Ancient hounds have existed in Irish legends, lore, and literature since the beginning of Ireland's recorded history. They were protectors of kings, defenders of life, and hunters of game up until the fifteenth century. From that point, they were used specifically to hunt wolves, a job that they excelled in. As the amount of wolves living in Ireland diminished in the late eighteenth century, the need for wolfhounds dropped, as did the dogs’ numbers. They became all but extinct during the Great Irish Famine, only to be revived by Captain George Augustus Graham in the late 1800s. Thanks in part to his efforts, the Irish Wolfhound is easily recognized as one of the tallest dog breeds in the world.
The Irish Wolfhounds of today are gentle giants, which is a far cry from their fierce ancestors. Irish Wolfhounds are known to be intelligent, loyal, and even-tempered. Because of their great size, they are slow to mature. True to his sighthound ancestry, he may still chase things that move away from him, easily outrunning any person around, so a secure (tall) fence is a must for this breed. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
View the Irish Wolfhound's full breed standards.