Please join me in welcoming Jamie Ryder.
I have made it very clear in more than one post that the most rewarding aspect of this world of blogging is the way that we connect with others unrestricted by culture, age and location. Today’s guest post is a classic example of that.
About a week ago I had a Jamie Ryder sign up to follow Learning from Dogs. As I always do when a new follower is also a blogger I went across to his place and left a ‘thank you’ note. I liked what Jamie was writing and invited him to offer a guest post for this place.
All of which explains how I came across the author of the blog Wings and Wild Hearts and how subsequently Jamie offered the following post.
Walking with a gentle giant – The Irish Wolfhound
Owning a dog is a rewarding experience. They are intelligent, affectionate, loveable creatures and enrich our lives. Every breed is different, and some have greater reputations than others. One of the most fabled breeds is the Irish Wolfhound. Growing to an average of 120 lbs for males and 105 lbs for females, these behemoths are the tallest breed of domestic dog in the world. Their size might be intimidating, but Irish Wolfhounds are gentle giants with a friendly and loyal disposition.
This noble breed has its origin as a hunting dog. In ancient times, Irish Wolfhounds were used in battle to pull men down from horses or chariots. They were bred to hunt elk, boars and wolves, from which they receive their name. Irish Wolfhounds were used extensively by kings and nobles, with the number of dogs relating to prestige of title and rank. Despite the famed reputation, Irish Wolfhounds began to decline and would have disappeared if not for a renewed interest in the breed in the mid-1800s.
Irish Wolfhounds are intelligent and gentle, showing a strong desire for human companionship. They are intensely loyal to their owners and are friendly to strangers. Owning a dog of this size comes with a number of requirements that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Irish Wolfhounds can be plagued by various illnesses like bone cancer, dilated cardiomyopathy and bloat. As a short-lived species they have a life-span of 6-8 years. They are house dogs who love being in a calm environment, and aren’t suited to apartments because of their size. Irish Wolfhounds need roughly 40 minutes of exercise per day in a large and securely fenced yard. Be sure to avoid exercising the dog an hour before meal time and two hours after as it will help reduce the risk of bloat.
A secure fence is needed to stop the dog from chasing other animals. As a sighthound they have a high prey drive and need to be kept on a lead when out for walks. Puppies shouldn’t be taken out on walks until they’re at least 6 months old. Starting them off with short 3-5 minute walks will help build them up, but be aware that giant breeds are prone to joint problems.
Irish Wolfhounds don’t make good guard dogs because of their friendly disposition, although their size is enough to deter most intruders. The breed makes a wonderful companion to children, though it’s best to supervise younger children as the dog may accidentally knock them over. Potential owners should be aware of these factors and think carefully about budget, living space and the time to manage such a large dog.
Several organisations have shown their appreciation for the breed. The Irish Wolfhound Club was founded in 1885 and is the oldest club of its kind. Members breed, showcase and safeguard the future of the species while offering helpful tips to would-be owners. The Irish Wolfhound Club Of America take part in a rescue campaign to support owners who can’t look after their dogs anymore.
Irish Wolfhounds are robust and beautiful pets that are perfect additions to any family. If you’re looking for a long-lived companion then an Irish Wolfhound isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for an animal that gives plenty of love, care and sloppy kisses then you couldn’t do any better.
Jamie Ryder was born in Manchester, England and still calls the city his home. A life long appreciator of animals, Jamie enjoys writing about all creatures great and small. His blog is dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the natural world and raising awareness for animal charities. In his spare time Jamie works as a copywriter and is studying to achieve a Masters in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Thanks Jamie for that post.