BEFORE you take an Irish Wolfhound puppy
Not thinking so much about the acquisition that could seem expensive, but much more of the other expenses. There is no point feeding on cheap kibble, especially in the first 18 months . An Irish Wolfhound does need a well balanced, quality food. If you give a food with a bad nutrient balance, you might pay for it later with big problems.
Most of the medical costs are linked to the size of your companion. Surgery costs are higher the bigger the dog and many medicines have to be in a higher dosage (worming, antibiotics aso). If your Irish Wolfhound contracts a nasty pneumonia, costs for antibiotics can amount to 500 Euros a month. Are you ready for this ?
During holidays, if you cannot take your Irish Wolfhound, you will need a good boarding kennel, again the price is according to the size. Please be aware that your 80-year-old grandmother or mother is NOT an option. I try to arrange holiday exchanges between owners, which is a good and much cheaper solution.
One of the most important periods in a puppy's life are the first weeks, so choose your breeder carefully. Good socialization is even more important for a giant breed puppy. Ask all the questions you can think about (how and in what surrounding are the puppies raised, what exposure do they get to different sights, and sounds? Are they family raised or not, inside the house or in a puppy run) and also accept the fact that the breeder will ask you lots in return before even considering to put you on a waiting list.
Better go and see different breeders and preferably when there are no puppies at the time, in order not to be tempted. It is important to find someone you can trust because you might talk a lot to him/her, especially in the first months. If you have a problem, any problem, with your puppy, you should always contact him/her because the breeder might be of big help to you and the information could be important for the breeder, and the owners of the littermates. A good breeder follows up his/her pups closely and is always only a phone call away. Ask about health issues in their lines and run away if someone tries to make you believe that he/she never ever had any problems in his/her lines. Most of us are trying hard to improve longevity, but no one has the solution yet.
A wolfhound pup will require some of your time to become housetrained and should not get too much exercise as long as it is growing . (15 minutes in the beginning, gradually going up to max 45 minutes) Once it is grown up, it will need at least one hour of exercise EVERY day to be happy. A big garden is not enough, an Irish Wolfhound is far too calm to move a lot on his own and again, socialization is very important. Are you ready to take your leash and your courage when it is pouring rain (your IW will adore it !), muddy and freezing ? When the summer is too hot, are you ready to go out early or late in order to avoid the heat? Heart problems are present in the breed, the heart is a muscle and needs exercise.
You normally train your wolfhound early. A 6-month old pup biting your fingers in puppy play is cute on a small dog, not on one 70 cm and more at the shoulder at that age!
Walking on leash, coming back on command, not begging at the table, sleeping on its blanket, sit! and lay down! are the basics. Never teach it to jump with its paws on your shoulders. Once it is mature, you might regret it and it is much more difficult to make them lose a bad habit rather than to teach them good manners from the start .
Living with an IW
First of all, are you ready to accept the fact that the average life span of an Irish Wolfhound is only 7 years, even if this is not too bad in comparison to other giant breeds ? This is an average and there are older ones... BUT some do leave younger, too.
Is your home adapted to an Irish Wolfhound ? Stairways must be avoided as much as possible and remember, you won't be able to carry your wolfhound baby for very long.
Is your home puppy safe ? Irish Wolfhound puppies can be quite destructive because of their size. They will not need more than 5 minutes to destroy your best shoes, where a Yorkshire would need a whole day. They are also able to reach much higher. Will you still be so fond of your Irish Wolfhound when he tears off the wallpaper, even if it is just up to 1,50 instead of the 2 m it can reach? Cohiba did it! And they stay puppies in their mind much longer than a small breed. There is also the danger that your pup might swallow something it was not supposed to swallow . This might cause an intestinal obstruction, which can be fatal. Even toys sold as puppy toys can be dangerous to your giant baby.
Is your garden solidly fenced? While some dogs will respect a fence of only 1 m, others will easily jump over 1.50 m. Is your fence made for this kind of jumping by an Irish Wolfhound ?
Before your Irish Wolfhound is housetrained, think of the fact that the cleaning is proportionate to the size, too.
Do you have the space to have your companion around once he is fully grown up? This might also include buying a new car, or better, a van! You must be able to transport him, when taking him somewhere for fun, show or whatever and also when an emergency occurs.
Be prepared to get all kinds of comments from other people, all ranging from a nasty "you should keep a monster like that on leash" to the stupid "wow, you should put a saddle on that one".
And last but not least, you will also see that some friends and family will not visit so often anymore, if at all. People definitely believe that wolfhound lovers are not normal people anymore...
BUT YOU WILL GAIN ONE OF THE BEST FRIENDS THAT CAN BE,
AN IRISH WOLFHOUND