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.


  1. What a wonderful post! It's nice to have the answers to the questions from the sidebar. Also... two bagger?? My gosh!

    I also wanted to wish you and Finnegan a wonderful St. Patty's Day!

  2. Thanks! I will have to do a follow up soon, I'm getting a bunch more questions now, LOL!
    Happy St Patrick's Day to you!