Monday, March 29, 2010

Specialty show and Rally

Yesterday and today the PVIWC held a Specialty show. What that means is that it was an AKC sanctioned show that was only one breed. In this case Irish Wolfhounds.

Let me tell you, IW and their people know how to have a good time! The show was held at the beautiful Turf Valley resort, on the golf course. Despite cold weather and rain, everyone at the show seemed to be having a good time.

Especially the hounds! Several times during the show, we would hear one or two hounds start to howl and in about a minute a good number of the rest would join in. The whole resort would be treated to a chorus of howling. It was hilarious! The first time it happened, I thought a siren set them off, but then I realized all that noise was just coming from them.

Finn and I had our first Rally, we went in Novice A which is for people and dogs just getting started in showing. In Rally there are two parts to scoring. There are ribbons for placing, but in order for the score earned to count it has to be a qualifying score. The pair must earn at least 70 points out of 100 to qualify. Finn and I received a score of 86 and third place, so we earned our first qualifying score! Of course we made mistakes, or rather I did. I rushed Finn through a sit, and went off course on one obstacle, but in all I was very pleased with how we did.
(for details on Rally, see the AKC site)

Today we just watched the show. Dress for Rally is casual, but for the breed classes I was interested to see more formal clothes. I greatly admired the women running their hounds (in the soggy grass) in dress suits and shoes!

I was especially impressed with the camaraderie between the competitors and the good nature of the hounds.

You have to admit the weather was probably quite authentic, LOL!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the one year anniversary of our adoption of Finn. A year ago he was a very different dog.

He was scared, bewildered, and very worried about what had happened to his life.

Today we went on our usual morning walk.

We protested the leash a bit.

We walked with our girlfriend Teddy.

Then we played with a ball in the front yard.

It's really hard to catch a wolfhound with the camera when they are really playing!

The ball was tormenting him, he had to kill it.

Home for a happy dog!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More book reviews! Updated!

Today I have 3 books where the main character is an Irish Wolfhound, or a cross.

Boru: The Story of an Irish Wolfhound by J. Allan Dunn written in 1926.

This is the book I read first, I ordered it from Amazon. The story is set in the USA, and is of a winning show dog who finds himself on his own in the west. It was typical of the era, definitely reminds you of The Call of the Wild. I enjoyed it, but I felt the author had no real knowledge of IW.

Finn The Wolfhound by A.J. Dawson written in 1908.

This book was written before Boru, and after reading it, I can't help but think Boru was a copy of this story. A.J. Dawson's story was set in England and Australia, and also has a champion show dog surviving in the wilds. The advantage to this story is that it is partially based in fact. A.J. Dawson was a breeder of Irish Wolfhounds, he did have a champion dog, the dog's mother died as the one in the story did, and he did go to Australia and make his fortune. I enjoyed this story much more. The quirks and character of the IW was much better.

Jan, Son of Finn by A.J. Dawson written in 1928.

This story is a continuation of the previous one. The main character is an Irish Wolfhound and Bloodhound cross, the son of the IW from the previous story. It takes place in England and Canada, and while a good story, I didn't find it as engaging simply because the main character didn't have as much personality.

All three of these stories show the fascination the literary world had at that time with the wilderness. I found it especially poignant how the loyalty and faithfulness of the IW was emphasised, and was the turning point of the story. It is obviously a characteristic that has long been associated with the breed.

Both of A.J. Dawson's stories are available to read online at Internet Archive.

While browsing the Internet Archive, I found this book:
The Irish Wolfhound by George Augustus Graham published 1885
Captain G.A. Graham is the person most responsible for saving the IW breed. I'm beyoind excited to find his book, and read his thoughts on the breed, and how he brought about it's re-emergence.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring!

March 20 is the first day of Spring! Finn decided to dress up to wish everyone Happy spring.

Here he poses with the Gnomes in his spring garb. I know he doesn't look to thrilled, but really he is.

We pause for a moment to check out the chew-ability of the flower.

But his sense of humor eventually comes back.

Meanwhile the horses celebrate in there own way.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

First we went to the Bain Center in Columbia, with Pets on Wheels

Then we went shopping at Highland Feed in Highland. (We get our dog and cat food here, plus lots of yummy treats for everyone, dog, cat, horse and bird.)

Then we came home and found this guy,

Update! This is a North American Wood Frog, according to Google, anyway.

and these!

Spring is coming!

It was a good day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You have questions, I've got answers!

Ok, you have asked for answers to the questions I have listed (and a few more), here we go.

What kind of dog is that?
Finnegan is an Irish Wolfhound. He is pure bred, but came from a rescue. Irish Wolfhounds are a rare breed, and often dogs are listed on adoption sites as part wolfhound when in fact they are part terrier. The wiry coat can cause confusion, but the demeanor of the dog is the best indicator. Irish Wolfhound are sight hounds, and have true hound personality. They are non-aggressive, but some lines do have a strong prey drive.

What are they used for?
They were originally bred to hunt wolves in Ireland. But they were good at their job, and wolves became extinct. They were then used as war dogs to pull knights off their horses. When the wars were over, they were used to hunt stag and boar. Eventually hunting died out, and the breed almost did as well. A Scotsman realized what a loss this would be and worked to save the breed, as well as the Scottish Deerhound (both breeds come from the same basic stock). Now they are beloved family pets.

Is he friendly?
Yes, most IW love to meet people, and Finn especially loves to. We are members of Pets On Wheels and do visits to assisted living facilities.

Does he bite?
Irish Wolfhounds are a protective breed, but only when there is a clear threat. They will passively protect by getting between their owner and whatever they aren't sure about.

How much does he eat?
Finn eats 4-6 cups a day. Different IW will eat different amounts depending on their age and activity level.

How much does he poo? know those bags you can get to clean it up? Sometimes Finn is a two-bagger.

Does he fit in your car?
Yes, but he does take up the entire back seat. He prefers to stretch out in the back of a van or suburban.

Do you have a saddle for him?
No, IW have weak backs and should never be asked to carry weight.

Will he get any bigger?
Finn is 2 1/2 and is as tall as we expect him to get. He is 34 inches tall at the shoulder, which is average for a male IW. They come much bigger!

Is he always this sweet?
Yes! Although IW are known for their wicked sense of humor, and he will play tricks on us.

Do they shed a lot?
Well, that depends on what 'a lot' is to you. I don't think he sheds much at all, but I am comparing him to a cat, a horse and a cocker spaniel. IW have a double coat with a wiry outer coat, and a soft undercoat, and a lot of variety in the breed in regards to length and thickness. Some IW have sparce wiry coats, and some are so fluffy they look like sheep. I brush Finn every day, and get a handful from the brush. I sweep once a week and get a dustpan of hair.

Where can I get one?
First, do your research. IW are not for everyone. The Irish Wolfhound Club of America has excellent information as well as listings of reputable breeders and rescues. Another site I found interesting was a British site

Second, go meet an IW, and experience the personality yourself. They are not like other dogs. They are very loyal, and very much people orientated. So if you aren't willing to spend time with your hound, and interact with them, making them a part of your daily life, don't get one. They need to be walked every day, not just for the exercise, but for the social interaction of going out with you. When you walk your hound, you are harkening back to ancient times when huntsmen took their hound out coursing for game. The hounds led the way, watching for game and danger. There is this desire for this that seems in their very genes. You may be in suburbia, and your hound on a leash, but it's no different to them than the dales of Ireland 300 years ago.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday visit

Today we went to another Pets On Wheels visit.

Everyone wanted to pet Finn!

He posed for a photo with another fine Irish lad.

He stopped in at a classroom.

His pool playing skills were lacking, but he still was popular in the pool room.

He exchanged kisses with a lovely lady.

Then gave her his paw.

We had a wonderful time, and also managed to work in some Rally training at the same time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weapons of mass destruction.

Finn has several.
The most obvious is his tail.

He did in many Christmas tree ornaments with his tail. We would just see them sailing across the room, then crash!

There are also paws...

big paws that he likes to slap around, step on feet, knock things over.


he can shred a tennis ball in less than 3 minutes.

Likewise for my riding boots.

Then there is this. Looks innocent, doesn't it? How can anything with a heart be dangerous?

This one takes some thought and practice. He showed us last night what he can do with this weapon.

Irish Wolfhounds like to shake their prey. It's an instinct. They grab the rabbit/deer/sock monkey by the neck, and shake it breaking the neck and killing the target animal. They also like to toss things.

Last night Finn grabbed this toy by the rope, shook it back and forth and released it in a perfect arc to collide with my son's neck. The rubber heart has considerable weight, and makes it a perfect distance weapon. He did this several times but fortunately missed the TV and other breakable glass in this calculated attack.

Later, I swear he was laughing at us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Parade photos

Wolfhound scrum for water!

Sharon and Bill

Finn and Susan