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Friday, 28 August 2015

Irish Wolfhound

The origins of the Irish Wolfhound breed dates back to 100 BC. The ancestor of this breed was the Cu, a massive, shaggy-looking dog that was used to hunt wolves, elk and wild boar, which was mentioned by Julius Caesar.

It was reported that the King of Ulster in the 1100s traded 4,000 cattle for one wolfhound.

During the English conquest of Ireland, only the nobility were allowed to own Irish Wolfhounds. They were much coveted and were frequently given as gifts to important personages and foreign nobles. King John of England, in about 1210 presented an Irish hound, Gelert to Llewellyn, a prince of Wales. The poet The Hon William Robert Spencer immortalised this hound in a poem.

Almost extinct by the 1800s, the Irish Wolfhound was revived again by Capt. George Augustus Graham. The captain devoted his life to ensuring the survival of the breed and in 1885 Graham, with other breeders, founded the Irish Wolfhound Club.

The name originates from its purpose (wolf hunting with dogs) rather than from its appearance.

Irish Wolfhounds can be an imposing sight due to their formidable size; they are the tallest of all dog breeds, sometimes reaching 7 feet tall on their hind legs.

The Irish Wolfhound is the national dog of Ireland and is sometimes also called the Wolfdog, the Irish Greyhound, or the Great Dog of Ireland.

Famous Irish Wolfhound owners have included Richard III, Anne Boleyn, Henry VII, Queen Elizabeth I, George Washington, the singer Sting and composer Leonard Bernstein.

An Irish wolfhound called Keon, has a 2.6-foot-long tail, the Guinness World Record for the longest tail on a dog.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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