According to AKC Standards, “Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with sight." Irish Wolfhounds are massive dogs that can be an imposing force, but are true gentle giants. Reliable and loyal family companions, this breed bonds deeply with his people and wants to be included in all aspects of family life. Their sheer size is enough to scare away those with ill intentions, but Irish Wolfhounds are by no means guard dogs. They are polite to strangers and many expect that all people are willing to (and should) provide belly rubs on command. They are too large to safely play with small children, but Wolfhounds are very patient with kids who want to climb all over them and and enjoy romping with older kids.
Though large and athletic looking, Wolfhounds tend to be couch potatoes and need to be coaxed to get out and exercise. Several daily walks and the occasional weekly opportunity to stretch their legs and run is enough exercise to keep a Wolfhound happy. Finding the right balance of exercise to keep him from becoming destructive can be tricky, and often people get lulled into laziness because their dog isn't itching to get outside. On the flip side, some Wolfhounds are rambunctious and hyperactive and that can be hard to quell, even with proper exercise.
These dogs are far to big and clumsy to live in an apartment. Without enough space to move about, the Wolfhound will knock over tables, lamps and drinks.
Irish Wolfhounds are difficult to train. They have a mind of their own and like to do things on their own terms. Inexperienced dog owners will often back down from training exercises when their Wolfhound exhibits stubbornness or boredom because this giant dog can be intimidating, but consistency in training and setting boundaries is necessary. They are puppies until they are about two years old, and if they aren't properly trained by the time adolescence sets in, it can be difficult to reign them in.
Animal aggression is common among Wolfhounds. They were originally bred as combat dogs, and watched over sleeping armies at night. Eventually they were used to hunt wolves, and their hunting instincts are still present today. Even though this breed is pleasant with people and gets along with other family pets or dogs he meets at the park, Wolfhounds can become aggressive toward dogs he does not know who trespass on his property.