5 Gentle Giant Family Dogs


Irish Wolfhound

A true gentle giant, the Irish wolfhound is the tallest of dog breeds. It's also is one of the sweetest.

Adult males are usually at least 32 inches (81 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and often as tall as 35 inches (89 centimeters). Females are usually a couple of inches shorter. Adults may weigh from 140 to 180 pounds (64 to 82 kilograms) [source: Irish Wolfhound Club of America].

Irish wolfhounds are sight hounds -- dogs bred to use keen eyesight and swiftness to hunt. Irish Wolfhounds are an ancient breed that hunted wolves in Ireland nearly 2,000 years ago. Ancient Romans wrote about them and may have brought them to Ireland [source: The Complete Dog Book].

These big puppies need to play and bond with the family. Irish Wolfhounds are usually gentle, quiet, calm, even-tempered and affectionate. A large, fenced yard comes in handy. Adult Wolfhounds may get lazy. It's a good idea to take them for frequent long walks to keep them healthy. Excursions where they can run free are even better -- Irish Wolfhounds don't do well in closed spaces.

They have a rough coat, but it does not need a lot of grooming. Their life span is usually six to eight years.

Ready for another big dog? Keep reading.