The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest breed in the world so, despite their gentle and affectionate nature, a lot of thought has to be given before taking on a dog of this size.
They are the size of a small pony, everything about them is long but well-built and they have a shaggy, wiry coat that comes in a range of colours but is commonly grey. Their name derives from the fact that they were, at one time, actually used for hunting prey like wolves, boar and deer and they were highly prized but they fell out of favour when there were no more boar and wolves in Ireland to hunt.
Like other giant dogs, Irish Wolfhounds are good natured, loyal, intelligent and eager to please but they can be rather clumsy as they grow and have to get used to their size. They get along well with all other animals, adults and children. They need a decent amount of exercise but no more than many of the smaller breeds and care must be taken when they are young not to put too much strain on their giant frame.
Their coat needs regular brushing and occasional stripping. They can be prone to cardiomyopathy, bone cancer, bloat, PRA, Von Willebrand disease and hip dysplasia.