Imagine you visit a doggy drive-thru, where you can order any adorable pup and take them home, a great idea isn’t it? You get there and you get confused initially because there are so many good boys and girls that will make for a great companion. Finally, you decide and order a large, majestic German Shepherd, but they say they don’t have a large GSD instead they hand you a long-haired pup that is quite large. “Well, what is this dog?” You ask, and you are told that it is an Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd mix, quite fancy. You go home, and are sitting with your new pup when you stumble upon this article, and here’s everything you need to know about this pooch.
Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix Origins
Let’s talk about the ancient parent breed first. Irish Wolfhound has been around from at least 273 B.C. so chances are that even its ancestors never heard of Jesus as well. Originally, these were war dogs used unsurprisingly by the Romans and the Greeks because of their exceptional strength and skill of dismounting cavalry. Additionally, they were also used as fierce combatants by the Roman gladiators in the arenas. When the war was finally over, people were missing the rush of such events, so what did they do? They took these dogs hunting, and once prosperity came, these dogs found themselves working as guard dogs for livestock to fend off predators, especially the big bad wolves or average wolves in front of these large dogs. At this point, Irish Wolfhounds were seen as symbols of nobility, and the large number of them you had, the more you were honored.
As for the origins of the German Shepherd, the only thing common among these two breeds is their relation with cavalry, while the Irish Wolfhound dismounted soldiers from their horses, this hound was created by a cavalry officer. In the 1800s, Captain Max von Stephanitz one day decided that he is going to create an ideal sheepherding dog that will be distinct from other nations’ herding dogs. He and like-minded breeders got together and started breeding various native dog breeds, results were dogs appearing similar to today’s German Shepherd yet still not exactly like it. He kept on refining the breed and finally, at a dog show he deemed a dog, which he thought was perfect in both the appearance and attributes as the German Shepherd.
Now coming to the Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd, well, not much is known about their history. They may have originated as a part of the designer dogs trend or when the idea of crossbreeding was booming in the mid-1900s. Your guess is as good as mine, therefore, we must move to their aspects that we are certain about.
Characteristics of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
- You’d be surprised to know that despite the two parent breeds being independent and great at guard, these do not make for a good guard dog
- This hybrid dog usually is more inlined with the German Shepherd side, and only pups that are born after several attempts with the Irish Wolfhound may exhibit its traits.
- Depending on which parent breed has more influence on the puppies, either they will be reserved at first and quickly become friendly or might be standoffish with strangers.
- Despite their both parent breeds being known for their hunting and aggression, these are usually calm and gentle dogs.
The Appearance of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
Once again depending on the breed, it can either look more like an Irish Wolfhound or either more like a German Shepherd.
- If a male Irish Wolfhound is bred with a female German Shepherd then the puppies will appear more like momma’s boys/girls, and vice-versa.
- Their fur can either be grayish appearing more like Irish Wolfhound, or it can be tan, black, and anything in between.
- They also have a double coat. The overcoat is hard and wiry while the inner coat is dense and soft.
- Usually, they are medium to large, but in some cases, it was also seen that the hybrid puppies were on the shorter side.
Size and Weight of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
As mentioned earlier they are larger than an average-sized dog. While there are some misconceptions about the difference between the size of males and females, however, it is identical.
While these dogs are not larger than the original Irish Wolfhound, some expectations have been observed, and given such a range in their size, it is hard to pinpoint an exact number. However, these are anywhere from 28 inches to 32 inches tall and weigh approximately 100 pounds.
As mentioned earlier, they are identical to males in size and weight; 28 to 32 inches and 100 pounds respectively.
Requirements of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
I don’t know if you can tell or not but these are not the type of dogs to sit by your side all the time, so be prepared when you get this pooch as a part of your family.
While both the German Shepherd and Irish Wolfhounds are dogs that require high-intensity exercises and an active lifestyle, this hybrid is satisfied with a little less. They do require approximately 2 hours of activity, but it doesn’t have to be strenuous because these dogs are gentle, and possess less athleticism than their parent breeds, and if they get tired before the two-hour mark, simply let them rest.
Now, keep in mind that the Irish Wolfhounds were traditionally hunting dogs for wolves and larger prey, being such they weren’t required to follow any special commands or be exceptionally obedient. Similarly, GSDs were sheepherders and were trained to attack predators and weren’t much social, and these traits can be seen in their hybrid offspring. They can be oblivious to your commands, or even become aggressive when things don’t go their way, and given their size, it can turn bad. Therefore, you must train these hounds from puppyhood, and not stop there, but continue their training as much as you can. Plus, you must take them in the public from early on and let them socialize and get accustomed to the world around them.
These pooches can shed, and they do shed quite a bit, so be prepared to brush them. Irish Wolfhound German Mixes are known to shed throughout the year and require brushing at least twice a week to avoid matting of the fur. However, they excessively shed during the spring season and during this time you must brush them as much as you can. As for the bathing needs, if you are brushing them frequently then bathing shouldn’t be required as often. Though trimming is not required, most owners get some of these hounds’ hair trimmed from their ears and paws, to avoid infection and slipping respectively.
Diet and Nutrition of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
Before you even plan on what to feed them, please know that they being large dogs, they have a large appetite as well. So make sure you have the funds to feed them.
- While some other breeds can easily thrive on mediocre dog food, not this one. This pooch’s nutrition need is higher than most dogs, and due to their health issues, it becomes even more crucial that you only feed them high-quality food.
- Even when choosing dog food, not any food will do. They specifically require dog food that is catered to large dog breeds, as they have different requirements for proper growth and development.
- When you have a dog with such a large appetite, it is natural to think that any amount they eat is fine. However, it is important that you closely watch their diet, as excessive food can lead to hip issues.
- Both the parent breeds are known for their high-protein needs, and it is the same case for this dog as well.
- Avoid feeding them products with high-fat content, as they can have digestion issues.
Health Issues to Look Out For
Though both Irish Wolfhounds and German Shepherds are fairly healthy breeds, unfortunately, this hybrid dog is susceptible to many health problems and can generally be considered as an unhealthy dog.
Among all the conditions, hip dysplasia is one that this dog suffers the most from and is fairly common in large breeds. Furthermore, both Irish Wolfhounds and GSDs are affected by it, so it is only natural that it occurs in their hybrid child. In this, the hip joint’s ball and socket are deformed during the growth due to overfeeding or overexercising.
Another common health issue that is faced by almost all large dogs in the world. Being large means, there is additional strain on the joints, which over time leads to arthritis.
A problem that is often seen in old dogs, is a progressive disease of the spinal cord. Usually, it affects dogs that are in the age group of 8 to 14 years old. It hinders the functionality of hind limbs, causing the dog to wobble and drag its hind legs, and this mixed breed suffers from this quite often.
While other conditions cause pain and discomfort to this breed, but the leading cause of their death is this disease. In this, the heart loses the ability to maintain adequate pressure to pump the blood throughout the system. If you find your dog struggling for breath and exhausting quickly, it’s best to visit a veterinarian.
The temperament of Irish Wolfhound German Shepherd Mix
As mentioned previously, these are comparatively gentle dogs to their parent breeds.
- While the German Shepherds are highly trainable dogs that follow commands like a soldier, Irish Wolfhounds are like middle-aged successful people; they don’t listen, and this mixed breed sits in between.
- They are family-oriented dogs and love spending time with them. Not social by any means, but as for their family they love being around them.
- These are great around children as well, though it is not recommended to let any small toddler around them, once a child is grown enough they can play with them nicely once trained.
- While they are not aggressive towards strangers, they are no labs either; they will be reserved around strangers.
Who are they Good For?
Despite their parent breeds being completely independent, these dogs do great with families. It doesn’t matter if you have a large family or a small one, as long as these dogs are trained properly they are an excellent choice. While they can be somewhat territorial if you socialize them from an early age, they can get along with other pets easily. So it’s a win-win.
I guess it comes as no surprise, that these large dogs are not suited for apartments and small spaces. Furthermore, they require large areas just to stretch, and given the present-day prices for apartments, they might not even be able to do that. Therefore, it is best to keep them if you live in towns or cities with access to dog parks and have a backyard, or in the best-case scenario, you live in the countryside.
Where to Buy Them?
In the last two decades or so, mixed breeds have gained quite the popularity, however, this isn’t one of them. You’d rarely come across this breed and even your local breeder might not have them. Usually, I suggest visiting your local shelter, but I’m certain they might not have this pooch. Your best bet is to go online and see if any reputed breeder is willing to deliver this pooch to you.
These large dogs are an excellent choice for families, they might not be great guard dogs, but their sheer size and looks are enough to scare away most intruders. Just take care of their needs and they will become great family dogs.