Category Archives: Irish Wolfhound

The Smallest, Tallest, Fastest and Oldest Cat and Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Over the years, selective breeding has given cat and dog breeds a variety of sizes, shapes and abilities. You can’t help but wonder if a Chihuahua really does think he’s as big as a Great Dane. Cats and dogs have found their way into our hearts, though, and I wanted to share some fun trivia about the smallest, tallest, fastest and oldest of our four legged friends.

Smallest dog and cat breeds

Chihuahua – He may be the smallest dog breed in the world, but his ancestors were thought of in a big way. The Aztecs believed this little dog had mystical powers and could see the future, heal the sick and guide souls through the underworld. That might explain the Chihuahua’s stubborn streak. Despite his diminutive size, the tenacious breed is on a list of the top ten watchdogs recommended by security experts. The Chihuahua is no more than 5 inches at the shoulder and weighs 6 pounds or less. Average lifespan is 12 to 20 years.

Singapura – One of the sixteen natural cat breeds, this intelligent kitty is athletic, muscular, playful and curious. Native to the island of Singapore where she lived as a feral cat on the streets, her early existence is a mystery. The breed developed naturally, without human intervention. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the Singapura was developed as a breed. The cat weighs 4 to 8 pounds and has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. You can learn more about the Singapura in this article from the CANIDAE RPO archives. The cat breed with the shortest legs is the Munchkin, with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years.

Tallest dog breed

Irish Wolfhound – His name indicates a dog with a fierce demeanor, but this sighthound is a gentle soul despite his enormous size, and gets along well with everyone, including kids and other dogs. However, his fierceness as a hunter of large game is legendary. Native to Ireland, and old Irish proverb aptly described the breed as “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Standing 30 to 35 inches at the shoulder and weighing 105 to 180 pounds, their average lifespan is 6 to 8 years. The Mastiff is the heaviest dog breed, weighing 120 to 230 pounds, with a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

Largest cat breed

Ragdoll – Developed in America in the early 1960s, the Ragdoll is a good natured, laid back kitty that loves to be with her people. She enjoys being held and has a tendency to go limp when she’s picked up. Some males weigh up to 35 pounds, but the average size is around 20 pounds. A Ragdoll can be three times larger than other breeds. This “dog-like” feline gets along well with the entire family. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Fastest dog and cat breed

Greyhound – One of the oldest dog breeds, the Greyhound originated in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Other sighthounds like the Whippet, Saluki and Afghan Hound aren’t that far behind, but at around 45 mph this speedy breed tops all dog breeds. The Greyhound is number 7 on the fastest land animal list, with the Cheetah holding the top spot. But when it comes to stamina, the Greyhound is far superior to the Cheetah who fizzles out after a short burst of speed. A Greyhound’s average lifespan is 10 to 13 years.

Egyptian Mau – This super intelligent kitty is the only domesticated cat with a spotted coat that occurs naturally. Originating in Egypt, the Mau was given high status and worshiped like a god. In Ancient Egypt, the word Mau means cat. The Cat Fanciers’ Association describes the breed as “something a little exotic, a little jungle, a little breathtaking and a little primitive.” This little beauty’s hind legs are longer than her front legs, and along with her spotted coat, she looks Cheetah-like. Not as fast as the Cheetah or Greyhound, the Mau has a top speed of 30 mph. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Oldest dog and cat breed

Saluki – Originating in the Middle East sometime around 329 BC, the Saluki holds the title as the world’s oldest breed. The Saluki was bred as a medium size sighthound to hunt gazelle and hare in the deserts. Highly prized, the Saluki was given noble treatment over all other dog breeds, sharing their owner’s food and tent. The Saluki may look elegant, but he’s an athletic, quick and unrelenting hunter, with stamina and speed to chase down his prey. Average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.

Egyptian Mau – Not only is the Mau the fastest cat breed, it’s most likely the oldest as well. Depictions of cats resembling the Mau are found on Egyptian hieroglyphics. These cats were so revered by their owners, after death their bodies were mummified and placed in tombs.

Chihuahua photo by Jose Antonio Tovar
Singapura photo by Lil Shepherd
Ragdoll by Steve Jurvetson
Egyptian Mau photo by Nickolas Titkov
Saluki photo by Renee Johnson

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The Dog Breeds of Ireland

By Linda Cole

I love digging into the history of dog breeds and where they originated. Our relationship with canines began centuries ago, and understanding the needs of our ancestors tells us we haven’t really changed all that much in terms of how we use specific breeds to do certain jobs. Many of today’s breeds began in Asia and other areas of the world. Ireland can also lay claim to dog breeds that originated on the Emerald Isle.

Irish Setter

This beautiful chestnut red dog is a breed most people associate with Ireland. In the early years, the dog had shorter legs and a red/white coat. The solid red color didn’t begin to show up until the 1800s and soon became the color signifying a well bred, quality dog with excellent hunting ability. Popular throughout England and Ireland in the 1700s, the breed was likely developed by mixing the Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Spaniel, Pointer and Gordon Setter.

The sporting dog was originally bred to crouch low next to a bird to “set” his game and wait for a hunter to walk up and toss a net over the dog and bird. After firearms improved, the Irish Setter became a complete hunting dog that could point, retrieve and hunt game birds in different types of terrain. The dog has an exceptional nose and can quickly find game hiding in the brush. He’s an affectionate, smart and energetic family pet.

Irish Terrier

During WWI, the Irish Terrier was used to run messages and as a sentinel to warn soldiers of any surprise attacks. This dog is thought to be one of the oldest terrier breeds and could possibly be around two thousand years old. No one knows which breeds were used to produce the Irish Terrier, but they originated in Country Cork, Ireland in the 1700s where they were used as a retriever and to hunt otter, water rats, fox and other vermin. At one time during the early 1900s, the Irish Terrier was very popular in the U.S., but for some reason, their popularity died out and they are now rare. This dog has a long body and long legs. He is a loyal, brave, inquisitive, adventurous, playful, energetic and kid friendly dog.

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Breed Profile: Irish Wolfhound, the Gentle Giant


By Ruthie Bently

The Irish Wolfhound breed has an interesting past. One of the earliest records of the Irish Wolfhound comes from the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, in 391 A.D. He wrote about seven that he received as a gift, though there is some thought that the breed may have arrived in Ireland as early as 3500 B.C. They were used by the Romans as guards for their stock, castles and families. They were also used as warriors in battle to drag men off horseback or out of chariots, as well as for hunting game like the very large Irish elk and wolves. Irish Wolfhounds were also considered a family pet, and were allowed to play with children.

With the extinction of the Irish elk and wolves, the breed almost became extinct itself. Because there was such a worldwide demand for the Irish Wolfhound, Oliver Cromwell created a law to ban their export from Ireland. Nevertheless, by the nineteenth century there were not many Wolfhounds left in Ireland. Enter Captain George August Graham, who in 1862 began to restore the breed. He gathered the last specimens of the breed, and by using a Borzoi, Tibetan Mastiff, Great Danes and Deerhounds was able to recover the size and style of the original Irish Wolfhound. Under his supervision, in 1885 with the founding of the Irish Wolfhound club, the first breed standard was made. In 1981, the Irish Wolfhound Society was founded by Mrs. Florence Nagle, and every year both the society and the club hold a rally and a championship show and open.

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest and largest of the hound group, with a rough coat. He has keen sight, is very swift and powerful with a commanding appearance and a strong muscular frame. The size range for height should be between 30 and 34 inches at the shoulder with the minimum for females being 30 inches and a weight of 105 pounds; males should be 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 120 pounds. They should have good symmetry and power while being active and showing courage.

While Irish Wolfhounds are known as “gentle giants,” it should be remembered that they are historically a hunting dog. They are usually friendly and even tempered, but socializing them early is very important. They are generally good with other dogs and people, and most Wolfhounds love children. However, they may not do well around other types of animals because of their natural instincts. One good outlet for this behavior is lure coursing, which also helps with their need for exercise.

Because of their size and exercise requirements, you should carefully consider whether a Wolfhound is the right breed for you. Although they can be kept in a city, it is not the best place for them. The ideal situation for them is a property that is fenced and has sufficient room for them to run and gallop, as their size demands. As an adult, these dogs are a calm, loving family member and do best with daily human companionship.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.