Weighing up to 120 pounds and measuring 35 inches high at the shoulders, Irish wolfhounds are most recognized for their impressive size. First appearing on record in A.D. 391 these gentle giants were used for a variety of tasks ranging from guarding castles to playing with royal children. Despite their commanding size, Irish wolfhounds are prone to serious health conditions and live only, on average, between six and eight years.
Considerations Before Buying
Compared to other breeds, Irish wolfhounds live significantly shorter lives -- a factor the Irish Wolfhound Club of America asks all perspective owners to consider before acquiring the dog. If you own an Irish wolfhound, be prepared for your dog to encounter serious health conditions. Irish wolfhounds suffer from genetic disorders associated with the breed including high rates of bone cancer and dangerously enlarged hearts. Because of their large size, these dog are at higher risk for painful hip dysplasia and other joint problems. Irish wolfhounds are also the breed most likely to suffer from bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists, cutting off the blood flow through the body. Despite these health concerns, proper veterinary care can help owners and their Irish wolfhounds spend many healthy years together.
Jen Gehring is a political consultant and college law professor. She holds a J.D. from American University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Cincinnati. She began working as a professional writer in 2010.