Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)
Edwin Hautenville Richardson
on the Irish Wolfhound, 1920's
Colonel Richardson Dogs - Irish Wolfhound Segment
(IWT Ed note - this is Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson of Airdale Terriers and wardog training fame, not to be confused with Major Richardson of Irish Wolfhound/Deerhound fame. This Richardson's main claim to fame is that he established a "War Dogs School" in the early 1900's where he trained dogs to assist the soldiers. He owned and bred Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds and his comments on development of the Irish Wolfhound by the early 1920's are informative
A variety of dogs shared their lives with the Richardsons prior to the development of their dog training facility. The first was Johnny a Dandie Dinmont Terrier purchased by Mrs Richardson shortly before their marriage. As Richardson recounts in his book "Forty Years With Dogs" = "A tear and a laugh still rise when we speak of him".
Johnny ws followed by a number of Scottish Deerhounds, including Malcolm, Maid, Lady Ashton and Lorna. Bicycling was just becoming popular at this time and the Deerhounds had been acquired to keep the Richardsons company on their biking excursions. Wee Johnny could only keep pace for a short while before being plaed in a basket and carried. The huge Deerhounds, however, could keep going for miles. Malcolm sire a number of litters, some of which produced fine show dogs. The first breeding was with Lorna resulting in a litter of 11 puppies. Following Lorna's initial brood, Maida whelped a litter of five.
The Irish Wolfhound, the close cousin of the Scottish Deerhound, was the next breed to find its way to the Richardsons kennel. At the time they began adding the breed to the kennel, the Wolfound has just passed the resurrection stage of its history. The original Wolfhound (ed "Irish Wolfdog") had been in existence probably for millennia. Capt George Graham, a Scot in the British army, had begun his work of reviving this ancient breed in 1862. He claimed to have found a couple of remaining specimens of the "real Irish Wolfound" (Ed "Irish Wolfdog") and began reviving the breed. Through the introduction of Deerhound and Great Dane blood, he re-instroduced what he believed to be the Irish Wolfhound) (Ed "Irish Wolfdog") of old. In 1885 the Kennel Club adopted a breed standard for the Irish Wolfhound. The breed then began to rise quickly in popularity in the British Isles
However, as Richardson observed in "Fifty Years With Dogs",(ED Richardson published a book titled "forty years etc" and a second book entitled "fifty years etc" so the reference to forty.fiftey above is not an error) the effects of the introduction of Deerhound and Great Dane blood was still much in evidence, as throwbacks kept cropping up in the litters they bred. "Some very quaint specimens appeared, a mixture of Deerhound, Great Dane and various other unknowns of uncertified ingredients, all in the attempt to inqugurate the great size that was supposed to distinguish these hounds:. Eventually, they succeeded in breeding a file animal named Benny, who had the great size and conformation desired in the breed. Curiously, Richardson noted that Benny "for some unknown reason possessed an orange-yellow coat." Today, the Irish Wolfhound comes in a plethora of colours, including fawn, red fawn, red, sandy red and yellow, Undoubtedly poor old Benny was one of those now recognized colours, albeit he was probably a minority of one in the late 19th century.
While Benny's colour might not have appealed to his owners, he apparently had an abundance of qualities that are treasured by the owners of these ghigantic dogs. Richardson desribed him as having a "most affectionate and maghnanimous disposition" and this seems to have demonstrated. Breed fanciers claim that the wolfhound is "gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked".
Below an article on Richardsons wardogs -
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