Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)

About IWTLibraryBreed OriginsReserved For FutureAfghan Hound TimesReserved For FutureBreed StandardEphemera

Country Life Illustrated July-Nov 1897
(Albanian Wolfhound/Irish Wolfhound)

IW Editor - The Richardsononions like to quote Buffon and Pliny as "evidence" that the Irish Wolfdog existed 1800 years ago and was sent to Rome and Epirus. Buffon wrote - "The Irish greyhounds are of a very ancient race, and still exist (though their number is small) in their original climate; they were called by the ancients, dogs of Epirus, and Albanian dogs". So, according to Buffon, they were also called Albanian Dogs. Well, it's not a breed I have ever heard of or seen until I found this article in Country Life Illustrated in 1897and with a photograph. The Kennel writer for Country Life Illustrated writes somewhat tongue in cheek. Irish Wolfdog - Albanian Wolfdog


We are apt to boast not a little of the antiquity of some of our British breeds of dogs, and it is quite true that in the days when Rome was the centre of civilisation and power, these islands were celebrated for the excellence of the hounds of the chase which they produced. But the Albanian wolfhound ReckLess, the property of Miss Burns, of Glenlie, Hamilton, comes of a family which was bred with the utmost care Iong before Caesar discovered Britain. Nowadays, his duty is to be the shepherd's companion on the Albanian hills, and to protect the flock, the shepherd's charge, against the ravages of wolves. The wolf he must slay and chase, and to both ends he has been contrived by Nature and careful selection. Those long punishing jaws, those powerful forelegs and that deep chest, and the loose but muscular hindquarters, bespeak great pace and killing power. One can imagine that the flying wolf, progenitor of all dogs, would have but a sorry chance when his improved descendant, easily out-pacing him and running three yards to his one, stooped down upon him from above, half-tossed him, and crunched his ribs. Such is the function of the Albanian wolfhound of to-day, when he is not an honoured inmate of an English or Scottish household. In old times he was the favourite, not of the shepherd, but of kings, and he enjoys the unique privilege of being the subject of classical exaggeration which cannot be touched by even an American bear story in a condition of extreme tension. Out of regard to my reputation for accuracy, I take leave to observe that this " lie " is attributable to Pliny, and that I give it for what it is worth, which, regarding it as "a good thumping one," is a good deal. The King of Albania gave a dog of great size to Alexander the Great, who was then on his way to India.

The Great one, according to the summary of Mr. Watkins, the antiquary, "delighted at its appearance, commanded bears, boars, and stags to be slipped to it; but the creature lay motionless in supreme contempt." Then Alexander, in his rage, or, to put the thing in courtly words, "because his noble spirit was aroused," ordered the dog to be killed. Thereupon, the Albanian King sent him another dog, warning him not to try the animal with small game, but with lions and elephants. Of the lion, this huge and elegant verminkiller made short work; the elephant gave him more trouble, but was finished off at last. "Pliny first and Ananias nowhere'' will be the general verdict. "The rage and attack of dogs," says Pliny, and Mr. Watkins says the belief is as old as Homer, "may be mitigated by the person so assaulted sitting down quietly on the ground."

Library Of Articles