This venerable sighthound of great size, strength, and endurance is the tallest of dogs but not the heaviest. Irish Wolfhounds have been hunters, dogs of war, guard dogs, and family companions since the beginning of the Middle Ages. In fact, they were such accomplished hunters of large game such as wolves and Irish Elk that their traditional quarry was eventually eradicated from Ireland and their usefulness and thus their popularity declined. Fortunately, the breed had its admirers and its extinction was prevented. Today, they are primarily companion dogs but they retain their strong instinct to chase moving prey so should be exercised on leash or in a fenced area to prevent unwanted chases into dangerous situations. Their large size and exercise needs make this breed most suitable for suburban or country living and their natural, harsh coat requires regular brushing.
Each AKC approved purebred breed has its own national club. The mission of these “parent breed clubs” is to improve and preserve a particular breed by advancing knowledge about its history, its health, and care requirements. They also work to assure that the breed’s form and function remain true to its historical physical type and character: A Dalmatian, for instance, should be athletic and have a natural affinity for working with horses. A Fox Terrier should have the right body size and shape, and a drive to go after vermin.
Pet owners, breeders, trainers, veterinarians, and others with a special love for a breed become members of the parent breed club to meet like-minded enthusiasts and to support the club’s mission. The nation’s top breed experts are members of the parent club.
The national parent breed club is the first and best place to go to learn about a breed or find a knowledgeable, experienced breeder.