Brindle Irish Wolfhound: Coat and Breed Guide for 2022

The Brindle Irish Wolfhound was a purebred staple of Irish royalty, historically used as a war dog to grab men from their horses and chariots, and one of the many Brindle breeds today.

The Brindle Irish Wolfhound is an adaptable family friend and is ranked on our top Brindle dog breeds

What is a Brindle Irish Wolfhound?

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the oldest dog breeds

The Irish Wolfhound has been said to be the tallest dog breed in the world, yet its low body fat has made it lighter weight than other extra-large dog breeds. They’re a true specimen of both size and appearance and, according to the American Kennel Club, are extraordinarily impressive in their power, speed, and sight. 

The Brindle Irish Wolfhound is AKC recognized color pattern for Irish Wolfhounds. Many Irish Wolfhounds are reverse brindle, which means the coat is pale but the dark tiger stripes are found throughout the wiry fur. 

The Irish Wolfhound is one of the oldest breeds, recognized by the AKC in 1897. They’re quite muscular with a neck and head that carry high and a tail that holds an upward sweep and slight curve. Although the outward appearance of these dogs is commanding and gallant, their temperament is usually sweet and gentle. 

In addition to being one of the tallest dog breeds, the Irish Wolfhound is the largest of all sighthounds, which are dogs that chase moving prey. This means they’ll need professional training to socialize with other animals and be properly acclimated into their owner’s home. 

Types of Irish Wolfhounds

There are 13 coat colors of the Irish Wolfhound, and brindle is just one of the recognized colors, along with gray, red, black, fawn, and pure white. Although this breed’s size is commanding, it’s still considered a house dog that loves being with family and in a calm indoor atmosphere. 

You may see these impressive and powerful dogs competing in tracking, lure coursing, and obedience due to their sighthound nature and high intelligence. They don’t work well with a lot of stairs due to their large demeanor but do enjoy slow walks outside with their owner. 

Irish Wolfhounds have distinctive long heads and small ears, resembling the ears of the Greyhound breed. Yet, this breed has a long, arched neck and large feet with round, arched toes. Their look is unique when combined with their beautiful brindle coat.


According to the AKC, the Irish Wolfhound only has an average lifespan of 6 to 8 years, so if you’re looking for a breed that lives a long time this isn’t the one for you. 

This also means older Brindle Irish Wolfhounds are uncommon. Although Irish Wolfhounds are some of the largest dogs in the world, their lifespans are surprisingly short. 

The massive size of this dog also predisposes them to numerous health problems. 

Common Health Problems

These dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, which are both inheritable conditions common in large-breed dogs. This particular breed is also sensitive to anesthesia, which is common in all sighthounds. A regular dose for a dog this size could be too much for the wolfhound’s low body fat. 

They also may suffer from liver shunt, which is an abnormal blood flow that runs between the liver and the body. Signs usually appear in the first 2 years. If your dog has a loss of appetite, low blood sugar, neurobehavioral abnormalities, or urinary tract or gastrointestinal problems, you should have them checked right away. 

Other health conditions that plague the Irish Wolfhound are heart disease, fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy (usually between 3 and 6 years old), osteochondritis dissecans, which is an orthopedic condition found in puppies, along with osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that affects very large dogs. 

Gastric dilation-volvulus, also called Bloat, is also common in deep-chested dogs, including the Irish Wolfhound. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the stomach is bloated with air or gas and then becomes twisted. A dog affected with bloat needs immediate medical attention or it could result in death.

Finally, a degenerative eye disorder called Progressive Retinal Atrophy is also common in Irish Wolfhounds and could cause eventual blindness. Dogs inflicted with this, however, have been found to make up for blindness by using their other senses and living a productive and happy life. 

If you’re interested in a puppy from a breeder, you should ask for the health records of both parents to verify the health of your new pet. These dogs may not have a long lifespan, but you want to make sure you have your new family member for as long as you possibly can.


These dogs are some of the most costly dogs and may range anywhere from $1,400 to $2,500 depending on the pedigree of the dog. Since they have a shorter lifespan than other breeds, it may be difficult to find an older Irish Wolfhound at a shelter for a cheaper price. 

Because they’re also prone to health issues, the lifetime cost of taking care of your dog could be anywhere from $17,000 to $20,000. 


This breed may have been originally bred for war, but they can be some of the most loveable family dogs out there today. The gigantic size and intimidating appearance of the Irish Wolfhound can be incredibly misleading because underneath all of that muscle is a gentle, calm, dignified animal. 

These gentle giants are loyal to their owners and have a strong desire to gain human companionship. They do need the proper training with positive reinforcement like food and treats, and this breed doesn’t do well with negative reinforcement like yelling or physical punishment. 

Don’t think this massive dog will protect your home; in contrast, the Brindle Irish Wolfhound doesn’t have one aggressive bone in his extremely large body. If you get a pup, make sure to socialize him early with people and other animals to ensure they can handle other humans and pets.

Exercise Requirements

These dogs need plenty of exercise to complement their massive structure – at least 40 minutes a day. They love going on walks or playing in a fenced-in backyard. The fenced-in aspect of your backyard is essential for this sighthound that will chase anything and everything that enters his domain. 

Although exercise is key to a happy and healthy life, Brindle Irish Wolfhounds should not be taken on walks until they’re at least 6 months old. 

The beginning walks should last no more than a few minutes and build up gradually. This gradual exercise routine should continue through the first 2 years of your dog’s life since giant breeds are disposed to joint problems. 

Brindle Irish Wolfhounds should always be walked on a leash. If not, you’ll be chasing your dog, who will be chasing every squirrel, rabbit, cat, or another dog that crosses his path. 

Giant breed dogs like the Irish Wolfhound take the longest amount of time to reach their full-grown size, so they need to be eased into any exercise routine during the first few years of their life.

Are Brindle Irish Wolfhounds Good for Beginners?

This historical breed is a unique dog to own, but may not be good for beginners

The Brindle Irish Wolfhound is one of those breeds that is ill-advised as a first-time dog for beginners because of their massive size and strength and their need for vigilant training and socialization. New dog owners may want less of a challenge for their first pet. 

Irish Wolfhounds need a lot of space – a lot – so they’re also not recommended for apartment living. This seems contradictory since this breed has a fairly low need for activity, but they will grow so massively they need a lot of room to stretch out and relax. 

If you have cats or small dogs, you should also be wary of inviting a Brindle Irish Wolfhound into your home. Unless you socialize the pup early, he will more than likely look at your precious cat as prey and could hurt or even kill it. 

If you’re acclimated with dogs, however, Irish Wolfhounds are some of the calmest and gentle dog breeds you can find. 

They absolutely love being with their family and don’t mind spending a lot of time inside with their owners. They’re also very intelligent and work well with positive reinforcement techniques, making them easy to housetrain. 

Are Brindle Irish Wolfhounds Suitable for Children?

The Brindle Irish Wolfhound may look like a horse, but it shouldn’t be ridden like one by your children. His poor joints just can’t take the weight and strain, no matter how small and light your children may be. 

These dogs are calm, gentle, and easy-going with children. According to the AKC, the Irish Wolfhound ranks as a top acceptable dog when it comes to interacting with children. Their size may make them dangerous with younger children, but with supervision, they’re the perfect companion for your kids.

How Much Grooming Does My Brindle Irish Wolfhound Need?

Brindle Irish Wolfhounds are an average shedder, which means they only need to be brushed weekly or even every other week, compared to other dogs of a similar size.

How Fast Do They Grow?

With a much shorter lifespan than other dogs, Great Danes generally mature within 2 years. 

Lifespan6-8 years
Weight115-180 lbs
Height32-35 inches
Suitable ForKids, Families, Show
Grooming RequirementsMinimal weekly brushing
Health ConcernsLiver shunt, heart disease, osteosarcoma, bloat, progressive, retinal atrophy, Hip and elbow dysplasia, anesthesia sensitivity, and more.
TemperamentsLoyal, easy-going, trusting, calm, intelligent

Brindle Irish Wolfhounds grow quickly when compared to other extremely large dog breeds, so they should avoid any strenuous exercise as a pup in order to protect their physical development over the first year of life. 

You’ll find your Brindle Irish Wolfhound will love lying around the house and then periodically running around your backyard. Just make sure there’s enough room in your home for this massive hound. 

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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