puppy mills" should be completely avoided. There is no long term saving in purchasing a puppy that has not received a good start in life. Furthermore, since price represents a small part of the investment required, bargain hunting is probably an indication that another breed should be considered.

Purchase Price

The law of supply and demand has a major effect on the price of dogs. Breeding and raising Irish Wolfhounds is a very demanding avocation, requiring specialized facilities, tremendous amounts of time and money and a high degree of dedication to the preservation of the unique qualities of the breed. Furthermore, the investment of money in maintaining a litter of puppies for a period of three to four months means that even with the price charged, there is no real profit derived from raising Irish Wolfhounds. Raising the Irish Wolfhound puppies is now, and will always remain, a real labour of love, and the selling of the puppies an endeavour motivated by concern for the well-being of the individual hounds and the breed in general rather than a commercial activity. Individual breeders determine their own prices, and it is suggested that several Irish Wolfhound breeders be contacted before purchasing a puppy.

"Pet" vs "Show"

The basic nature of Irish Wolfhounds is such that they are all pets, and extremely good pets. Judging at a conformation show is based on conformation to the Standard. There is variation, sometimes even within a single litter, in the degree to which each puppy adheres to the Standard. It is extremely difficult to predict what a 2 to 4 month puppy will develop into when maturity is reached. Therefore, a breeder's designation of "pet" or "show potential" is an individual estimate of the developmental outcome.

Cost of Feeding

The specific amount varies with the individual dog - the dog's age, the amount of exercise, the time of year and the environment in general. Irish Wolfhounds need a good well-balanced diet. However, the important factor is not cost but rather that the dog should receive the highest quality food in sufficient amounts for proper growth and to maintain good health. Every good breeder will supply a complete diet sheet before a puppy is released to his new home.


An Irish Wolfhound puppy comes into the world weighing about a pound and a half. With a weight increase of up to 5 pounds per week, at 3 months he will probably weigh about 45 pounds; at 6 months, 100 pounds. After this point it becomes a little difficult to keep track of at home, but chances are that by the time he reaches maturity he may weigh close to 150 pounds. It can be seen that with this fantastic growth rate, feeding is one of the major concerns in raising this breed. For this reason, many Irish Wolfhound breeders recommend supplementation, particularly in the first 18 months because of the large bone structure and explosive growth. In all cases, however, the breeder of the dog should be consulted.


Irish Wolfhounds are very easy to train providing the owner is consistent . Patience, consistency and kindness are all that is required; the puppy will soon learn what is expected of him.


The Irish Wolfhound is similar to any other rough-coated dog. Daily brushing will maintain a clean healthy coat. On a regular basis the skin should be checked for parasites, ears checked for wax, and the nails trimmed so that they cannot be heard on a tile floor. If you can hear them, they are too long. Spring and fall are good times for a bath and when necessary a good commercial waterless dog shampoo rubbed into the coat and then towelled off is sufficient. When grooming your Irish Wolfhound for show purposes, it is a tidying up exercise rather than a barbering.


The whole key to adequate exercise is consistency and regularity - which means every day, summer and winter, rain or shine. The Irish Wolfhound is a large galloping hound and covers a lot of ground in a short time. It is therefore necessary to find an open space away from traffic and livestock for free running exercise. A hilly area is especially good as muscle development is important. In addition to galloping, the other gaits such as walking and trotting on a leash are valuable. At home, it is desirable to maintain a fenced-in area for your Irish Wolfhound so that he may roam safely. In discussing exercise it should be remembered that plenty of rest is also necessary - this is particularly true for puppies.

Outdoor Kenneling

A satisfactory kennel must be dry, windproof and insulated. One dog should not be kept alone outside for extended periods, and never overnight during the winter. Puppies under the age of eight months should not be kenneled outside alone during the winter as their food intake should go into growth rather than to heat production. In addition to such physical concerns, human company and attention are extremely important to Irish Wolfhounds, and they should spend a significant portion of their time with their owners.

Owner Responsibility

A good owner will provide companionship, understanding and love, adequate quarters, good nutritious food and regular exercise and grooming. It is also the owner's responsibility to ensure the availability of veterinary services.

Breeder Responsibility

  1. An opportunity to visit and view the dogs in order to learn about the breed.
  2. A demonstration of knowledge, concern and love of dogs.
  3. An encouraging, understanding reception of questions asked; and straight forward and readily understandable answers to all questions.
  4. A continuing availability of questions and advice.
  5. Explanation and visual demonstration of conformation to the Standard.
  6. Detailed sources of information, preferably some available printed material such as pedigree, a diet sheet, etc.
  7. An explanation that predictions of puppy show potential are estimates rather than guarantees.

Non-Breeding Agreements

The Non-Breeding Contract is a form authorized and issued by the Canadian Kennel Club to ensure that the animal will not be used for breeding. This contract is signed by the breeder and the purchaser, before the puppy leaves the kennel, with both retaining a copy. The third copy is sent to the Canadian Kennel Club by the breeder along with the application to register the puppy. Any puppies resulting from a breeding of such a dog are refused registration by the Canadian Kennel Club and the offending owner is contractually obligated to pay the original breeder a penalty sum as was agreed at the time of the original sale. Hounds under these contracts are usually subject to re-evaluation at a mutually agreed mature age, at which time the contract can be rescinded. Many breeders feel that the Non-Breeding Contract is one way of endeavouring to maintain the standard of excellence that is desired by all people interested in the breed.

For further information on puppies as well as the name of a breeder near you, please see our Breed Liaison page

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