IW Standard PDF Print E-mail

The Breed Standards


The Irish Kennel Club (IKC) is a member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and so the FCI determines the breed standard for the Irish Wolfhound.  However because the Irish Wolfhound is an Irish Breed the IKC sets this breed standard which is then adopted by the FCI as its agreed standard.  The FCI has some 83 member countries but notably the UK, USA and Canada are not members.  Non member countries may set their own breed standards.


This is the historic breed standard that was used before superceeded by the FCI standard:



  1. General appearance: The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble. Of great size and commanding appearance, very muscular, strongly though gracefully built, movements easy and active; head and neck carried high; the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity. The minimum height and weight of dogs should be 31 inches and 120 pounds; of bitches, 28 inches and 90 pounds. Anything below this should be debarred from competition. Great size, including height at shoulder and proportionate length of body, is the desideratum to be aimed at, and it is desired to firmly establish a race that shall average from 32 inches to 34 inches in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity courage and symmetry.
  2. Head: Long, the frontal bones of the forehead very slightly raised and very little indentation between the eyes. Skull, not too broad. Muzzle, long and moderately pointed, ears small and greyhound-like in carriage. Bite, scissors ideal, level acceptable.
  3. Neck: Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.
  4. Chest: Very deep. Breast wide.
  5. Back: Rather long than short. Loins arched.
  6. Tail: Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.
  7. Belly: Well drawn up.
  8. Forequarters: Shoulders muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Leg, Forearm muscular, and the whole leg strong and quite straight.
  9. Hindquarters: Muscular thighs and second thigh long and strong as in the Greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.
  10. Feet: Moderately large and round, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Toes, well arched. and closed. Nails, very strong and curved.
  11. Hair: Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and under jaw.
  12. Colour and markings: The recognized colours are grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any colour that appears in the Deerhound.
  13. Faults: Too light or too heavy a head; too highly arched frontal bone; large ears and hanging flat to the face; short neck; full dewlap; too narrow or too broad chest; sunken or hollow or quite straight back; bent forelegs; over bent fetlocks; twisted feet; spreading toes; too curly a tail; weak hindquarters and general want of muscle; too short in body; pink or liver-coloured eyelids; lips and nose any colour other than black; very light eyes.


List of Points in order of  Merit

  1. Typical: The Irish Wolfhound should not be quite so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, but more so than the Deerhound, which in general type he should otherwise resemble.
  2. Great Size and commanding appearance.
  3. Movements easy and active.
  4. Head long and level, carried high.
  5. Forelegs, heavily boned, quite straight, elbows well set under.
  6. Thighs long and muscular; second thighs, well muscled, stifles nicely bent.
  7. Coat, rough and hard, especially wiry and long over the eyes and under jaw.
  8. Body, long, well ribbed up, with ribs well sprung, and great breadth across hips.
  9. Loins arched, belly well drawn up.
  10. Ears, small, with greyhound-like carriage.
  11. Feet, moderately large and round; toes close, well arched.
  12. Neck, long, well arched and very strong
  13. Chest, very deep, moderately broad.
  14. Shoulders,  muscular, set sloping
  15. Tail, long and slightly curved.
  16. Eyes, dark.


Note: The above in no way alters the 'Standard of Excellence'. which must in all cases be rigidly adhered to; they simply give the various points in order of merit. If in any case they appear at variance with Standard of Excellence it is the latter which is correct.


Last Updated on Saturday, 02 April 2011 08:49