Guideline for Selection and Purchase


The Irish wolfhound is a hound of great size and is built on the lines of a heavy, rough coated greyhound.   
He is noble in bearing and has a build that bespeaks speed, power and endurance.  Although his early
beginnings are lost in antiquity.  We owe the preservation of the breed to Captain Graham, an English
breeder, who devoted his life to breeding what specimens he could find to prevent the extinction of the
Irish Wolfhound.   As a companion, this hound is unexcelled, but he certainly is NOT the dog for everyone
as his requirements are considerable.  He needs the best of food to support his rapid growth, more than
average exercise, fenced property and the most responsible of owners.  Like most giant breeds, he is not
as long lived as his smaller brothers.  He requires a home and family and does not do well without
love and personal attention.


If you have decided that the Irish Wolfhound is the breed for you, it is imperative that you invest
the time and effort to find out the characteristics, requirements, advantages and drawbacks of owning
this great hound.  Attend dog shows in your area and study the Wolfhounds as they are judged; talk to
exhibitors and breeders.  Visit as many kennels as possible and compare the puppies they have available.
5 week old Wolfhound puppies

Ask to see the parents of the puppies, puppies of this breed change continually from infancy to adulthood,
but will more or less resemble their parents when mature.  Be honest with the  breeders you visit.  Tell
them what you want in an Irish wolfhound companion or show dog.  As a novice, you will be in a better
position to finally select and purchase a puppy that will fit into your home as a friend and companion if you
are well  informed about the breed you have chosen.  The ethical, concerned breeder will ask you many
personal questions because he cares about the welfare of each of his puppies.  The unethical breeder is
only concerned with your checkbook.  If for some reason you are unable to keep the dog, contact the breeder.

                                                    Irish wolfhound dam with 1-week old puppies

1.  Know the breeder you are buying from.  Visit him, talk to him.  Get acquainted with his stock and his
breeding record.  Puppies may not be immediately available.

2.  Check his kennel for cleanliness, odor, clean drinking and eating utensils and the care and housing he
gives his hounds.

3.  Puppies should be healthy, clean and happy with clear eyes and noses.  A puppy should stand with all
four feet pointing forward, tail long and below the hocks, big tight feet, heavy bone and a body that is
long rather than square.

4.  Puppies should be out-going and curious with a happy, “tail-wagging” disposition, rather than cowed
or shrinking from visitors.

5.  Age is important.  Beware of the breeder who tries to sell you a puppy that is 5 or 6 weeks old.  Due
to the Irish Wolfhound puppy’s particular nutritional needs and slow maturation rate, reputable breeders
do not let a puppy go to a new home before it is 10 or 12 weeks old.

6. There is no preference given to color in the Breed Standard or in the show ring.  You should not be
charged a premium price for a specific color.

7.  Faults.  The visible faults you can check in a young puppy of 10 weeks are a serious over or under bite,
feet turning badly in or out and in males, one or two undescended testicles.  It is your responsibility as a
buyer to discuss faults you don’t understand with the breeder.

8.  It is the breeder’s responsibility to supply the purchaser with full feeding instructions through 6 months in
writing, a complete medical record, a 3 to 4 generation pedigree and AKC registration papers, unless the
puppy is sold as a pet; in that case the papers may be withheld through a written contract.

9.   BEWARE OF PUPPY MILLS AND PET SHOPS a Puppy mill is a kennel that raises one or more
breeds on a production line basis for resale to commercial outlets (such as a pet shop) or to brokers.  
These puppies are shipped sometimes as early as 5 weeks, from dams that are improperly fed and cared
for during pregnancy and without the socialization and nutritional and physical care so necessary for healthy
development.  Such puppies are usually retarded physically, emotionally and nutritionally.  
There is no “BARGIN” Irish Wolfhound.
Recommended Reading
The Magnificent Irish Wolfhound
by Mary McBryde, UK edition, Press or internet

The Irish Wolfhound: The Symbol of Celtic Splendor
by Mary McBryde  US edition, Howell Books

The New Complete Irish Wolfhound
by Joel Samaha, Howell Books

The Irish Wolfhound Guide
by A. W. De Quoy

The Irish Wolfhound Quarterly  (Magazine- IW only)
Hoflin Publishing, Inc.
4401 Zephyr St. - Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033
                                                  FACTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASE

1.   If you live in an apartment, look into some breed that is smaller.  A wolfhound requires a fenced yard and
room to grow and exercise.
2.   If you want a wolfhound for the family, but your wife wants something smaller, think twice.  Statistics prove that the
wife does most of the feeding, training, cleaning up and grooming  As your hound grows in size, your wife’s
enthusiasm will fade in relation to the increased needs of this giant.
Responsibility.  Once you have acquired a  Wolfhound, you also acquire a whole new set of responsibilities
and are no longer the carefree soul you once were.  You can not run off for the weekend and leave him to the
tender care of your neighbors or board him with a friend unless he is a good friend indeed.  He is a dog that
requires a lot of personal attention and supervision through his first year, not one that thrives on a bowl of food
and a bed in the garage.   If your life style is unsettled, you are inclined to move frequently or travel a lot, are
contemplating the service as a career or are on a limited budget, possession of an Irish Wolfhound can pose some
real problems.  An adult hound is not easy to place in another home; getting back your original purchase price
through re-sale is next to impossible; in your desperation to unload an unwanted hound, you might inadvertently
let him fall into the hands of a commercial breeder.
Breeding, Breeding any purebred stock is an art and a science requiring an in-depth knowledge of genetics,
bloodlines and breed  characteristics.  To insure future breed strength and preservation of Irish Wolfhound
type, it is essential that only the most superior hounds are bred.  The outlay of money and personal effort
required to raise a healthy litter to saleable age is considerable and the subsequent necessary  “screening” of
prospective, qualified buyers is a monumental task.  If you have the desire to breed  for income or to
supplement income choose a breed that is less costly to raise and has a more extensive sales potential.   
Showing, If you want a show dog, it is essential that you make this fact clear to the breeder.  NO breeder
can guarantee you a championship, but he can select a puppy that, in his opinion, is of good quality and free
of visible faults that would eliminate the puppy from show competition.
6.  Is he a guard dog?  This hound, although slow to mature, is intelligent and can be trained for Obedience, or just
good manners, if the owner is patient and capable of communicating with him.  But, if it is a guard dog you want,
get one of the working breeds.  The Irish wolfhound is much too sensitive for police training.