Why The Irish Wolfhound is Not a Practical Dog for Most Families

irish wolfhound

The Irish wolfhound is a beautiful dog that matures quickly and is very large in stature. Many people see this lovely, large breed and fall in love with it and want one at home. The only issue with this, however, is that the Irish wolfhound for the first year, at least, does not make a wonderful pet. These are very excited, exuberant dogs that come with serious health considerations. They grow very quickly, but they still behave like puppies for a long time. They’re not mature enough to avoid simple injuries

The Irish wolfhound has very long legs that are very prone to injury. This dog has bones that are so fragile they can break with a simple slip on a slick floor. Most people and dogs are a lot sturdier and more secure than this, but the Irish wolfhound is not. This is a very needy dog in terms of protection, and owning one means making a lot of sacrifice for the first year.

The deal with these dogs is that they are very friendly, loyal and affectionate. They are also the largest breed of this type and some of the tallest dogs in the world. They have a lot of health problems, and they don’t live very long. Whereas most dogs live 13+ years, this one has a lifespan closer to 6-8 years. It’s not ideal for children because of its large size and its fragility, and it’s not for very active owners.

Its health problems take precedence in the life of its owner for at least the first year of its life. This is a dog that isn’t meant for normal dog living for a year, at least. What it boils down to is that if you’re looking for a healthy, sturdy dog you can take on long walks, play fetch with in the park and enjoy wrestling around with the children, this is not the dog for you. In fact, this dog is not one recommended in homes with small children, in small homes or for owners who are not home the majority of the time.

While we’d never want to turn anyone away from owning such a loyal and wonderful breed of dog, it’s in your best interest and your dog’s best interest to know that there is a long list of “Don’ts” associated with owning an Irish wolfhound, and just this list alone can make you realize just how impractical this dog is for traditional reasons.

Don’t Take Puppies on Walks

It never fails to surprise people who have a new Irish wolfhound that they’re not permitted to take their dogs on a walk for the first six months of its life. These are dogs that are very fragile, and over-exercising them or over-walking them can result in a great deal of injury. Did you know that taking an Irish wolfhound for even a five-minute walk can seriously injure to dog to the point that it has many health issues for the rest of its life? This dog is one that’s difficult to own for the first year because of its fragility. Even after the dog turns six months of age, it’s best to take the dog only for short walks that are less than five minutes. Otherwise, the dog could become too excited and injure itself.

Don’t Socialize This Dog

You don’t want to have an Irish wolfhound around other dogs for at least one year. If you cannot avoid this because you have another animal in the home or because you have a houseguest with an animal that’s coming to visit, at least make sure that the dogs are not left together alone at all – ever. You will need to supervise all their interaction to ensure that your dog remains calm and does not attempt to play with the other dogs. This could injure your dog in a way that will affect it forever, and not allow your dog to have a healthy life or even an enjoyable one once it’s old enough to stop worrying about the potential fragility of the dog’s bones and size.

Don’t Let Your Puppy Go Anywhere Alone

This is perhaps one of the biggest downfalls of having this type of dog at home. The Irish wolfhound, as you already know from reading this information, is very fragile and has very long, very fragile legs that are very much prone to injury. This is a dog that simply cannot be left to travel alone around the house. It cannot spend time on slippery surfaces such as wood floors, tile floors, marble floors or freshly mopped floors. Laminate flooring is also dangerous for these dogs. If they slip even just a little – and think how often it happens to you – they could damage those very thin, frail bones and end up with a broken leg that could have negative effects on the dog’s life forever.

Your dog cannot be around stairs. If you have stairs in your home, you’ll want to block them off and keep them from seeing the stairs and attempting the climb the stairs. One missed step can result in an injury impossible to fix. It is absolutely imperative that you keep any sort of impact to the joints of this type of dog to a complete minimum at all times to ensure that the dog is able to avoid injury.

Finally, do not allow your dog to go near uneven or rough ground. This includes a yard that might have holes, driveways that might have potholes or hidden dangers and anything in between. If your dog were to step in a hole, it could cause serious damage to the dog’s limbs.

The best way to ensure that your Irish wolfhound does not end up with a severe injury is to keep the dog in a home that has no flooring other than carpet and block off all areas that have flooring that could cause harm to the dog. It’s also a good idea to keep the dog confined to a very small play area that does not leave enough room for running or playing in a way that might be dangerous to the dog’s fragile nature.

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14 Comments

  1. I would just like to share the viewpoint of my friend Eleonora, who has read the above article and responded in this way:-

    I really think wolfhounds are wonderful dogs very clever and fearless. Fragile? I don’t think so, they don’t suffer in cold weather or have peculiar problems with food or playing. Mine sleep and live inside but also spend a lot of time outside with other dogs , cats, horses…of course when they are very young you pay attention they don’t damage their joints…like any other pup or foal! They can have health issues …like other breeds, I had some which were ten without ever having any problems. Once Dew crashed playing with a foal…she had twenty stitches but was keeping playing. We walk for hours in the woods with rain or snow, one of my males was used lots of Times at the rescue to help socialise with difficult dogs before they were rehomed.In my opinion this is a tough breed…and this author never met one!

    Eleonora is a Wolfhound owner, mother and highly qualified, experienced veterinary surgeon in her native country of Italy.

  2. I wholeheartedly disagree with this article. Our Wolfhound has been the biggest blessing to our family, 3 small children, our other dog and 9 chickens. As with anyone considering bringing a dog into your family, you must educate yourself about your choice. However, a lot of the content in this article is laughable. Ours is fully involved in all of our family activities and hasn’t missed a beat. If our family is ever so fortunate to have another wolfhound one day, we would be thrilled. She is the most gentle being in our household, outdoors and indoors. I recommend you have some interaction with a Wolfie and see what wonderful beings they are.

  3. You’re having a laugh lol!!!! my first wolfhound and my son grew up together!!! they are the most gentlest of creatures and perfect for people with young families. Yes you have to be careful with exercise during the first year and yes best not to exercise until they are 6 months, but that’s the same for most giant breeds….I have laminate floors, stairs and a very muddy dug up garden lol with three wolfhounds, 3yrs, 1yr and 5 months…yes they have to be supervised and the pup can’t run with the other two yet!! but it’s just about being sensible. My pup is taken and socialised, she goes to puppy classes and is taken out in the car to sit around the shops or down the park to say hello to everyone. Think you need to get someone who knows about IW report for you in future, because this is totally inaccurate.

  4. Ginger McDevitt upvoted you on Why The Irish Wolfhound is Not a Practical Dog for Most Families 6 hours ago
    Shanna Morandi 21 hours ago RemovedI would question whether Ms. Raiford has ever met an Irish Wolfhound, if this article wasn’t so potentially damaging to the lives of Wolfhounds it would be unutterably hilarious. My suggestion would be that in future if you don’t know anything about a subject refrain from writing an article about it, it’s easily enough done, I do it every day. Don’t just make things up and give ludicrous and terrible advice.
    Ginger McDevitt upvoted you on Why The Irish Wolfhound is Not a Practical Dog for Most Families 8 hours ago
    Shanna Morandi 20 hours ago RemovedI would just like to share the viewpoint of my friend Eleonora, who has read the above article and responded in this way:- I really think wolfhounds are wonderful dogs very clever and fearless. Fragile? I don’t think so, they don’t suffer in cold weather or have peculiar problems with food or playing. Mine sleep and live inside but also spend a lot of time outside with other dogs , cats, horses…of course when they are very young you pay attention they don’t damage their joints…like any other pup or foal! They can have health issues …like other breeds, I had some which were ten without ever having any problems. Once Dew crashed playing with a foal…she had twenty stitches but was keeping playing. We walk for hours in the woods with rain or snow, one of my males was used lots of Times at the rescue to help socialise with difficult dogs before they were rehomed.In my opinion this is a tough breed…and this author never met one! Eleonora is a Wolfhound owner, mother and highly qualified, experienced veterinary surgeon in her native country of Italy.
    Message from Disqus2 months ago

    1. IF I ‘up voted ‘ this codswallop of an article, it was because I touched the wrong spot on the screen. Have owned 6 Irish Wolfhounds in my lifetime, currently have 4 and they are the MOST gentle animal I have ever owned. Sturdy, strong, and dependable, their biggest shortcoming is their shorter lifespan compared to smaller breeds; something that all REDPONSIBLE Irish Wolfhound breeders are striving to improve. Once one of these awesome hounds enters your life, you never want to say goodbye.

  5. I think this shows that a little knowledge is dangerous. Many over exaggerations here, if people want to know if a Wolfhound is the breed for them they need to contact Breed Clubs for information. I can’t really see the point of this website if they cannot provide accurate information.

  6. While it is true that the owner of an IW needs to be careful about the health of their puppy (minimize jumping, joint strain, etc.), that doesn’t mean these dogs are made of glass! They aren’t overly active, but they are capable of medium levels of activity provided you are just attentive to their needs and limits.
    Why the hell wouldn’t you socialize a very large and powerful dog? Just monitor the interactions (like you should when your dog is playing with other dogs) and you should be just fine. In fact, given the shy, tender personalities of many IWs, socialization and interaction can do wonders to boost their self-confidence.
    These dogs require responsible ownership, like any dog, and basic empathy for their capacities, but this article has completely exaggerated their limits. I write this as the mama of a very healthy, very happy 4 year old IW male. To those of you considering this dog, please do your research elsewhere. If you follow the advice of this article, you will be limiting the life and experience of this wonderful breed unnecessarily.

  7. There are certainly reasons why Irish Wolfhounds are impractical pets for most families, but not for many of the reasons listed which are completely bogus. Where the author gets some of these claims is a total mystery.

    False: “So fragile they can break with a simple slip on a slick floor”
    False: “Do not allow your dog to go near uneven or rough ground”
    False and stupid (and potentially dangerous): “don’t want to have an Irish wolfhound around other dogs for at least one year”
    False: “cannot spend time on slippery surfaces such as wood floors”

    Tiffany is either making this stuff up, repeating something she heard from someone equally uninformed, or making claims based on the experience of one very unlucky dog.

  8. Seriously, has this person even met an Irish Woldhound. I could go on and on about how misinformed this person is but I doubt it would make a difference to someone so sure they ate right. My advice, meet a wolfhound, spend time with one, speak to owners. Then you are getting proper information from people who know the breed.

  9. This article was clearly written by a VERY inexperienced person. I’m trying to understand how such an article can be written with no references.. This is just sad. You need to fact check and maybe spend some time with a wolfhound one day?

  10. Knowledge is power; and unfortunately the person writing this article has very little knowledge {if any} of the Irish Wolfhound. To educate yourself about this wonderful breed do some research. In North America, two great places to begin are the Irish Wolfhound Club of America (www.iwclubofamerica.org) and The Irish Wolfhound Club of Canada (www.iwcc.ca)
    The article above is really doing a great disservice to the breed, perhaps Puppy Toob, should reconsider having it on their site.

  11. Cannot believe how misinformed this article is about the Wolfhound! As a breeder of this magnificent breed, I wish you had actually spoken with breeders and Irish Wolfhound enthusiasts before you had written a word of this! I have 3 small children and my daughter even shows my heart hounds and I could not recommend this breed higher for families or any human for that matter!
    My boy in these photos was raised with his two Irish Wolfhound males, the dogs are 5 months younger than my son and I would not trust any other breed of dog with the amount of play and fun my kids have with these gentle giants!

  12. Can I just say “what utter crap”! Our dog goes up and down the stairs several times a day and has all her life. She’s healthy, she’s sturdy and has been a wonderful companion for our small child. She plays hard and she plays rough and has sustained no injuries. She is an excellent MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY. Not just a mere pet. She runs, she jumps. She is the most well behaved dog I’ve ever owned. She is NOT destructive and fragile and all that other nonsense you claim. I’d venture to say you’ve not owned one. And I pity the Irish Wolfhound that would end up in your care as from what you have written, it would suffer the most miserable of existences.

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