Finding Your Irish Wolfhound Puppy

The recommendation to find a responsible breeder is still the “golden rule”, but just how do you go about that?

There is no one perfect way to find your breeder, but here are some basic suggestions. Reputable and responsible breeders often have waiting lists and getting the right puppy may take longer than you would like. You may need to look outside your region to find a breeder that has puppies available

Use the IWCA website as a first step resource:

  • Breeder Directory and Contacts Directory - Reach out to these volunteers in your region to answer your questions about the breed and determine if there are breeders near your location.
  • Irish Wolfhound Events - This section can tell you about specialty shows just for Irish Wolfhounds coming up. Attending one of these events is a great way to meet people and their hounds.
  • Regional Irish Wolfhound Clubs - Contacting the regional club that is closest to you is another strong move to get you connected with people and activities in your area. St Patrick’s Day parades, Club specialty shows and other events like Renaissance Fairs are more opportunities for you to meet the breed and their owners.

Go to a local Regional Specialty show to meet exhibitors and breeders.

Go to a dog show where there are Irish Wolfhounds, preferably a Specialty. Breeders use these shows as opportunities to share knowledge with other breeders, and to take stock of the hounds being exhibited by other kennels. Here you will meet many breeders with hounds that represent the very best of the Breed Standard.

Meet the breeder you are hoping to get a puppy from.

If you cannot get to a dog show, use the contact information in the Breeder Directory to make arrangements to meet IWCA breeders and their hounds at home. Meet and compare as many breeders and their breeding practices as you can. This will allow you to get an idea if they are a good match for you. Your breeder will be the best resource for you raising a healthy puppy so this relationship is very important. Consider bringing an experienced dog person along with you. Get references from the IWCA Contact Directory or Breeder Directory.

Be prepared to answer LOTS of questions about your interest in Wolfhounds, your experience and the home environment you would provide.

What about searching the Internet? Learning about the Irish Wolfhound on line and finding many breeders with great websites can be educational. However, the dog world is filled with people who are breeding dogs, including Wolfhounds, who do not take care to do the necessary health tests or even try to breed dogs of excellent quality. Irish Wolfhounds have not escaped the exploitation of commercial-type and other irresponsible breeders who are interested only in profiting from the production and sale of puppies. Be sure to follow up any on-line contact with an in person visit and references to avoid being taken advantage of.

What you should discuss with breeders.

Tell me about the health and longevity in your breeding.

Anyone interested in producing healthy dogs will want to talk to you about common health problems in our breed, what problems they have tested for and what you can generally expect in lifespan for our breed. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates with potential buyers. It’s not a good sign if someone says they don’t have any cancer or heart disease in their dogs as these are the two main reasons for Irish Wolfhound deaths.

How long have you been breeding Irish Wolfhounds? What is your experience with this breed?

Look for someone who can discuss the breed’s positive and negative qualities. They should be able to talk about the qualities they are most interested in producing in their dogs. You may want to ask if they are involved in any breed clubs or organizations. Responsible breeders are interested in getting opinions and evaluations of their breeding program from judges and other breeders.

Ask to meet the adult dogs and the mother of the puppies.

Meeting the adult dogs including the mother gives you a better idea of what you can expect in your puppy. What physical condition are the dogs in? Are they outgoing and friendly?

What requirements do you have of people looking to get one of your puppies?

Breeders should be willing to answer your questions, but they should ask many questions of you as well. Responsible breeders want to be absolutely sure their puppies are going to the right home with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

Do you provide a health guarantee and a contract?

It is important to discuss what happens if your puppy develops a serious health condition. If you can no longer care for the puppy, responsible breeders will always take the puppy back. Ask if the puppy will come with a list of vaccines and deworming treatments given. Ask to see a sample contract.

How do you socialize your puppies?

A puppy should have a stable, warm and friendly environment in which to live. Puppies should be handled and played with

It is important to look for a well socialized puppy - one that is confident and happy to meet you. A puppy should be raised in a steady, warm and friendly environment where it is frequently handled and played with. Breeders can make a big difference in the confidence of a puppy. If you have questions, be sure to ask. Each puppy will have a unique personality, which a caring breeder will try to match to the type of home that the puppy will be going to.

When will you be able to take the puppy home?

The breeder should not allow a puppy to go to their new home before 10-12 weeks of age. ALL PUPPIES SHOULD BE TESTED FOR LIVER SHUNT prior to going to their new homes, which is best done after 9 weeks of age. Puppies also need ample time to mature and socialize with their mother and littermates. This time is longer in Irish Wolfhounds than many other breeds.

What will be supplied with the puppy?

You should expect to get documents listing the AKC registration of the puppy. These should come home with the puppy or have been provided in advance. Many breeders will also have a contract that states the expectations for the puppy’s care that is agreed upon and signed by both parties. Breeders should also send their puppies home with enough food for several days, a full pedigree, feeding directions, and an up to date health history (vaccines, deworming and bile acids test result).

How much does the puppy cost?

The price of a puppy varies by region of the country. A good suggestion is to get in touch with the IWCA Contact person in your area and ask what is the expected range of cost.

Beware of breeders whose puppies are being offered at a price substantially above or below the average for your area, offer “rare” or “especially unusual” traits, or who seem particularly anxious to sell you a puppy.

This page was last updated 01/15/2023.