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for the Family Education

New: 20 August 2003

You will hear a great many reference to "The Standard" or sometimes the "Breeder's Bible". Just what is this document? It is a listing of qualities we want to produce in our dogs. It is that verbal outline of what the Irish Wolfhound is intended to look like and to be functional. The following is The Standard of Excellence followed by another list of equal importance: The Order of Merit. The authors of the Irish Wolfhound Standard felt certain things should be of more importance than others and they devised the second document to clarify the first--not in place of, but an enhancement of The Standard. Try to fix in your mind the outline of this noble breed, its size, its carriage, its gentle nature. An in-depth study of the Standard is available to Judges and you are welcome to try your hand...or mind's understanding why our "bible" is written as it is. [ The Judging Format ]

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The Irish Wolfhound Standard

General Appearance--Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type he is a rough-coated, Greyhoundlike breed; very muscular, strong 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 32 inches and 120 pounds; of bitches, 30 inches and 105 pounds; these to apply only to hounds over 18 months of age. 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 to 34 inches in dogs, showing the requisite power, activity, courage and symmetry.
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 Greyhoundlike in carriage.
Neck--Rather long, very strong and muscular, well arched, without dewlap or loose skin about the throat.
Very deep. Breast wide.
Rather long than short. Loins arched.
Tail-Long and slightly curved, of moderate thickness, and well covered with hair.
Well drawn up.
Shoulders, muscular, giving breadth of chest, set sloping. Elbows well under, neither turned inwards nor outwards.
Hindquarters--Muscular thighs and second thigh long and strong as in the Greyhound, and hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.
Moderately large and round, neither turned inwards nor outwards. Toes, well-arched and closed. Nails, very strong and curved.
Hair--Rough and hard on body, legs and head; especially wiry and long over eyes and underjaw.
Color and Markings--
The recognized colors are gray, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, or any other color that appears in the Deerhound.
Too light or 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 a chest; sunken or hollow or quite straight back; bent forelegs; overbent fetlocks; twisted feet; spreading toes; too curly a tail; weak hindquarters and a general want of muscle; too short in body. Lips or nose liver-colored or lacking pigmentation.

List Of Points In Order Of Merit

  (1) Typical. The Irish Wolfhound is a rough-coated Greyhoundlike breed, the tallest of the coursing hounds and remarkable in combining power and swiftness.
  (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 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 Greyhoundlike 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 the Standard of Excellence, it is the latter which is correct.