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Notes on the Irish wolfhound
A Wonderful Example of What Scientific Selective Breeding Can Accomplish
(By Brindle The Australasian (Melbourne) April 1929)


ANYONE who has seen the magnificent specimens of this resuscitated Irish hound imported to this country by Miss B. Bruce Beid will have no difficulty in believing Mr. Robert Leighton's statement that the present-day Irish Wolfhound is the tallest member of the canine race. The record seems to be held by a hound named Kilcullen, which stood 37in. at shoulder. Of course this was an outstanding measurement, but 33in. and 34ln. specimens are commonly met with.

The story of the Irish Wolfhound as we know him to-day Is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished by scientific selective breeding, for although the breed can claim a very ancient line age, for some reason or another (probably the disappearance of its original quarry, (the wolf) the Irish Wolfdog became almost extinct.

Some 60 odd years ago, following a controversy as to whether the genuine Irish Wolfhound had not already become extinct, a Captain G. A. Graham scoured Ireland in an effort to find surm viving specimens. He did come across a few sadly degenerated representatives in Kilkenny and Dromore, and be set himself the task of re-establishing this fine old "hound of the chase." To this end he crossed these surviving weedy hounds with the Great Dane and the Scottish deerhound. Be then introduced as an outeross the Borzois. By this method the desired size was obtained, but not the type, and to estab lish this the Scottish deerhound was returned to.

Readers can see now why, in the beginning of this article, I mentioned the word "resuscitated," for, as Mr, Robert Leighton remarked some years ago in the "Morning Post" (Eng.), the result of this breeding was an admixture which supports the frequent suggestion that the modem Irish Wolfhound is merely a manufactured breed, possibly bearing very little resemblance to the original Canis graius Hibernicus. But by the year 1881 a handsome, well-balanced, sturdy animal had been evolved, and breeders have ever since concentrated their efforts upon the improvement of type and the increase of stamina and size. Undoubtedly the Irish Wolfhound of the moment is a majestic-looking animal. a fine upstanding hound of racy build, with rugged coat and a particularly impressive head.

Description of Breed

In general appearance the Irish Wolf hound is rather like a Scottish deerhound, but bigger in every dimension. The standard mentions the height from the shoulder to be about 31 in. to 32in., while specimens have been known to go over 36in., 331n. and 34in. being often met with. The weight is in the region ol 120 lb. With all this great size and massiveness he roust be built on graceful lines, his movement must be easy, it being essential that the animal should have the appearance of an alert, active dog, full of life and vitality. The head should be carried high and the tail carried with an upward sweep, and a slight curl to wards the end- The head must be long, with the frontal bones of the forehead slightly raised, and a small indentation between the eyes, while the skull must not be too broad. The muzzle should be long and moderately pointed; the ears small but nicely placed on and carried. The neck should be long and muscular and well arched; the chest very deep, the breast wide, back rather long, with nicely arched loins. Legs and forearms must be quite straight and muscular. Hindquarters must be muscular, hocks well let down, neither turning in nor out. The feet should be large and round, with toe well arched and closed nails, which must be long and curved. The coat should be rough and hard on the body, legs, and head, and wiry and long over eyes and under jaw. The colours are:-Red, grey, bundle, black, or fawn. With all his great size and commanding appearance, he has a very docile disposition. His strong constitution and fair turn of speed make the Irish Wolfhound a very useful proposition where dingoes and foxes are concerned.

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