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  • Writer's pictureSteve Rigden

Irish Wolfhound


The Irish Wolfhound, a majestic and imposing breed, has a rich history intertwined with legends and tales that span centuries. Originating in Ireland, these dogs were highly esteemed not only for their size and strength but also for their loyalty and gentle nature.

The history of the Irish Wolfhound dates back to ancient times, with early mentions found in Roman records. The breed was admired for its prowess in hunting and guarding, particularly in the pursuit of wolves and large game. During the reign of the Celts in Ireland, these dogs became symbols of status and were valued by both royalty and warriors.

One of the legendary stories associated with Irish Wolfhounds centers around their use in warfare. In battles against invading forces, the Irish Wolfhound was renowned for its fearlessness and effectiveness. The Celts, recognizing the breed's loyalty and protective instincts, trained them for battle alongside their warriors. These formidable dogs were not only protectors but also symbols of strength and courage on the battlefield.

As the name suggests, Irish Wolfhounds were instrumental in hunting wolves, which posed a threat to livestock and communities in Ireland. Their size and agility made them well-suited for this task. The legend of the Irish Wolfhound's wolf-hunting prowess adds to the mystique of the breed, highlighting their importance in safeguarding the Irish countryside.

During the Middle Ages, the Irish Wolfhound faced a decline in numbers. Factors such as wars, land enclosures, and changes in hunting practices contributed to the diminishing population. By the 17th century, the breed's population had dwindled significantly, and efforts were made to revive it.

In the 19th century, Captain George Augustus Graham played a pivotal role in the Irish Wolfhound's preservation. He embarked on a mission to revive the breed by crossing the remaining dogs with other breeds such as the Scottish Deerhound, Great Dane, and Borzoi. Captain Graham's efforts successfully reestablished the breed, although it led to a variation in appearance and temperament.

One of the most famous Irish Wolfhounds in history is the legendary hound Gelert, whose story mirrors the more famous Greyfriars Bobby. Gelert was said to belong to Llywelyn the Great, a medieval Welsh prince. According to the legend, Llywelyn returned home one day to find his baby's crib overturned and Gelert with blood around his mouth. Believing the dog had harmed his child, Llywelyn slew Gelert, only to discover later that Gelert had saved the baby from a wolf. Filled with remorse, Llywelyn buried Gelert in a place that came to be known as "Beddgelert" or Gelert's Grave.

In the late 19th century, efforts to standardize the breed's characteristics led to the establishment of the Irish Wolfhound Club in 1885. This organization played a crucial role in shaping the breed standard and ensuring its preservation. Notable breeders like Colonel David Graham and others contributed to the Irish Wolfhound's resurgence.

The Irish Wolfhound's temperament evolved over the years, reflecting its history as both a warrior's companion and a gentle giant. Despite its imposing size, the breed is known for its affectionate and friendly nature, making it a beloved companion in modern times.

Today, the Irish Wolfhound stands as a testament to resilience and preservation. Its regal appearance and gentle demeanor make it a cherished breed around the world. While the historical tales may add a touch of mystique, the contemporary Irish Wolfhound embodies the spirit of loyalty and companionship that has defined it through the ages.


The Irish Wolfhound, 一個雄偉且令人印象深刻的品種,擁有一段豐富的歷史,糾結著數世紀的傳說和故事。起源於愛爾蘭,這些狗不僅因其龐大的體型和力量而受到高度尊崇,也因其忠誠和溫和的天性而倍受推崇。

愛爾蘭狼犬的歷史可以追溯到古代,早期的記載可在羅馬的記錄中找到。這個品種因其在狩獵和守衛方面的高超表現而受到讚美,特別是在對抗狼和大型獵物的過程中。在凱爾特人統治愛爾蘭的時期,這些狗成為地位的象徵,被王室和戰士們所重視。

愛爾蘭狼犬與戰爭有關的傳奇故事之一,著重於它們在戰爭中的應用。在與入侵勢力的戰鬥中,愛爾蘭狼犬以其無畏和高效的特質而聞名。凱爾特人認識到這個品種的忠誠和保護本能,訓練它們在戰場上與戰士們一起參與戰鬥。這些強大的狗不僅是保護者,還是在戰場上力量和勇氣的象徵。

正如名稱所示,愛爾蘭狼犬在狩獵狼方面功不可沒,這對於保護愛爾蘭的鄉村至關重要。它們的體型和靈活性使它們非常適合這項任務。愛爾蘭狼犬的傳說故事增加了這個品種的神秘感,突顯了它在保護愛爾蘭鄉間的重要性。

在中世紀,愛爾蘭狼犬的數量銳減。戰爭、土地封閉和狩獵方式的改變等因素導致了品種數量的減少。到了17世紀,這一品種的數量急劇下降,人們開始努力挽回。

在19世紀,喬治·奧古斯都斯·格雷厄姆船長在愛爾蘭狼犬的保護方面發揮了關鍵作用。他通過將剩下的狗與其他品種,如蘇格蘭鹿犬、大丹和博爾索伊,進行交配,致力於挽救這一品種。格雷厄姆船長的努力成功地使這一品種得以恢復,盡管這導致了外觀和氣質上的變異。

愛爾蘭狼犬歷史上最著名的一個是傳奇的狗蓋勒特(Gelert)。他的故事與著名的格雷弗雷爾斯·鮑比(Greyfriars Bobby)相似。據說蓋勒特屬於中世紀威爾斯親王呂埃林大帝。根據傳說,呂埃林有一天回家發現嬰兒的搖籃被推翻了,蓋勒特的嘴邊沾滿了血。呂埃林認為狗傷害了他的孩子,於是殺死了蓋勒特,後來才發現蓋勒特實際上是救了孩子,免於一頭狼的襲擊。呂埃林充滿了悔意,他在一個地方埋葬了蓋勒特,這地方後來被稱為「貝德蓋勒特」或蓋勒特的墳墓。

在19世紀末,努力使品種特徵標準化的工作導致了愛爾蘭狼犬俱樂部的成立(1885年)。這個組織在制定品種標準和確保其保存方面發揮了至關重要的作用。像大衛·格雷厄姆上校等著名的養犬人為愛爾蘭狼犬的復興做出了貢獻。

愛爾蘭狼犬的性格隨著時間的推移而演變,反映了它作為戰士

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