Breed Standard


GENERAL APPEARANCE - The Irish Wolfhound is the largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, it combines power and swiftness with keen sight and in general appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active, head and neck carried high, the tail carried low with a slight upward sweep towards the extremity.

HEAD and SKULL - Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull not too broad. Muzzle long and moderately pointed.

EYES - Dark.

EARS - Small Greyhound like in appearance.

BITE - Scissor, level is, however permitted.

NECK - Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.

FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping, Elbows well under, turned neither inwards nor outwards. Leg, forearm muscular and the whole leg strong and quite straight.

BODY - Chest, very deep. Breast wide. Back, rather long than short. Loins arched. Belly well drawn up.

HINDQUARTERS - Muscular thighs and second thighs long and strong as in the greyhound, hocks well let down and turning neither inwards nor outwards.

FEET - Moderately large and round, turned neither inwards nor outwards. Toes well arched and closed. Nails very strong and curved.

MOVEMENT - Easy and active.

TAIL - Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness and well covered with hair.

COAT - Rough and hard on body, legs and head, especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw.

COLOUR - The recognised colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any colour that appears in the Deerhound.

WEIGHT & SIZE - The minimum height and weight of dogs should be 31 inches and 120lbs, of bitches 28 inches and 90lbs. Anything below this should be debarred from competition. Great size including height at the shoulder and proportionate length of body is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a breed that shall average 32 to 34 inches in dogs, showing the requisite power activity and symmetry.

FAULTS - Too light or heavy a head, too highly arched frontal bone, large ears, ears hanging flat to the face, short neck, full dewlap, too narrow or too broad a chest, sunken, hollow or quite straight back, bent forelegs, over-bent fetlocks, twisted feet, spreading toes, too curly a tail, weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle, too short in body, pink or liver coloured eyelids, lips and nose any colour other than black, very light eyes, coat soft or wooly.

NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.



  1. Typical The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble.
  2. Great size and commanding appearance.
  3. Movement easy and active.
  4. Head long and level, carried high.
  5. Forelegs heavily boned, quite straight, elbows well set under.
  6. Thighs long and muscular, second thighs well muscled, stifles slightly bent.
  7. Coat rough and hard, specially wiry and long over the eyes and under the jaw.
  8. Body long, well ribbed up, with ribs well sprung and great breadth across the hips.
  9. Loins arched belly well drawn up.
10. Ears small and greyhound-like in carriage.
11. Feet moderately large and round, toes close, well arched.
12. Neck long, well arched and very strong.
13. Chest very deep, moderately broad.
14. Shoulders muscular, set sloping.
15. Tail long and slightly curved.
16. Eyes dark.

NOTE - The above in no way alters the "Standard of Excellence", which must in all cases be rigidly adhered to, they simply give the various points in order of merit. If in any case they appear at variance with the Standard of Excellence, it is the latter which is correct.