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

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A history of Britisch Quadrupeds including the Cetacea ..
The Irish Greyhound or Wolf-Dog
Thomas Bell - 1837 -


Of this magnificent breed it is probable that there now remain no pure, unmixed examples, even in the country where it was once so much prized. It was used in hunting the Wolf, whon that animal still infested the forests of Ireland, and was carefully preserved, even to a late period, by a few persons in that part of the United Kingdom, by whom it was prized rather on account of its fine stature and noble bearing, than as being of any considerable utility. The figures of this Dog usually indicate a considerable approach to the Greyhound in form; but in that given in the third volume of the Linnean Transactions, by my respected friend Mr. A. B. Lambert, the venerable vice-president of the Linnean Society, this resemblance is very slight. It appears that the breed was originally produced from the great Danish Dog crossed by the Greyhound,—at least its points in general warrant this supposition; and the ancient Scottish Wolf Dog was doubtless derived from a similar origin. Almost the last person who kept this breed in Ireland was Lord Altamont, who in the year 1780 had eight of them, from one of which Mr. Lambert's drawing was taken.

The dimensions of the largest were as follows :—From the tip of the nose to the end of the tail, five feet one inch; the tail, one foot five inches long; from the toes to the top of the shoulder, two feet four inches and a half. The hair is short and smooth; the colour brown and white, or black and white. Mr. Lambert observes, " they seem good-tempered animals, but, from the account I received, are degenerated in size : they were formerly much larger, and in their make more like a Greyhound." There can be no doubt that they gradually lost the characters which had formerly distinguished them, either by change of habit, or by some accidental cross.

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