The Irish wolfhound is a breed of massive and stately canine that has an extensive history of hunting, mostly of Irish elk and wolves. In the modern age, Irish wolfhounds are beloved companion pets, with mild, soft and friendly overall dispositions. In keeping with their names, Irish wolfhounds' origins indeed lie in the Emerald Isles.
Average Life Span of Irish Wolfhounds
Irish wolfhounds have brief life expectancies when compared with many other breeds in the canine world. These hounds' life spans usually last for anywhere between 8 and 10 years, indicates the website DogChannel.com.
As far as size goes, Irish wolfhounds are immense canines, with heights, beginning at their shoulders, of between 30 and 34 inches. They possess the distinction of being the tallest of all doggie breeds, notes the American Kennel Club. Their considerable stature, however, is part of the reason their life expectancies are on the short side. Bigger dogs do not usually live as long as tinier ones -- think Lhasa apsos, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers. The vital organs of big pooches undergo more pressure and stress than those of the little guys, hence the shorter lives.
Common Health Conditions Within the Breed
The presence of health conditions often affects the length of an Irish wolfhound's life. As a breed, these dogs are occasionally susceptible to ailments including bone cancer, von Willebrand's disease, gastric torsion, heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy, lymphoma and hyperthyroidism, among others. Cardiac failure specifically leads to many fatalities in dogs of this breed, reports the Irish Wolfhound Club of America.
Veterinary Attention and Exercise
Although you can never predict how long an Irish wolfhound -- or a dog of any breed -- might live specifically, you can put in your strongest efforts to encourage his glowing longevity. This includes a combination of proper diet, physical fitness, peaceful home environment and routine veterinary care. Make sure that your Irish wolfhound goes to the veterinarian a minimum of once per year. If he's on the elderly side, up his vet visits to once in each 6 months. If anything ever seems wrong, health-wise, get the cutie to the veterinarian's office immediately. Daily physical fitness is a must for Irish wolfhounds. Extended outdoor strolls work well for these purposes. Since Irish wolfhounds are such large animals, confined and tight living environments aren't suitable for them.
By Naomi Millburn
The Westminster Kennel Club: Irish Wolfhound
American Kennel Club: Irish Wolfhound Page
PETA Prime: How Often Do I Really Need to Take My Animal Friend to the Vet?
DogChannel.com: Irish Wolfhound Dog Breed Profile
Southern Irish Wolfhound Rescue and Adoption: Home
The Irish Wolfhound Club of America: FAQ About Irish Wolfhounds
Rocky Mountain Irish Wolfhound Association: Home
DogChannel.com: Dog Size and Life Expectancy
Animal Planet: Irish Wolfhound
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.