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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。



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