The large, lean, muscular Irish Wolfhound is recognized as one of the largest breeds and is one of the kings of the dog world. Wolfhounds stand over 30 inches at the shoulder and when standing on the hind legs, can reach heights of over 7 feet tall. They have a stately presence, with a bearded face, a long neck, and tail that hangs down with a slight curve. The shaggy coat is rough-looking, crisp in texture and comes in shades of gray, brindle, red, black or white. The ears of the Wolfhound are carried back against the head in repose, and prick up when the dog is excited.
Size and Weight
The minimum height for a male Irish Wolfhound is 32 inches at the withers, and it should weigh at least 120 pounds. Bitches should be a minimum of 30 inches at the withers and weigh at least 105 pounds. These minimums pertain to animals over 18 months of age, and there are no maximum ranges for this breed. Power and symmetry are important when showing an Irish Wolfhound.
Coat and Color
This is a completely natural breed, with uncropped ears and undocked tails. Their short, harsh and wiry coat can be maintained by regular brushing and occasional hand plucking to tidy them up. Their coat should never appear styled, clipped or scissored. Companion dogs tend to have softer coats than show dogs. The recognized colors of the Irish Wolfhound are gray, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn or any other color that appears in the Deerhound.
Irish Wolfhounds shed year round, but weekly brushing is enough to keep loose hair under control and keep coat healthy. Wolfhounds are clean dogs, who only need bathed a few times per year, unless of course, they have gotten particularly dirty outdoors. The mane and body hair can be stripped by hand or with a stripping knife, but should not be thinned too much. The hair on the face and neck are what give him his distinctive look.
Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.