Frequently asked questions
your questions answered
Living with a Wolfhound
Wolfhounds are quite lazy and will quite happily snooze for 18 hours a day. On a large property wolfhounds effectively self-exercise through play. For a small property, a walk twice a day is preferable and for a flat four times a day.
It is most important not to over-exercise puppies for the first year as their joints are still soft and over-exercise can bring on hip and/or elbow dysplasia. Because of the risk of bloat/torsion do not exercise wolfhounds immediately before or after feeding.
The other side of the ‘ gentle giant’ coin is that wolfhounds thrive on attention and affection. They do best when they have status in a pack and a human family is a pack to a wolfhound. So, it is greatly preferable to allow them into the house and also to sleep inside like the rest of the pack. If they have to be left outside for part of the day they must have suitable shelter, such as an outside room or shed with bedding and, preferably, a canine companion.
Wolfhounds do not cope well with being left outside full-time. If this is your intention, another breed would likely suit your lifestyle better?
The great majority of them are (they are not called the “gentle giant” for nothing) however do not assume that this is a given. Irish Wolfhounds are GIANTS and whilst they may master their big bodies once they are adults, a boisterous Irish Wolfhound puppy can send an adult ‘ flying’ – and therefore could unintentionally injure a child. They are rarely aggressive towards people or children, but some (especially those with limited or no exposure to children) may be uncomfortable around children.
However, in general, if raised properly they are great family dogs. It should, nevertheless, be stressed that children should be taught to respect the wolfhound and should never be allowed to tease or hurt (pull ears and tails) a dog, even if the dog is extremely tolerant of such behaviour. This is not fair towards the animal and if the animal were eventually to retaliate the ramifications could be severe – both physically and emotionally.
Children should NEVER be allowed to sit or ride on a wolfhound. Although they may resemble a mini pony they are not horses and can suffer severe spinal injuries from even a small child’ s weight.
In general, yes. However, Irish Wolfhounds are predators and have a predator’ s instinctive attitude towards potential prey and prey-species. The intensity of the prey instinct varies from individual to individual. Small animals, including cats and small dogs, that move rapidly may bring out the prey instinct.
If you want to keep a Wolfhound with small dogs or cats they need to be exposed to these animals from a young age and learn that chasing is not allowed.