IWANE Logo Finding an
Irish Wolfhound Puppy


First of all, you need to find a responsible breeder.  

What The Prospective Owner Should Know:

  • Most responsible breeders do not advertise in newspaper classifieds or on the internet, and some may have waiting lists. The responsible breeder does not breed to supply a market, and does not hand over a puppy simply in exchange for the asking price. Most will have a contract to be signed by the puppy buyer.

  • Irish Wolfhounds are sighthounds - they are fast and strong and have an instinct to chase. They need a securely fenced area in which to exercise and responsible breeders will require one. An above-ground fence is called for. So-called "invisible fences" will not keep them in and will not protect them from other persons or animals coming into your yard.

  • You should expect many questions from the responsible breeder about your accommodations, lifestyle, expectations, etc. The responsible breeder will want to make sure that this breed is a good choice for you and your family.

  • It takes more time and effort to obtain a puppy from a responsible breeder, and it is well worth it! There are  breeders only too happy to take your money in exchange for a puppy with no questions asked - and once the check clears, you're on your own.

  • Irish Wolfhounds are expensive to purchase and to maintain. They require a goodly amount of exercise and CANNOT be allowed to roam at large. You should be informed of breed-related problems such as bone cancer, heart disease, bloat, anesthesia risk, and liver shunt.

  • You should personally visit the breeder.  Buying a puppy sight unseen via the internet is not advised. Often the information given is either misleading or plain wrong. "Champion bloodlines" does not mean one titled dog out of 30!  Claims of "top bloodlines", perfect health, or exceptional longevity without substantiation are just another way to lure buyers. Unless the breeder shows his or her dogs in conformation or performance events, is involved in the breed (clubs, events), is known to other IW breeders and owners, and is able to substantiate any claims for bloodlines, health, longevity, etc., it's advisable to look elsewhere.

  • When you visit, look for a clean, safe environment. The puppies and adults should be healthy and happy and well-cared-for. You should be able to see and spend time with the puppies' mother. You should be suspicious of her absence and excuses as to why she is not there or why you are not allowed to see her. Likewise, ask to see the sire. He may not be owned by the breeder, so in that case you should expect the breeder to have pictures, pedigree, and health and testing information on him. Ask about the background of the litter, including temperament and health. The breeder should do genetic health testing (such as OFA, CERF, cardiac testing, etc.) on the sire and dam before breeding – ask about this. The recommended health tests for the breed as currently indicated by the parent club are listed at the Canine Information Health Center at  http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=IW.

  • If the breeder is advertising the puppies as "show quality" or coursing prospects, ask the breeder why he/she feels these puppies will perform well in these endeavors.  Does the pedigree reflect show or performance event success? How much personal experience does the breeder have in these areas? Often puppies from irresponsible breeders will be advertised as "champion lines" if even one dog in a 3 or 4 generation pedigree has a title, or "show quality" or "show potential" or "coursing hounds" even though the breeder and his/her dogs have never participated in shows or field trials. If the breeder makes various claims about their "bloodlines" ("world class", "rare", "excellent" and so on), ask them to explain these claims. A claim that a kennel name is "well-known" does not necessarily indicate that it belongs to a responsible breeder.

  • An active breeder should be exhibiting his/her dogs. Be cautious of a breeder that does not show and gives such excuses as “I'm too busy”, “the people are mean”, "I don't need to show, I know these are great dogs", “I’m just breeding pets for people”, and so on.

  • For more information, see "Buying An IW Puppy".

The Responsible Breeder:

  • Will ask a prospective IW buyer a LOT of questions!

  • Will gladly answer your questions, and will have health records and results of genetic tests done on sire and dam.

  • Will have all records in order, and will provide health information with each puppy - dates of vaccinations, names of the vaccines used, worming regimen, dates for the next veterinary visit, and so on.

  • Will provide a signed AKC registration slip (or a signed letter stating that such a slip is forthcoming) and pedigree.

  • Will provide the buyer with feeding and care instructions, and will always be a support system for you and welcome your questions at any time.

  • Will provide the buyer with information about the local regional IW club and the breed parent club.

  • Does not sell puppies with "puppy-back" requirements or other arrangements that require you to breed your dog.

  • Will take back or help place any IW he or she sells, anytime in its lifetime, no excuses.