Irish Greyhound: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Irish Greyhound is the largest breed of dog in existence. Its original name is Irish Wolfhound, which means “wolf hunting dog of Ireland”. It has a patient, balanced and intelligent character. Despite its enormous size, it is very sociable, it adores its family and children. At Petlifey, we explain the behaviour and characteristics of the Irish Greyhound.

Character of the Irish Greyhound breed

The Irish Greyhound, also known as the Irish Wolfhound, is a dog with a very balanced temperament, possessing great patience and intelligence.

In addition, it feels the need to please its owner, to do everything in its power for them to feel useful. Its demeanour is docile, obedient and noble. It is relatively easy to train. Despite its history and legend, the Irish Greyhound is an extremely sociable dog that considers everyone who comes close to it friends, even strangers.

For this reason, it is not qualified to perform work as a guard dog, except for its imposing image, which can be a deterrent for those who are not familiar with the breed.

Huge and imposing in appearance, it is actually a sweet and friendly animal that is extremely loyal to its master and very affectionate with children.

  • Energy: Medium. You need to exercise daily, but with moderate activity.
  • Temperament: With a very balanced temperament, it is very patient and shows great intelligence. It is a great hunter, but also a good friend of its master and guardian of its house.
  • Adaptability: Medium. You can get to live in an urban environment, but the city is not your ideal habitat, because you need to run freely and be in contact with nature.
  • Sociability: High. It adores its family and becomes a great companion to children. Its attitude towards strangers is one of affability and friendship.
  • Health: Regular. The breed is prone to some conditions.
  • Longevity: Medium / Low. It does not usually live more than 10 years.
  • Utility: Versatile. It is a hunting and companion dog.

How does it behave with other dogs and pets?

Calm and noble, this greyhound poses few dominance issues and gets along very well with other dogs, even if they are of the same sex. Cases of confrontation with other dogs are very rare.

Due to its hunting instinct, with animals and pets of other species you have to be a little cautious, because you can try to hunt them. However, if you get used to it from a very young age, it is easy not to cause problems.

Is it a good family dog?

The Irish Wolfhound or Irish Greyhound adores its family and only wants to please its masters. It can be left with peace of mind in the company of children, since despite its enormous size, it treats them with delicacy and soon becomes their inseparable playmate.

Can you live in an apartment or in the city?

Although it can live without problems inside a house, the city is not the most ideal place for the Irish greyhound, as it prefers open spaces.

For this reason, it is highly advisable to have at least a patio or a small garden in which the animal can spend a few hours a day.

Characteristics of the Irish Greyhound

Among the physical characteristics of the Irish greyhound, it stands out that it is a giant-sized dog with an imposing appearance, very muscular, strong and at the same time elegant.

The Irish wolfhound is not as heavy a constitution as the German bulldog, but it is larger and more robust than the Scottish greyhound, with which it bears a strong resemblance.

How is the Irish Greyhound physically?


Its size is enormous, since it is considered the largest breed dog that exists, and behind this imposing appearance it presents a robust and strong body, a gently curved back line and a wide rump.

The Irish Wolfhound’s tail is long, of medium thickness, and completely covered in fur. It goes over the hock line and is slightly curved at the tip.


Its head is medium in size, broad and strong, somewhat triangular, with a flat upper line of the skull and a short, stout muzzle. The truffle is black, strong and large.

The eyes are dark in color. And, although they have thick eyebrows and stiff hair, they do not cover their eyes. The expression is one of attention and joy.

Their ears are small and covered with fringes of medium-length, closed hair. Its shape is “in pink”, and its insertion line is at eye level.


The Irish Wolfhound’s coat is rough, rustic and semi-long, it is strong and tough all over the body, limbs and head. But especially hard and long over the eyes and under the jaw. It can be grey, brindle, dark red, pure white, fawn.

Irish Greyhound breed standard

  • Origin: Ireland.
  • Size: Giant.
  • Height at the withers: between 79 and 86 cm for males and between 71 and 79 cm for females.
  • Weight: at least 54 kg for males and 40 kg for females.
  • General appearance: It is an imposing-looking dog, very strong and muscular, but at the same time with an elegant structure.
  • Use: Hunting and company.
  • Other names: Irish Wolfhound / Irish Wolfhound / Irish Wolfhound / Lévrier irlandais / Irischer Wolfshund.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 160. Group 10 – Sighthounds. Section 2 – Wirehaired Sighthounds.
  • Head: It is long and haughty in bearing.
  • Skull: Of moderate width
  • Muzzle: It is long and pointed.
  • Jaws: They generally have a scissor bite, although sometimes it can be pincer bite.
  • Eyes: They are dark in color.
  • Ears: It has “pink” ears.
  • Neck: Quite long, very strong and muscular, well arched and without the presence of a double chin or loose skin around the throat.
  • Body: It is long and powerful, and it is endowed with good muscles.
  • Back: It is long, with a slightly arched loin and a broad rump.
  • Chest: Deep and moderately broad, it has a broad chest and arched ribs. The belly is tucked up.
  • Tail: It is long and slightly curved; it is of medium thickness and completely covered with hair.
  • Forelimbs: Rather straight, they are provided with a strong skeleton.
  • Shoulders: They are muscular and oblique.
  • Forearms: They are muscular, have good bones and are quite straight.
  • Elbows: Well attached to the body.
  • Hind limbs: They have good muscles.
  • Legs: They are long and strong.
  • Knees: Well angulated.
  • Hocks: They are located in a low position and do not deviate to the sides.
  • Feet: They are medium in size and round, and do not deviate to the sides. Their fingers are well arched and close together, and their nails are very strong and curved.
  • Movement: It is free and agile.
  • Coat: The hair is strong and tough all over the body, the extremities and the head. Above the eyes and under the jaw it is long and stiff, wire-like.
  • Color: It can appear in grey, brindle, dark red, pure white, fawn or any of the colors that are also typical of the Scottish greyhound.

Irish Greyhound education and training

The Irish Greyhound’s developed intelligence and eagerness to please and please its master make them a relatively easy dog ​​to train.

In principle, it is a good choice for all types of people and families, even those who do not have much experience. However , you need a leader capable of exercising this role in a natural way, who is well aware of what the animal’s needs are and does not hesitate to seek the advice of a professional when it deems it necessary.

As a greyhound, it is a sports dog that needs to exercise, although this must be moderate and adapted to its age, especially during growth, to avoid the appearance of joint diseases that can be very limiting.

In principle, long walks on a leash may suffice, although its strength and size must be taken into account, as well as avoiding leaving it in inexperienced hands. Later, when it reaches full physical maturity, it can be taken to the field to run free.

Health and diseases of the Irish Greyhound breed

Due mainly to its large size, the breed is exposed to certain conditions, which can become important, such as heart problemsbone cancer or sensitivity to anesthesia, something very typical in sighthounds.

The torsion stomach and hip dysplasia are problems shared also with other races large. Thus, this well-cared for greyhound can be in good health, but with the supervision of a veterinarian who keeps track of its condition, weight and health .

Likewise, internal and external vaccination and deworming programs must be complied with. As well as the examination of eyes, ears and joints.

Irish Wolfhound diet

It is very important to take care of the diet of the Irish Greyhound when it is very young. As with many other large breeds, the Irish Greyhound is a dog that matures very slowly, both physically and temperamentally.

For this reason, its puppy phase is longer than normal and it takes several years until the animal reaches its full development.

Although it reaches a large size and a high weight since it is a few months old, therefore, during this stage it is essential to take care of its diet. This way we guarantee that it grows strong and healthy.

Care and maintenance of the Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound does not require great aesthetic care. Its strong hair protects it and only requires a routine brushing every week.

As for the bath, it is only necessary to bathe it when the animal is really dirty. It is advisable to use products with the appropriate pH for pears. Subsequently, it must be dried well so that the dog does not remain very wet in the open.

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