Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
Outdoor LifeVolumes 41-42
(By Walter Cecil Cox)
The Irish Wolfhound.
The dog which we now have called the Irish wolfhound is simply an enlarged edition of the Scottish deerhound. The original dog was not called a wolfhound but a wolfdog, and much more aptly named wolfdog than wolfhound. The characteristics of the original wolfdog of Ireland were simply those of a big coarse rough-looking greyhound. There were various types of these wolfdogs, some had rather rough-looking coats and some were perfectly smooth, some might have been described as lightly built Dane type; but there was no clean-cut regular type, just a big coarse dog of greyhound formation used to hunt wolves.
The early day Irish wolfhound had practically no connection With the present day dog at all. A dog called the Irish greyhound was probably a descendent or branch of this early group of dogs. The present breed of dogs sprang into existence In this way, and , it is rather peculiar to note in passing how so many breds owe their popularity, and even existence, to one Or two enthusiastic breeders who laid the foundation of the breed. We could mention them easily by memory, the men whose names have been inseparably linked with founding the various breeds and strains.
Captain Graham, through whose efforts the present bred was founded, realized the fact that the Irish wolfdog was extinct, and conceived the idea of reviving the breed. His ideal of an Irish wolfhound was a massively-built deerhound, and he labored hard to pro duce such a dog, and did produce one; a dog that had a considerable wave of popularity in England, but not many came to this country. It is said Captain Graham obtained a pure bred Irish wolfdog of the early day strain to begin with; but he built the present day Irish wolfhound out of a deerhound, a Russian wolfhound, and Great Dane; deerhound blood predominating, with perhaps a slight infusion of this supposedly Irish wolfdog, and some also say the Pyrennese sheepdog.
There was also a dash of what was called a Siberian wolfdog, or sheepdog, and what else I do not know. I am afraid if they ever had a drop of Irish blood in their veins it was so minute the wildest imagination could never appropriate to them the appellation, “resuscitated Irish wolfhound." Nevertheless, much credit must be given Captain Graham for producing a large, strong, and dignified dog of impressive appearance, and of deerhound characteristics. It went well with the public as the revived Irish wolfhound, and fitted into the popular ideal of what a revived Irish wolfhound ought to be. I had forgotten when I began to write that I owned as a boy, in 1892, one of Captain Graham's stock, a dog that was always pointed to when it was seen following me as a fine looking deerhound, and in recent years I sold one to Mr. Frank Benton, the well-known stockman, who reported to me that this dog would pick up a coyote like a foxterrier picks up a rat, and that he had seen him kill two shepherd dogs in two bites in two secends,
The standard of this breed calls for a dog of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built; and the standard rarely has the nerve to set a minimum height and weight, (the only standard that does this I think) 31-in.
As a sporting dog he has plenty of! power but lacks the correct structure to give him speed and also sadly lacks fire, the only one I ever saw that seemed to have any speed at all was the one I sold, mentioned above, to Mr. Frank Benton. If they are ever bred on real speed lines, with gameness and staying qualities, they could handle coyotes and timber wolves, etc., very easily.
Walter Cecil Cox), January 1918
Library Of Articles