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"Transactions of The Linnean Society Vol III 1797"
A B Lambert, 1794 - Irish Wolfdog, Irish Greyhound

Irish Wolfhound Times  - Irish Wolfhound Times - A B Lambert and published in the


Account of the Canis Graius Hibernicus, or Irish Wolf Dog,
described in Pennant's History Of Quadrupeds, 3rd edit, vol i,
p. 241. By A B Lajbert, ESQ, F.R. and F.L.S.

(Read April 1 1794)


This drawing of the Irish wolf dog was given me by Lord Altamont; done exactly the natural size of one in his Lordship's possession, at Westport, in the county of Mayo, Ireland, during my stay there in 1790. I had frequent opportunities of observing these dogs; Lord Altamont having eight of them, the only ones now in the kingdom. There is a man employed on purpose to take care of them; as they are with difficulty bred up and kept healthy.

I took the measurement of one of the largest; which is as follows: From the point of the nose to the tip of the tail, fixty-one inches; tail, seventeen and a half long; from the tip of the nose to the back part of the skull, ten inches; from the back part of the skull to the beginning of the tail, thirty-three inches ; from the toe to the top of the fore-shoulder,twenty-eight inches and a half; the length of the leg sixteen inches; from the point of the hind-toes to the top of the hind-shoulders, thirteen inches; from the point of the nose to the eyc, four inches and a half; the ears six inches long; round the wideit part of the belly (about three inches from the -fore-legs) thirtyifive inches; twenty-fix inches round the hind part, close to the hind-legs; the hair short and smooth; the colour of some-' brown and white, others black and white.

They seem good-tempered animals; but, from the accounts I received, are degenerated in size. They were formerly much larger, and in their make more like a greyhound

(IW Editor note. Mr Lambert also referenced a letter he had received from Lord Altamont, details below)....

The Scientific transactions of the Royal Dublin Society - Volume 3 - Page 340 Royal Dublin Society - 1887
8.—The Irish Wolf-dog. Canis domesticus, var. Hibernicus.

The formidable characteristics of the ancient Irish wolf-dog are, as is well known, both the subject of history and tradition. These records, it is moreover now fairly ascertained, do not exaggerate the power and strength of an animal which was the faithful companion not only of the hunter, but possibly also of the warrior, in far remote prehistoric as well as in more recent times.

It is considered by some authorities that the wolf-dog resembled in general aspect the modern rough-haired deerhound of Scotland; and of this race there is at present a reputed example still living in the gardens of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland. But there is very positive evidence afforded by a Paper, by A. B. Lambert, F.R.S., and a letter to him from Lord Altamont, both of which are published in the Linnean Transactions for 1797, that there were in Ireland formerly two races of wolf-dogs, one of which was a greyhound and the other a mastiff, somewhat resembling the great Dane. The figure given by Lambert (of which the woodcut is a copy, reduced to scale) represents, perhaps, a half-breed between the two, but with the mastiff characters predominating. For some years the late Dr. Robert Ball carried on, at the Zoological Gardens, a series of experiments in cross-breeding with the hope of recovering the lost type of dog indicated by this figure.





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