Irish Wolf Hound
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of all the dog breeds, built for stamina and endurance. He has a rough, harsh coat which needs grooming often. He needs to live in a large house with a large garden, preferably near to open countryside. He needs plenty of exercise every day and the opportunity to run free. A good diet is essential to keep him strong and fit. He is usually a gentle dog, despite his size, but not a breed to be taken on lightly. Average lifespan 6.5 years.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.3% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS222.22
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Elbow dysplasia (common in the breed) may be due in part to the Irish Wolf Hound’s large size (malformation of the elbow joint, causing osteoarthritis and thus pain and discomfort)
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat/Torsion) (build up of gas in the stomach and intestines , stomach twisting – urgent vet treatment required) Common in deep chested breeds
- Elbow dysplasia (ideally O:O)
- Hip dysplasia (abnormal formation of hip joints leading to osteoarthritis. Breed mean score 5.5 (parents should be lower)
- Eye Disease: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (progressive visual impairment) (annual testing); Multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD) (annual testing)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Hyperekplexia (Startle Disease) (SD)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Breed clubs health website: www.iwhealthgroup.co.uk
- Liver shunt testing of all puppies prior to being sold: Portosystemic shunt (abnormality of the blood circulation system, resulting in blood bypassing the liver)
- Annual Heart testing (stethoscope, ECG, ultrasound)
- Bitches under 2 years not to produce litter
- Bitches over 6 years not to produce a litter
- Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12 month period
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer: Osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone), and other cancers
- Heart disease: Dilated cardiomyopathy ( heart muscle weakens and gradually fails)
- Rhinitis (snotty nose)/Pneumonia (bacterial infection within the lungs)
- Wobblers syndrome (compression of spinal cord in neck, causes wobbliness due to loss of co-ordination of hind limbs) breed clubs report as uncommon
- Portosystemic shunt
- Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Entropion (inward folding of the eyelids) breed clubs report as uncommon
- Von Willebrand’s disease (bleeding disorder)
- Panosteitis (bone inflammation)
- Autoimmune disease
- Acute respiratory disease
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: