Irish wolfhound

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The Irish wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world, they can reach up to 7 ft. tall if standing on their hind legs. They are the largest dog in the sighthound group. They are about 32 inches tall at the withers and about 120 lbs.

download (3)The Irish wolfhound as the name indicates originated in Ireland and is considered an ancient breed. Celtic writings dating back to 273 BC mention them, so they have been around for quite a while. They have always been quite admired by nobility and were often given as gifts amongst royalty.

They were used as a war dog and to hunt wild boar, deer and wolf, they images (1)were in fact so good at their hunting jobs that in the 19th century they came close to extinction when the number of prey dwindled. But thankfully the breed was revived and now Irish wolfhounds can be found almost anywhere.

They have a rough and wiry coat that needs to be brushed about once a week. Their coat is longer around the eyes and bottom jaw, they come in images (3)several shades: grey, brindle, fawn, red, black and white. They have long legs that are actually stronger than they look, a long curved tail, small ears and a long muzzle.

Irish wolfhounds are good indoor pets because they are not super active and they tend not to bark, but they do need space, lots of space to stretch out, so they tend not to do download (2)great in apartments. They are not really meant to deal with stairs so they are happier in a one flight home with a fenced-in yard to frolic in. They enjoy long walks that are needed to maintain their enormous bodies, but other than that they are happy to lie on the couch. Since they are sighthounds they will chase prey and a secure fence is necessary to keep them in your yard.

Irish wolfhounds can grow about a pound a day so early training will be best. They tend to be quite friendly with other dogs and humans but unless they are taught at an early age to socialize with other indoor pets they will think them fair game and Irish-Wolfhound-31revert to their prey drive.

These dogs are known for being docile and very patient which makes them quite a good dog for homes with younger children. They are loving, patient, magnificent creatures that need a caring family who understands that their lifetime is short. On average an Irish wolfhound’s life span is of 6 to 8 years. They are so large that they often have problems with their hearts and bones. Always look for a reputable breeder to reduce the likelihood of illness and meet the parents to get a better idea of what kind of dog your puppy will grow into.

downloadIrish wolfhounds can eat up to 24lbs of food each week so it is important to budget for that if you are thinking of adding one to your family. Remember that they will need space and that like most giant breeds, they are puppies for a long time about 18 to 24 months. Regardless of their size, Irish wolfhounds are not ponies! They should not be ridden by anyone and should not be made to pull carts, as irish-wolfhound-ap-0qrfi8-645-x-380they can be easily hurt.

Dogs Dream!

Legs twitching, muffled barking and growling, quivering, teeth chattering, nose and eyes moving are all signs of a dog dreaming. Dogs dream quite similarly to humans.


“During sleep the brain wave patterns of dogs are similar to that of people, and go through the same stages of electrical activity observed in humans, all of which is consistent with the idea that dogs are dreaming.”[1]

Observe your pup as she starts to doze off. As your dog’s sleep becomes deeper so will her breathing. After about 20 minutes the first dreams will start and you’ll be able to tell because her breathing will become irregular. You might see legs twitching, muscles quivering, muffled barking and growling, teeth chattering, as well as movement in her nose and eyes. All these download (1)movements are because the dog is actually seeing, smelling and moving in their dream, it is as if they are experiencing it all right there. “These eye movements are most characteristic of dreaming sleep. When human beings are awakened during this rapid eye movement or REM sleep phase, they virtually always report that they were dreaming”, says Coren.

During a dog sleep experiment published by a group of scientists in the 1970’s. “Two states of sleep (slow-wave and rapid eye movement) and dog5wakefulness (alert and drowsy) were identified (in dogs during a 24-hr period). The total recording period comprised 44% of alert wakefulness, 21% of the drowsy state, while slow-wave sleep occupied 23% and REM sleep 12% of the time. The mean length of a REM sleep episode averaged 6 min and the mean REM sleep cycle was 20 min. The dog has a propensity to sleep over a 16-hr interval from 1300 to 0500 but the most sleep occurred between 2100 and 0400 hr during darkness.”[2]

So not only do they dream when they sleep, they also nap quite a bit.

Both dogs and humans have a part of their brain stem called the pons, which is responsible for paralyzing the larger muscles during sleep. It downloadbasically stops you from acting out your dreams. The pons is underdeveloped in puppies and doesn’t work as well in older dogs so it is more likely for you to see the legs twitching and so on in young puppies or older dogs. This is also true in humans by the way…

“Studies in which the muscle-paralyzing part of the pons has been temporarily deactivated are the only way to peek into doggy dreams. With the pons offline, dogs start to act out their dreams (in humans, this condition is called REM sleep disorder).”

“What we’ve basically found is that dogs dream doggy things,” Coren said. “So, pointers will point at dream birds, and Dobermans will chase dream burglars. The dream pattern in dogs seems to be very similar to the dream pattern in humans.”

images (2)It seems our dogs do in fact dream and since they do dream, they might also have occasional nightmares since they basically dream about what has recently happened to them. So if they had a lovely day then odds are their dreams are happy dreams, but if they had a traumatic experience that might also show up in their dreams. But all of this is a crucial part of their learning process so don’t be tempted to wake up a sleeping dog because you think she’s having a nightmare… as the old idiom says, “let images (1)sleeping dogs lie”, we don’t want to interrupt important learning and memory processes and we also don’t want to put ourselves in harm’s way. After all we have no idea what they might be dreaming about that instant and they might not appreciate being disturbed.

So let sleeping dogs lie and hope their dreams are sweet and filled with ball chasing, interesting sniffing and delicious food snacking.

[1] Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Do Dogs dream?, Psychology Today.

[2] Lucas EA, Powell EW, Murphree OD, Baseline sleep-wake patterns in the pointer dog,