FCI- Standard No 160 / 02. 04. 2001 / GB        




UTILIZATION :  Up to the end of the17th century, Irish Wolfhounds were used for hunting wolves and deer in Ireland. They were also used for hunting the wolves that infested large areas of Europe before the forests were cleared.


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CLASSIFICATIONS FCI :     Group  10 Sighthounds.
                                                 Section  2 Rough-haired Sighthounds.
                                                 Without working trial.     

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: We know the continental Celts kept a greyhound probably descended from the greyhound first depicted in Egyptian paintings.  Like their continental cousins, the Irish Celts were interested in breeding large hounds. These large Irish hounds could have had smooth or rough coats, but in later times, the rough coat predominated possibly because of the Irish climate.  The first written account of these dogs was by a Roman Consul 391 A.D. but they were already established in Ireland in the first century A.D. when Setanta changed his name to Cu-Chulainn (the hound of Culann).  Mention is made of the Uisneach (1st century) taking 150 hounds with them in their flight to Scotland.  Irish hounds undoubtedly formed the basis of the Scottish Deerhound.  Pairs of Irish hounds were prized as gifts by the Royal houses of Europe, Scandinavia and elsewhere from the Middle ages to the 17th century.  They were sent to England, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Persia, India and Poland. In the15th century each county in Ireland was required to keep 24 wolfdogs to protect farmers' flocks from the ravages of wolves.  The Cromwellian prohibition (1652) on the export of Wolfhounds helped preserve their number for a time but the gradual disappearance of the wolf and continued demand abroad reduced their numbers almost to the point of extinction by the end of the 17th century.
The revival of interest in the breed accompanied the growth of Irish nationalism in the late 19th century.  The Irish Wolfhound became a living symbol of Irish culture and of the Celtic past.  At this time, one determined enthusiast, Capt. G A  Graham, set about obtaining  some of the few remaining hounds of the Wolfhound type that could still be found in Ireland, and with the use of Deerhound blood and the occasional outcross of Borzoi and Great Dane, he eventually achieved a type of dog that bred true in every generation.  The results were ultimately accepted as a legitimate revival of the breed.  The Irish Kennel Club scheduled a class for Irish Wolfhounds at their show in April 1879, and a club was formed in 1885.  The Irish Wolfhound now enjoys once again something of the reputation that it had in the Middle Ages.  Wolfhounds are now owned and bred in fairly large numbers outside of Ireland.

GENERAL APPEARANCE :  The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble.  Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity. 
Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average 32 inches (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage and symmetry.

BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT : “Lambs at home, lions in the chase”.


HEAD :  Long and level, carried high; the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes.

Skull : Not too broad



Muzzle : Long and moderately pointed.
Teeth : Scissor bite ideal, level acceptable.
Eyes : Dark.
Ears : Small, rose ears (Greyhound like in carriage).

NECK : Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.

BODY : Long, well ribbed up.
Back : Rather long than short.
Loins : Slightly arched
Croup : Great breadth across hips
Chest :  Very deep, moderately broad, breast wide.
Ribs : Well sprung        
Belly : Well drawn up.

TAIL:             Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.



Shoulders : Muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. 
Elbows : Well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.  
Forearm : Muscular, heavily boned, quite straight

Thighs : Long and muscular.
Stifle :   Nicely bent.
Second thigh : Well muscled, long and strong.
Hocks : Well let down and turning neither in nor out.

FEET : Moderately large and round, neither turned inward nor outwards.  Toes, well arched and closed.  Nails, very strong and curved.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Movements easy and active.


HAIR : Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry.  Hair over eyes and beard especially wiry.

COLOUR AND MARKINGS : The recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn or any colour that appears in the Deerhound

Desired height :     averaging 32 inches  (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs.
Minimum height :   Dogs       31 inches  (79 cm).
Minimum weight :  Dogs    120  pounds (54.5kg).
Minimum height :   Bitches   28  inches  (71 cm).
Minimum weight :  Bitches   90  pounds (40.5 kg).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

  • Too light or too heavy a head.
  • Too highly arched frontal bone.
  • Crooked forelegs; weak pasterns.
  • Weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle.
  • Too short in body.
  • Back sunken or hollow or quite straight.
  • Large ears and hanging flat to the face.
  • Twisted feet.
  • Spreading toes.
  • Short neck; full dewlap.
  • Chest too narrow or too broad.
  • Tail excessively curled.
  • Nose of any colour other than black.
  • Lips of any colour other than black.
  • Very light eyes. Pink or liver coloured eyelids.

NOTE : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum

Automatic translate from

In a generalized manner

The Wolfhound, even if belongs to the levrieri, is distinguished in several points, in particular for its distaccato behavior less in the comparisons of the sort human, but above all for its nature of defender: it does not hesitate to make forehead the threats. Ancient hunter of lupi, has conserved a remarkable courage and a daring that only asks for being able themselves to express.

The long head, the skull not too much wide and the long snout and oderatamente appuntito. The eyes are dark, the small ears and capacities as those of the Greyhound.
. Il neck rather along and muscoloso, very arched and lacking in giogaia. . Il wide chest, the thorax much deep one, the back devout along that short, the arch kidney, the muscolose thighs and the moderately large and round feet.

Ransom: the Height of the male of minimum 79 cm for a weight of 54 kg, that one of the minimal female 71 cm for a weight at least 40,5 kg.

TAIL: long and leggermente ricurva, of moderate thickness and very covered of hairs.

Colors: the recognized colors are the gray, the tigrato one, the red one, the black one, the pure white man, color the fallow deer and all the colors admitted for the Deerhound.  

To avoid

. Short neck

. . High or too much convex frontal bone

. Orecchie large

. Insellato back or too much straight

. Tight or too much too much wide thorax



date of publication of the standard originates them enforced: 06 june 1988

Classification F.C.I.: Group 10, levrieri.

SHORT HISTORICAL PANORAMA. The same name of the race says that draft of a dog used in Ireland for the hunting to the lupo, also existing various testimonies on others employs. Its date of birth the many ancient and students are uniforms between that they support its descendancys from the Deerhound and others that, allopposto, assert that of it is the progenitore. And much devout probable one, instead, than drifts from the same stock that has given life also to the Scottish Levriere and that only the environmental conditions has determined them the structure and size differences that divide the Wolfhound from the Deerhound.
This race the high dog devout of all catching up the remarkable height of minimum 79 cm. to the garrese.
It is said also that these levrieri have taken part, fighting, to the games circensi; beyond that to the hunting to the lupo they came used also in war. Of the rest the monarchs of Ireland brought on their armors the figure of levriere with recorded the maxim: Cake when carezzato comes, terrible if it comes provoked. THE STANDARD

General aspect . . LIrish Wolfhound does not have to be heavy and massive as lAlano, but a lot of devout of the Deerhound, to which however it must in a generalized manner somigliare in the type. Of great ransom and imposing aspect, much muscoloso, has one strong but full construction of melted grace, movements and lives to us; head and neck high capacities; the tail capacity with one light curve allestremit.

head . . Long, the frontal boneses leggermente found and smallest furrow between the eyes. Skull not too much wide.
snout . . Along and moderately appuntito.
Closing of I recorded to you . . Ideal to scissor, accepted to tenaglia.
Orecchie . . Small and capacities like those of the Greyhound.
Neck . . Rather along, much fort and muscoloso, very arch, without giogaia or skin rilassata to the throat.
Thorax . . Much deep one, wide chest.
Back . . Devout along that short. Arched kidney.
VENTRE . . Very found.
Tail . . Long and leggermente curve, of moderate thickness and very covered of hair.

Front . . Muscolose, oblique shoulders, that they allow thorax amplitude. Elbows very posizionati under the log n in within n in outside. Muscoloso forearm and lintero strong limb and very straight.
Posterior . . Muscolose thighs and long and strong leg like in the Greyhound, garretti low n turn to you in within, n in outside.
feet . . Moderately large and round, n it turns to you in within, n in outside. Fingers well arch and sluices. Nails many forts and ricurve.
Hair . . Rough and hard on log limbs and head; particularly rough and long over the eyes and under the jaw.
Color and spots . . The recognized colors are the gray, the tigrato one, the red one, the black one, the pure, fulvo or every white man the other color who appears in the Deerhound.
Height and weight . . Minimal Laltezza in the males would have to be of 79 cm. and 54,5 the minimal weight of Kg; for females 71 cm. and 40,5 Kg. Whichever subject under these values would have to be excluded from the competitions. The great ransom, with laltezza to the garrese and the proporzionata length of the log, lobiettivo to catch up; it wants that the race is become stabilized between the 81 and 86 cm. in the males, always showing the demanded power, lagilit, the courage and the simmetria.

DEFECTS . . Light or too much too much heavy head; too much arched frontal bone, large and hanging orecchie against cheeks; short neck; giogaia, tight or too much too much wide thorax, insellata or completely straight dorsal line; front limbs not in perpendicularly; metacarpi excessive flessi; feet turn to you, open fingers; tail too much ricurva; posterior weak person and general musculature deficiency; too much short log; palpebral rhymes rose or color liver; labbra and tartufo of various color from the black one; eyes much luminosity.
Famous . . The males must have two testicoli of normal aspect, completely reductions in the scroto.