Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
"The Country Magazine" Irish Wolfhound
By Hugh Dalziel, London, June 15, 1878.
And now for a few notes on the Irish wolfhound, for which I am indebted to Capt. G. A. Graham, a gentleman who possesses a more thorough knowledge of the breed and all concerning it, who has had more practical experience in breeding up to the standard of the true Irish wolfhound than any man living, and who has in his dogs various combinations of, I believe, the only strains that possess authentic claims of descent from the original stock, and it is not contended that these dogs are absolutely pure. It is, therefore, I think, most desirable that Mr. Frank Adcock and your other correspondents who claim to possess the pure Irish wolfhound or even assert that the pure breed exists, to give proof of their statement.
Captain Graham writes me: "With regard to the Caledon breed of Irish wolfhounds, the present lord tells me that his-father kept them, and that he can just remember them in his extreme youth. He very kindly made strict inquiries when on his Irish estates last year, and from the older keepers and tenants he has gathered the following particulars," which he filled in on a form containing a series of questions which I sent him. The Irish wolfhounds kept by the late Earl of Caledon were as tall as the largest deerhound now seen—if not taller—of a stouter make throughout, broader and more massive; the ears were similar to a deerhound's; rough, but not long coated; fawn, grizzly and dim in color • some old men have mentioned a mixture of white.
The late Earl of Derby had a similar breed, I am assured positively by a gentleman (a clergyman) who had one given him many years ago—over fifteen, probably twenty; but from Knowsley direct I have not got any information, though I wrote; probably the old keepers who had charge of the menagerie have disappeared and knowledge of the dogs has died out. A clergyman to whom one of my dogs was given some nine or ten years ago told me that the present Lord Derby had seen this dog and considered him a finer dog than Any they had formerly had. I understand he grew to be very high—thirty-two inches—and massivein proportion; his sire was only thirty and a half inches, but his grandsire was thirty-two, or considered to be so.
Bichardson, in his essay on this breed, says Sir Richard Betham, Ulster King at Arms, has stated it as his conviction that the Irish wolf dog was a gigantic greyhound, not smooth-skinned, like our greyhounds, but rough and curly-haired. In the face of this, Sir William Betham's Son, the well-known archer, wrote me some years ago to call my attention to a specimen of the Irish wolfhound which was to be purchased in his neighborhood; his description of the dog, however, showed him to be distinctly a boarhound or Great Dane of no great size. Many a wild-goose chase have I had—on paper—after supposititious specimens of this wonderful breed.
A Mr. Mahoney, of Dromore—a large property near Muckross—had, about twenty years ago, a breed of these dogs, but they have been allowed to die out. He had them, however, from the late Sir J. Power, so that the same blood is now in my possession. He described them fully to me as being similar to the deerhound, but more massive and powerful and not so high on the leg. Captain Graham further describes two of these dogs of the Power breed, which were the property of a lady living at Byde, Isle of Wight, and of which he has photographs. He tells me he found the Kilfame (Power) breed decidedly too slim. Captain Graham at great trouble traced out the Mr. Carter, who is referred to by Richardson, but only to find that his breed of dogs had passed into oblivion. A nice dog bred in Ireland, combining the best Irish wolfhound strains, notably the late Sir J. Power's, late Mr. Baker's and Captain Graham's, which the latter gentleman is going to breed to; but neither this dog nor one he owns, of the Power and Graham blood, have size enough, standing only twenty-nine inches, whereas Swarran, the sire of the last named, was a thirty-three-inch dog, and I am told that Ingleside, by Swarran out of that grand deerhound bitch, Dr. Lammond Humming's Linda, measures the same, but I have not seen the dog for twelve months.
Can Mrs. Fremont trace the pedigree of the dogs she has referred to in your paper? IT they can be traced back to dogs bred by Richardson, as Captain Graham's dogs can, or to any other well authenticated strain of Irish wolfhounds, it would be very important; but I think the facts furnished me by a gentleman who has devoted so many years to the resuscitation of the breed, and spared no pains in investigating the pretensions to purity of every reputed Irish wolfhound he has heard of, should make your readers chary of accepting bald statements on the subject. But as Richardson and his friends were at the time referred to by Mrs. Fremont working up the breed, it is possible the dogs described may have reached America from Ireland, and if so, the establishment of that fact would be important.
London, June 15, 1878.
Library Of Articles