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FCI- Standard No 160/ 02-04-2001 / GB


UTILIZATION:  Up to the end of the17th century, Irish Wolfhounds were used for hunting wolves and deer in Ireland. They were also used for hunting the wolves that infested large areas of Europe before the forests were cleared.

CLASSIFICATIONS FCI:  Group 10 Sighthounds.

                                   Section 2 Rough-haired Sighthounds.

                                    Without working trial

GENERAL APPEARANCE:  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.  Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity. 

Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average 32 inches (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage and symmetry.



BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: “Lambs at home, lions in the chase”.

HEAD:  Long and level, carried high; 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.

Teeth: Scissor bite ideal, level acceptable.

Eyes: Dark.

Ears: Small, rose ears (Greyhound like in carriage).

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

BODY: Long, well ribbed up.

Back: Rather long than short

Loins: Slightly arched

Croup: Great breadth across hips

Chest:          Very deep, moderately broad, breast wide.

Ribs: Well sprung        

Belly: Well drawn up.

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



Shoulders: Muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. 

Elbows: Well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.  

Forearm: Muscular, heavily boned, quite straight


Thighs: Long and muscular.

Stifle: Nicely bent.

Second thigh: Well muscled, long and strong.

Hocks: Well let down and turning neither in nor out.

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

GAIT / MOVEMENT: Movements easy and active.


HAIR: Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry.  Hair over eyes and beard especially wiry.

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


Desired height: averaging 32 inches  (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm) in dogs.

Minimum height: Dogs       31 inches  (79 cm).

Minimum weight:  Dogs    120 pounds (54.5 kg).

Minimum height: Bitches   28 inches  (71 cm).

Minimum weight:  Bitches   90 pounds (40.5 kg).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

·         Too light or too heavy a head.

·         Too highly arched frontal bone.

·         Crooked forelegs; weak pasterns.

·         Weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle.

·         Too short in body.

·         Back sunken or hollow or quite straight.

·         Large ears and hanging flat to the face.

·         Twisted feet.

·         Spreading toes.

·         Short neck; full dewlap.

·         Chest too narrow or too broad.

·         Tail excessively curled.

·         Nose of any colour other than black.

·         Lips of any colour other than black.

·         Very light eyes. Pink or liver coloured eyelids.

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


There are two in-depth studies of the Irish Wolfhound Standard that were very useful to me in thoroughly understanding the structure and function of the breed.


One is a comprehensive discussion of the breed Standard by Shelley Camm of Yasashiikuma Kennel from Canada, which was presented at a seminar for judges.


The second study is a detailed explanation of the Standard by Helen Baird, published in the Irish Wolfhound Club of Great Britain’s website.


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