IWANE Logo "Having Fun With Your
Irish Wolfhound"

by Pam Murphy


     If you belong to any of the Irish Wolfhound Internet Lists or subscribe to any of the Irish Wolfhound magazines, there are probably times when it seems that the Irish Wolfhound world is filled with Irish Wolfhounds who only compete in AKC conformation shows. Perhaps you have a rescue IW, an IW from an animal shelter, or an IW who is not show quality and has been neutered. The wonderful news is that if you want to get out there in the show world and show what a great team you and your Irish Wolfhound are, there are plenty of activities for you to get involved in!  Something for everyone!

     To compete in any performance event under the auspices of the American Kennel Club your Irish Wolfhound must be registered with the American Kennel Club. If your companion already has an AKC number, you are all set.....but if your Irish Wolfhound came to you without AKC papers, and you are uncertain about your dogís parentage you can still get your dog registered with the American Kennel Club by obtaining an ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege) number from the AKC. To obtain an ILP number you must fill the form out completely, supplying as much information as you can. Have two clear photos taken of your dog, a side view and a front view, obtain correct measurement of your dogís height and record itís weight. You must also supply a veterinarian certificate proving that your dog has been neutered. Send the correct fee in and once your dog is assigned an ILP number you are ready to roll in on a lot of fun activities!   

The ILP form is downloadable as a PDF file here.
If you don't have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, get it for free:


Obedience Competition

Ama (Redtops Marumac Court Jester II CD) & Pam Murphy

     Many people become involved in obedience classes because of problem behaviors with their companions. Training your dog in a group setting can be a fun occasion, an hour a week spent together with your very best friend...... Obedience Competition can take this training to a whole new level!  The American Kennel Club offers three levels of Obedience Competitions at AKC dog show where you and your dog can compete and earn obedience titles. Each title is earned after your dog qualifies in three obedience trails under three different judges. Novice is the first level....teamwork is tested in a number of areas, heeling, allowing examination, coming when called and staying put in a sit for one minute and a down for three minutes. Successful completion of this level will earn your dog a CD (Companion Dog). Open and Utility are the next two levels, each with increasing difficulty....both done entirely off-leash. Completion of the Open Title earns your dog a CDX and finishing up the Utility title earns a UD (Utility Dog). Training for these titles builds a wonderful bond, and will help to make your dog a welcome addition to anywhere you might like to take him!


Rally O!

Raeva (Redtops Raeva O'Murchadha CD) & Pam Murphy

     Rally O! Is short for Rally Obedience, the new entry into the world of AKC obedience.  It can be a transition sport between informal and formal obedience or can stand on itís own. Unlike formal obedience, in Rally O! The handler can talk to and interact with their dog on the course. Rally is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 - 20, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed.

     Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. The team of dog and handler moves continuously at a brisk, but normal, pace with the dog under control within a 2-foot area at the handler's left side. There should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during the numbered exercises and between the exercise signs; however, perfect "heel position" is not required. After the judge's "Forward" order, the team is on its own to complete the entire sequence of numbered signs correctly.

     Titles are earned in the same manner as formal obedience, three trials under three different judges. Titles that can be earned are RN (Rally Novice)....performed all on leash, RA (Rally Advanced), and RE (Rally Excellent), these final two are performed completely off leash. Rally offers fun and excitement for the dog, handler and the audience!


(Redtops Marumac Court Jester II CD)

     Agility is the ultimate game for you and your dog.  It also one of the most exciting canine sports for spectators. In agility, a dog demonstrates is agile nature and versatility by following cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course. The course has jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and other obstacles. Agility strengthens the bond between dogs and handlers, it is extremely fun, and it provides vigorous exercise for both!  The AKC offers two types of agility classes. The first is the Standard Class which includes obstacles such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. The second is Jumpers with Weaves. This class only has jumps, tunnels and weave poles.
     Both classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles. There are many Irish Wolfhounds that compete in Agility events and have a great time doing it! Agility equipment is a standard size, and safety an important consideration...with a giant breed dog this can sometimes make training a bit difficult and one must always have safety in the back of your mind. Some IWs handle the obstacles well, some others clearly just donít fit into or onto the obstacles!  There are classes offering just jumps and weave poles, so once training is completed, these classes in competition are an option for Irish Wolfhounds that may not fit through the tunnels, or are uncertain on the dog walk....its worth a try!!!

Lure Coursing

Gladdy (Kaelynís Cladagh OBarraGwynn)
owned by Mo Aiken, at her very first course

Ceili (Ch. Ceile Of Nutstown, SC),
owned by Paul and Dianne Hayes


The AKC offers this program that the dogs and owners love so well, to test the dog's basic coursing instinct or hunting by sight ability.  Lure coursing is open to all sighthounds. The dogs chase an artificial lure, in an open field and are judged by two judges, on the dogs overall ability, speed, endurance, agility, and how well they follow the lure. The dogs can earn titles, such as Junior Courser (JC), Senior Courser (SC), and Master Courser (MC). They can also obtain a Field Championship (FC) and the title of Lure Courser Excellent (LCX). The upside of this event is the dogs are kept in such good healthy shape, by doing something that comes naturally and that they really like to do. Lure coursing is an exciting event to watch, one that can make you hold your breath, just at the sheer beauty of watching these dogs in motion!!!!


See AKC's Lure Coursing

Also see: The American Sighthound Field Association on The Sport of Lure Coursing


Canine Good Citizen

     The Canine Good Citizen course was introduced by the American Kennel Club in 1989 and the program has grown tremendously over that time period. The CGC program is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who demonstrate good manners at home and within the community.  Itís a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. The CGC program is open to pure breed and mixed breed dogs, unlike other activities through the American Kennel Club, and no ILP number is required.

     The CGC lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events, with basic steps such as Accepting A Friendly Stranger, Sitting Politely For Petting, Appearance And Grooming, Out For A Walk, Walking Through A Crowd, Sit And Down On Command/Staying In Place, Coming When Called, Reaction To Another Dog, Reaction To Distractions, and Supervised Separation.

Whichever way you go with your Irish Wolfhound, AKC competition sports will help you build
a lasting bond with your dog, make you marvel at their abilities, and at times, their creativity! 
The rewards are absolutely AWESOME!!

Raeva and Pam Murphy, being awarded their 3rd CD leg

For more about Pam, see www.nbproductionsqualitydogtraining.com