Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Wolfhound

Meet the tallest of the dog breeds-- the Irish Wolfhound. These gigantic canines can stand 3ft tall at the shoulder!

Not only are they the tallest dog, but they are also one of the oldest breeds out there. Their ancestors appear in art and writings that date back to around 300BC, and they could be even older than that! They were bred to be all-purpose dogs, able to be used for war purposes, as well as herding and hunting. For a while they were only be owned by members of the nobility, and were involved in wolf, bear, and elk hunts. As those species became rare and extinct due to over-hunting, the Wolfhound lost part of its purpose and dwindled in number.

The breed was revived in the late 19th century by using the few remaining Wolfhounds and crossing them with Great Danes, Deerhounds, Borzoi, and Mastiffs. The results was the breed we now have, and its first breed club was founded in 1885.

Irish Wolfhounds are very sweet-natured, easygoing dogs. They are very loyal, gentle dogs, and are great with children. The downside to such a gentle giant? They have a very short lifespan (usually only 6-8 years), and are susceptible for bone cancer and heart disease.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Ireland
Size : Height around 32in (81cm), Weight around 120lbs (54kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Canidae -- Genus : Canis -- Species : C. lupus -- Subspecies : C. l. familiaris
Image : Dux

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