Monday, 20 August 2007

List of Dog breeds (Page 13)

Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a breed of spitz dog originating from the dogs brought to Iceland by the Vikings. Later, dogs were taken from Iceland to the British Isles and became the basis for Border Collies and Corgis. In the Shetland Islands, it was crossed with the Norwegian Buhund and became the Shetland Sheepdog.


These are current breed standards: neck: moderately long, muscular, arched, carried high. back: level, muscular, strong. chest: long, deep, well strung. belly: only a slight tuck upwards. tail: high-set, curled, touching back.

FOREQUARTERS: straight, parallel, strong forelegs. dew claws: may be double. forefeet: oval-like toes, arched, tight, with well-developed pads. shoulders: oblique, muscular. gait: displays endurance and agility, driving action, covers ground effortlessly.

HEAD: strongly built, close-fitting skin, skull slightly longer than muzzle making it look triangular from side or above. nose: black, or dark brown in lighter-color breeds. muzzle: nasal bridge straight, slightly shorter than skull, tapers evenly towards nose to form triangle. lips: black, close-fitting. bite: scissor. cheeks: flat. eyes: medium, almond-shaped, brown, eye-rims are black. ears: erect, medium in size, triangular, very mobile as they move in sensitivity with dog's moods.

HEIGHT: male: 46 cm female: 42 cm

COLOR: tan, reddish-brown, chocolate, grey, black, white is a prominent color, and is required.

FROM SIDE: rectangular, length from shoulder to base of tail is greater than height at withers.

depth of chest: equal to length of foreleg.

COAT: two types: long and short, both thick and waterproof.


The Icelandic sheepdog very much resembles dogs found in graves in Denmark and Sweden from about 8000 B.C. Dog imports to Iceland were limited and from 1901 even forbidden.

In 1650 Sir Thomas Brown wrote "To England there are sometimes exported from Iceland ... a type of dog resembling a fox ... Shepherds in England are eager to acquire them!"

Plague and canine distemper destroyed over 75% of the breed in the late 19th century, leading to a ban on the importation of dogs. The purebred Icelandic sheepdog was again bordering extinction in the late 20th century and in 1969 the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association (HRFÍ) was established, which had among other aims to preserve the breed.


The breed is sometimes denoted in Latin as canis islandicus even though it is a breed and not a species.

The Icelandic sheepdog often has double dewclaws on the hind paws.

The Icelandic sheepdog often has double dewclaws on the hind paws.

Like the name implies it's a sheep dog, but it was also used as a guard dog and general working dog. When herding, the Icelandic sheepdogs were not mainly used to take the sheep from one point to another. However, the dogs were in charge of moving horses and other animals as well. When herding failed, the dogs "drove" the animals by barking. Although this can be trained out of Icies (as they are affectionately referred to), they have a natural tendency to bark when they want something. In the Icelandic landscape sheep often got lost and it was the job of the dog to find them and bring them back to the pack. They are used to work on their own and they figure out things for themselves so owners have to beware so that they don't learn things they shouldn't. As a guard dog their main task was to alert the inhabitants that somebody was coming so the Icelandic sheepdog tends to bark a lot when it sees people approaching. Icelandic Sheepdogs bark, but don't bite. The only predators in Iceland that were a threat to the sheep were eagles so an Icelandic sheepdog will have a tendency to bark at birds and aircraft. The Icelandic sheepdog is very loyal and wants to be around its family all the time. It follows its owner everywhere. Unlike most working dogs, the Icelandic sheepdog calms down when indoors and will happily lie down next to its master's feet.

Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter is a breed of dog, more specifically a setter. It is virtually identical in use and temperament to its cousin, the Irish Setter, but is more often found as a working gundog.


The coat is long and silky, mostly white, with deep red patches. The dogs range in height from 22 1/2 to 24 for bitches and 24 to 26 inches for males, and weigh 50 to 70 pounds (27-32 kg).


The Red and White can take longer to train than other gundogs, but once trained it is a loyal and reliable companion. Like the Irish Setter, the breed has an enthusiastic zest for life, loves to play, and is excellent with children. Irish Red and White Setters thrive best in active families and require room to romp.


Originally all Irish Setters were mostly red, or red and white, but for many years breeders developed only the red varieties. Consequently, the breed came close to extinction. Thanks to the efforts of an early 20th-century Irish clergyman, Noble Huston, the breed was saved. The Irish Red and White Setter has undergone a revival in recent decades and is considered a separate breed by most major kennel clubs. The breed is still in development for the AKC.


Breed Status in the United States: Currently Irish Red and White Setters that are recorded in the AKC's FSS may earn hunting titles as well as titles in obedience, dog agility, rally obedience, and tracking. They may not compete and earn either field or show championships. Starting June 27, 2007 the breed will be eligible to be shown in the Miscellaneous Class at AKC dog shows.

Irish Setter

The Irish Setter, also known as the Red Setter, is a breed of gundog and family dog. The term Irish Setter is commonly used to encompass the Show-bred dog recognized by the AKC as well as the field-bred Red Setter recognized by the Field Dog Stud Book. It is in the Setter Family


An Irish Setter after swimming

An Irish Setter after swimming

The coat is moderately long and silky and of a deep red color. It requires frequent brushing to maintain its condition and keep it mat-free. The undercoat is abundant in winter weather. Irish Setters range in height from 25 to 27 inches (64-69 cm), males weigh 60 to 70 pounds (27-32 kg) and females 53 to 64 pounds (24-29 kg). The FCI Breed Standard for the Irish Setter stipulates males: 23 to 26.5 inches (58-67 cm), females: 21.5 to 24.5 inches (55-62 cm).


This happy, playful breed is known for its joie de vivre and thrives on activity. It loves to run in open spaces. It is faster and has more endurance than other setter breeds.

In general, Irish Setters are friendly, enjoy human company, and actively look for other dogs to play with. They are affectionate and like to be petted. Irish Setters are excellent with children. Due to the breed's need for frequent activity, this is an inappropriate dog for inactive families or apartment dwellers. Irish Setters are not naturally aggressive, although can bark to protect the area from strangers. Despite being marked as slow-witted dogs by many, their trainability as working gun dogs belies this.


Irish Setters are a moderately healthy breed. Like almost all dog breeds, they are prone to certain genetic disorders:


The breed Irish Red Setter was developed in Ireland in the 1700s from the Old Spanish Pointer, setting spaniels, and early Scottish setters.

Early Irish Setters were white with red blotches on their coats, but today the Setter's coat is a rich mahogany color. The Irish Red and White Setter is more closely related to those early Setters.

The Irish Setter's name in Gaelic is Madra rua or "red dog". Originally, the Irish Setter was bred for hunting, specifically for setting or pointing upland gamebirds. They are similar to other members of the setter family such as the English Setter and Gordon Setter. Irish Setters are extremely swift, with an excellent sense of smell and are hardy over any terrain and in any climate. The Irish Setter is used for all types of hunting. It even works well on wetlands.

Today, the Irish Setter is more commonly found as a companion and family pet.

"Red Setter" Controversy

The Red Setter is a variant of the Irish Setter or Irish Red Setter. The Red Setter is a pointing breed of dog used to hunt upland game. Considerable acrimony exists between the partisans involved in the debate over this breed.


The Irish Setter was brought to the United States in the early 1800s. It commanded great respect in the field and was one of the most commonly used dogs among the professional meat hunter fraternity.

In 1874, the American Field put together the Field Dog Stud Book and registry of dogs in the United States was born. The FDSB is the oldest pure-bred registry in the United States. At that time, dogs could be registered even when bred from sires and dams of different breeds. At about this time, the Llewellin Setter was bred using blood lines from the Lavarack breeding of English Setter and, among other breeds, bloodlines from native Irish Setters. Around the same time, the red Irish Setter became a favorite in the dog show ring.

An AKC National Champion Pointing Bird

An AKC National Champion Pointing Bird

The Irish Setter of the late 1800s was not just a red dog. The AKC registered Irish Setters in a myriad of colors. Frank Forester, a 19th-century sports writer, described the Irish Setter as follows: "The points of the Irish Setter are more bony, angular, and wiry frame, a longer head, a less silky and straigher coat that those of the English. His color ought to be a deep orange-red and white, a common mark is a stripe of white between the eyes and a white ring around the neck, white stockings, and a white tage to the tail."

The Setter that was completely red, however, was preferred in the show ring and that is the direction that the breed took. Between 1874 and 1948, the breed produced 760 conformation champions, but only five field champions.

In the 1940s, Field and Stream magazine put into writing what was already a well-known fact. The Irish Setter was disappearing from the field and an outcross would be necessary to resurrect the breed as a working dog. Sports Afield chimed in with a similar call for an outcross. Ned LaGrange of Pennsylvania spent a small fortune purchasing examples of the last of the working Irish Setters in America and importing dogs from overseas. With the blessing of the Field Dog Stud Book, he began an outcross to red and white field champion English Setters. The National Red Setter Field Trial Club was created to test the dogs and to encourage breeding toward a dog that would successfully compete with the white setters. Thus the modern Red Setter was born and the controversy begun.

Prior to 1975 a relationship existed between the AKC and the Field Dog Stud book in which registration with one body qualified a dog for registration with the other. In 1975 the Irish Setter Club of America petitioned the AKC to deny reciprocal registration, and the AKC granted the request. It is claimed, by critics of the move, that the pressure was placed on the AKC by bench show enthusiasts who were unappreciative of the outcrossing efforts of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club, as well as some AKC field trialers following a series of losses to FDSB red setters. Working Irish Setter kennels today field champion dogs that claim lines from both the FDSB dogs and AKC dogs.


The modern Red Setter is smaller than his bench-bred cousin. While show dogs often reach 70 lb, the working Red Setter is generally around 45 lb. The coat is less silky and the feathering is generally shorter. The color is lighter, with the working dog found in russet and fawn colors. The Red Setter often has patches of white on his face and chest as the Irish Setter of old did.

Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier is a dog breed from Ireland, one of many breeds of Terrier.

The Irish Terrier is an active, compactly sized dog that is suited for life in both rural and city environments. The red, harsh coat protects an Irish Terrier well in all kinds of weather.


Breed standards describe the ideal Irish Terrier as being racy, red and rectangular. Racy: an Irish Terrier should appear powerful without being sturdy or heavy. Rectangular: the outline of the Irish Terrier differs markedly from those of other terriers. The Irish Terrier's body is proportionately longer than that of the Fox Terrier, with a tendency towards racy lines but with no lack of substance.

The tail is customarily docked soon after birth to approximately two-thirds of the original length. In countries where docking is prohibited, the conformation judges emphasize tail carriage. The tail should start up quite high, but it should not stick straight up or curl over the back or either side. The ears are small and folded forward just above skull level. They are preferably slightly darker than the rest of the coat. It is fairly common to see wrongly positioned ears, even though most dogs have their ears trained during adolescence.

Coat and colour

The Irish Terrier is coloured golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten. Dark red is often mistaken as the only correct colour, possibly because wheaten coats are often of worse quality. As with many other solid-coloured breeds, a small patch of white is allowed on the chest. No white should appear elsewhere. As an Irish Terrier grows older, grey hair may appear here and there.

The outer part of the double coat should be straight and wiry in texture, never soft, silky, curly, wavy, or woolly as might be expected in the Kerry Blue Terrier. The coat should lie flat against the skin, and, though having some length, should never be so long as to hide the true shape of the dog. There are longer hairs on the legs, but never so much as a Wire Fox Terrier or Schnauzer.

The inner part of the coat, called the under-wool or undercoat, should also be red. The under-wool may be hard for the inexperienced eye to see. Coat should be quite dense and so that "when parted with the fingers the skin is hardly visible".

A properly trimmed Irish Terrier should have some "furnishings" on legs and head. The slightly longer hair on the front legs should form even pillars, while the rear legs should only have some longer hair and not be trimmed too close to the skin. The chin is accentuated with a small beard. The beard should not be as profuse as that of a Schnauzer.

The eyes should be dark brown and quite small with a "fiery" expression. The eyes are topped with well-groomed eyebrows. The whole head should have good pigmentation.


Most countries have breed descriptions that say that the Irish Terrier should not be more than 48 cm measured at the withers. However, it is not unusual to see bitches that are 50 cm tall or dogs that are even 53 cm. Younger generations are closer to the ideal, but there is a downside to this: when an Irish Terrier is very small and light-boned, it loses the correct racy type.

Very seldom does one see Irish Terriers that weigh only 11 to 12 kg (25-27 lb), as the original Kennel Club breed description states. 13 kg for a bitch and 15 for a dog are acceptable.


The Irish Terrier is full of life, but not hyperactive. It should be able to relax inside the house and be roused to full activity level quickly.

Irish Terriers are good with people. Most Irish Terriers love children and tolerate rough-housing to a certain extent. Most breed devotees would not recommend an Irish Terrier as the first dog. They should know who is the boss, and have natural respect for him/her. Irish Terriers respond best to firm, consistent training from a relaxed, authoritative person. Violence should never be used - it is always best to outwit and lure.

Irish Terriers are often dominant with other dogs, particularly same-sex aggression is a common problem. Poorly socialized individuals will start fights with minimal,if any, provocation. Thus, early socialisation is a necessity. Most can have strong guarding instincts and when these instincts are controlled, make excellent alarming watchdogs. Most Irish Terriers need a reason for barking, and will not yap continuously.

Irish Terriers are intelligent and learn new things easily. They can learn complex tasks with relative ease, when they have the motivation to do so. In motivating tidbits and toys work equally well. Training will not be as easy as with other dog breeds that have stronger willingness to please people. When seeking a trainer, one should look for a person who has experience with Terriers.

The Irish Terrier is an active dog, and loves to be challenged mentally and physically. Most Irish Terriers are companions and show dogs. There are however more and more people joining organised dog sports with their ITs. Obedience training to a certain level is fairly easy, though the precision and long-lasting drive needed in the higher levels may be hard to achieve. Many Irish Terriers excel in agility, even though it may be hard to balance the speed, independence and precision needed in the higher levels. To date there is one Agility Champion in the US, and a handful of Finnish and Swedish Irish terriers compete at the most difficult classes.

Irish Terriers have a good nose and can learn to track either animal blood or human scent. Many Irish Terriers enjoy Lure Coursing, although they are not eligible for competition like sighthounds are. In Finland one Irish Terrier is a qualified Rescue Dog specialising at Sea Rescue.


The breed's origin is not known. It is believed to have descended from the black and tan terrier-type dogs of the British Isles, just like the Kerry Blue and Irish Soft-haired Wheaten Terriers in Ireland or the Welsh, Lakeland and Scottish Terriers in Great Britain.

F. M. Jowett writes in The Irish Terrier, 'Our Dogs' Publishing Co. Ltd., Manchester, England 1947 - 7th Edition: They are described by an old Irish writer as being the poor man's sentinel, the farmer's friend, and the gentleman's favourite...These dogs were originally bred not so much for their looks as for their working qualities and gameness, the Irish Terrier being by instinct a thorough vermin killer. They were formerly of all types and of all colours - black-and-tan, grey-and-brindle, wheaten of all shades, and red being the predominant colours. Colour or size evidently did not matter if they were hardy and game."

The proper selection process of the breed began only in the latter 19th century. They were shown now and then, sometimes in one class, sometimes in separate classes for dogs under and over 9 pounds.

The first breed club was set up in Dublin in 1879. Irish Terriers were the first members of the terrier group to be recognised by the English Kennel Club as a native Irish Breed - this happened just before the end of the 19th century. The first Irish Terriers were taken to the US in late 19th century and quickly became somewhat popular.

Although the breed has never been very "fashionable", there used to be big influential kennels in Ireland, the Great Britain and US up to the 1960s. Nowadays there is ambitious breeding in many continents, including North America, (Northern) Europe and Australia.


When groomed properly, the Irish Terrier coat will protect the dog from rain and cold. A properly cared-for Irish Terrier does not shed either. The wiry coat is fairly easy to groom, pet dogs (rather than show dogs) needing stripping only once or twice a year.

The coat must be stripped by hand or a non-cutting knife to retain its weather-resistant qualities. This does not hurt the dog when done properly. Keeping the skin above the stripped section taut with the other hand helps especially where the skin is looser, i.e. belly and chest. Never cut the coat - use your fingers or a non-cutting knife. If the coat is clipped, it loses color and becomes softer, thus losing its weather-resistant characteristics. For the same reason the coat should not be washed too often, as detergents take away the natural skin oils. Most Irish terriers only need washing when dirty.

When stripping, the coat may be "taken down" entirely to leave the dog in the undercoat until a new coat grows in. For a pet, this should be done at least twice a year. When a show-quality coat is required, it can be achieved in many ways. One is by "rolling the coat", i.e. stripping the dog every X weeks to remove any dead hair. Before a show an expert trimmer is needed to mold especially the head and legs.

Most Irish Terriers need to have their ears trained during adolescence. Otherwise the ears may stick up, roll back or hang down unaesthetically.


Irish Terrier is a generally healthy breed. The life expectancy is around 14 years.

The proportions are not over-exaggerated in any way and thus eye or breathing problems are rare. Most Irish Terriers do not show signs of allergies towards foods. As they are small dogs, the breed has a very low incidence of hip dysplasia.

In the 1960s and 1970s there were problems with hyperkeratosis, a disease causing corny pads and severe pain. Today it is widely known which dogs carried the disease and respectable breeders do not use those bloodlines anymore. A health study conducted by the Irish Terrier Club of America showed a greater-than-expected incidence of hypothyroidism and cataracts. There are not enough eye-checked individuals to draw any conclusions.

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is breed of dog that is the largest and one of the oldest of spaniels. It is also one of the rarest.


The Irish Water Spaniel is a stout and cobby dog native to Ireland. The coat, consisting of dense curls, sheds very little. The colour is liver/puce and has a very definite purple hue unlike the colour of any other known breed.[citation needed] Their coat is also unusual in that it is made of hair, not fur (hence the tendency not to shed). This characteristic means that people usually allergic to dogs might have less of an allergic reaction to Irish Water Spaniels (see hypoallergenic), and also means that the dogs must have regular haircuts, like humans. The dogs are strongly built, and a bit taller and more squarish than other spaniels. There is a curly topknot upon the head and the face is smooth. The most distinguishing characteristic of these dogs is their long "rat-like" tails, which are a striking contrast to their otherwise curly coats. Dogs range in height from 22 to 24 inches (56-61 cm), and weigh 55 to 65 pounds (25-30 kg). As their name would imply these dogs love water and to this end they have evolved slightly webbed feet to aid this.


This is an active breed that is usually found in a real working retriever environment. They are intelligent, quick to learn, alert, and inquisitive. They sometimes display humorous antics while working, earning them their "clownish" reputation. With proper socialization they can be gentle dogs with family and children, but are often shy around strangers. Irish Water Spaniels require regular exercise and need an experienced trainer, however, when looked after properly make extremely loving and loyal pets. They require access to water to swim, an activity they specialise in.


Although the current breed stock are Irish, the ultimate origin of the breed is unknown. It is possible that more than one ancient breed of spaniel has gone into its makeup. It is not known from which other breeds Irish Water Spaniels were developed as the acknowledged father of the breed, Justin McCarthy from Dublin, left no breeding records. All manner of dogs have been suggested including: the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, and Barbet, but whether Irish Water Spaniels are antecedents, descendants, or mixtures of these other breeds is a matter of some speculation. What is clear is that the breed has ancient roots. The modern breed as we know it was developed in Ireland in the 1830s.

Suitability as a pet

Irish Water Spaniels make good pets, as they are good with children and usually with other pets. They also make good guard dogs if they have been trained to do so, and will protect its family at all costs. They are not, however, an aggressive dog, in fact quite the opposite. Although their fur does grow to medium - long length, it does not need daily brushing unless the owner intending to show the dog. They are often happy to curl up and sleep at home, however, regular walks and exercise are essential for healthy, content dog. Their favourite pastime is swimming, so the ideal owner would be someone who could give it access to a clean, safe river, or other body of water.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of dog (a sighthound) bred to hunt. The name originates from its purpose (wolf hunting) rather than from its appearance. These dogs are accepted as the tallest breed of dog in the world, although the Great Dane and Mastiff are of equivalent weight, if not heavier. The arguments as to whether the "largest" dog should refer to the height or the weight of the breed have their basis in these points of contention.


These dogs are the tallest breed. They have a swift pace and very keen eyesight and a rough coat (grey, wheaten, brindle, red, black, pure white, brown, or fawn, though wheaten and grey are the most common colors), a large box-shaped head, and a long, muscular neck. They have a somewhat greyhound-shaped body, but larger. They average up to 90 cm (34 inches) at the withers, a fact that sometimes is its biggest disadvantage when attracting owners who have no concern for its special needs. As with all breeds, the ideal and accepted measurements vary somewhat from one standard to another, and there will always be individuals whose size falls outside these standards. However, generally breeders aim for a height averaging 85 to 90 centimeters (33 to 36 inches) in males, 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) less for females. Acceptable weight minimums range from 76 kg (150 lb.) for males and 55 kg (120lb.) for females. Though the pups may look adult at the age of 7 months, they are not considered even mature until the age of 18-22 months depending the breeder.

Irish Guards mascot in parade dress

Irish Guards mascot in parade dress


Wolfhounds should not receive additional supplements when a good dog food is used. It is generally accepted that they should be fed a large breed puppy food until 18 months old and then change to a large breed adult food. Most breeders today recommend that they not be supplemented in order to slow their rapid growth. They will eventually reach the same height, but at a slower, and safer, rate. Wolfhound puppies around 14 weeks old grow approximately one inch a week and put on one pound a day.

By the age of 8 months, the dogs appear adult, and many owners start stressing them too much. Outstretched limbs and irreparable damage are the result. Wolfhounds need at least 18 months to be ready for lure coursing, running as a sport, and other strenuous activities.

Dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer are the leading cause of death and like all deep-chested dogs, gastric torsion (bloat) is also common, as well as hereditary portosystemic shunt.


The breed is very old, possibly from the 1st century BC or earlier, bred as war dogs by the ancient Celts, who called them Cú Faoil. The Irish continued to breed them for this purpose, as well as to guard their homes and protect their stock. Regular references of Irish Wolfhounds being used in dog fights are found in many historical sagas - Cuchulain's favourite, Luath was slain by a southern chief's hound, Phorp.

While many modern texts state Irish Wolfhounds were used for coursing deer, contemporary pre-revival accounts such as Animated Nature (1796) by Oliver Goldsmith are explicit that the original animal was a very poor coursing dog. Their astonishing size, speed, and intelligence made them ideal hunting animals for both wild boar and wolves, and many were exported for this purpose. They were perhaps too ideal, as the boar and wolf are now extinct in Ireland. The Irish Wolfhound has been recorded as being exhibited in ancient Rome to some excitement, and mention is made that they so amazed and terrified the Romans that it was seen fit to only transport them in cages. There exist stories that in the arena, the original Wolfhound was the equal of a lion. It has also been shown that when hunting animals, the wolfhound would bite the neck and crush the spine, killing the creature.

During times of conflict with England, it was not uncommon for Wolfhounds to be trained to take armoured knights off of their horses, thus allowing an infantry man to move in and finish the kill if the Wolfhound had not done so already.

Due to a massive export into various countries as a gift for royalty and a ban that allowed only royalty to own such a dog, the breed almost vanished in the middle of the 19th century. Captain Graham rebred the Irish Wolfhound with the Deerhound, Great Dane, Borzoi and other breeds; this saved the breed, but had the inevitable effect of altering its appearance, most noticeably leaving the Irish Wolfhound with alternative colours such as brindle (inherited from the Great Dane) as before they were mainly grey in colour. The ancient breed (often referred to as the Irish Wolfdogge in contemporary accounts) was available in both a smooth and rough coated variety. Descriptions of its appearance and demeanor, as well as the method of its use place it closer to the flock guardians in appearance than the modern breed. It is clear that the dog was not always the giant of today and it has been suggested that the Wolfhound was part of the make up of the Kerry Blue Terrier. The historical variety was famed for its loyalty, discernment, grave nature and aggression. In terms of temperament the modern breed has been greatly mellowed.Wolfhounds are often referred to as "Gentle Giants", and an historic motto of the breed is "Gentle when stroked. Fierce when provoked."

The Wolfhound is sometimes regarded as the national dog breed of Ireland but in fact no breed has ever been officially adopted as such. The Wolfhound was historically a dog that only nobles could own and was taken up by the British during their rule in Ireland. This made it unpopular as a national symbol and the Kerry Blue Terrier was adopted by early Irish Nationalists such as Michael Collins. Today, however, the Irish wolfhound is by some margin the best known Irish breed outside the dog world.

Istarski Oštrodlaki Gonič

The Istarski Oštrodlaki Gonič is a dog breed from Croatia, developed in the mid-1800s for hunting fox and rabbit. It is a rough-coated scent hound still kept primarily as a hunting dog rather than as a pet.


Dogs of this breed can vary considerably in size, as the dog is still bred primarily for hunting, so more emphasis might be placed on performance than on specific appearance requirements. It can range from 25 to 56 lb (16 to 26 kg) and stand 17 to 23 inches (44 to 58 cm) at the withers.

The breed's wiry coat is weather resistant for hunting. The topcoat is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) long and it has a woolly undercoat. The color is white with yellow or orange markings, usually on the ears. The ears are broad and hang flat.


Again, because the Oštrodlaki Gonič has been bred primarily for hunting rather than as a companion, it tends to be willful and hence more challenging to train than many other breeds.


Slovenian breeders created the Oštrodlaki Gonič in the mid-1800s by crossing the French Griffon Vendeén with the Istarski Kratkodlaki Gonic, a smooth-haired hound developed from both sight hounds and scent hounds. The breed first took part in a conformation show in Vienna in 1866.

The dog is still used for hunting fox, rabbits, hare, and wild boar.

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a small breed of dog, specifically a member of the sight hound family and member of the toy group. They are sometimes called an "I.G." or "Iggy" for short.


An Italian Greyhound at Washington Square in New York City.

An Italian Greyhound at Washington Square in New York City.

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sight hounds, typically weighing about 7 to 11 lbs or so. Standing about 13 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder or whithers.Though they are in the "toy" group by their weight, they physically occupy more space because of their skinny bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.

The Italian Greyhound's chest is deep, with a tucked abdomen, long slender legs and long neck. The face is long and pointed, somewhat like that of a Dachshund. Overall, they look like miniature Greyhounds. Their gait is distinctive and resembles the elegant trot of a horse. They are able to run at top speed with a double-suspension gallop, and can achieve a top speed of up to 25mph.

The colour of the coat is a subject of much discussion. In the UK, the USA, and Australia, white spotted IGs are accepted, while the FCI standards adhered to in Europe allows white spots only on the chest and paws.

The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout Europe, particularly Austrian, German, Italian, and French breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this breed. The Italian Greyhound should resemble a small Greyhound, or rather a Sloughi, though they are in appearance more elegant and graceful.

Example of a double-suspension gallop, note all four feet off the ground.

Example of a double-suspension gallop, note all four feet off the ground.


The Italian Greyhound is affectionate and makes a good companion dog. The breed is excellent for families and enjoys the company of people. While they are excellent with children, the breed's slim build and short coat make them somewhat fragile, and injury can result from rough play.

Although the Italian Greyhound appears fragile, they have some characteristics of larger dogs. Their large, strong lungs enables a bark that is deeper than one might expect from a small dog.

The breed is equally at home in the city or the country and does not require as much exercise as larger breeds, although they are fast, agile and athletic. The young dog is often particularly active, and this high level of activity may lead them to attempt ill-advised feats of athleticism that can result in injury. They enjoy running as fast as they possibly can, typically faster than other larger dogs.

In general the Italian Greyhound is intelligent, but they often have a "what's in it for me attitude," so patience and reward in training seem to work best.

Italian Greyhounds make reasonably good watchdogs, as they bark at unfamiliar sounds. They may also bark at passers-by and other animals. However, they often get along well with other dogs and cats they are raised with. They are not good guard dogs as they are often aloof with strangers and easily spooked to run.

Due to their slim build and extremely short coat, Italian Greyhounds are at times reluctant to go outside in cold or wet weather, so some owners lay old newspaper on the floor near an exit so their pets can relieve themselves. This breed tends to gravitate to warm places, curl up with other dogs or humans, or burrow into blankets and under cushions for warmth.

As gazehounds, Italian Greyhounds instinctively hunt by sight and have a high predator drive. Owners of Italian Greyhounds typically keep their dogs leashed at all times when not in an enclosed area to avoid the risk of even a well-behaved pet breaking away at high speed after a small animal. Also, a short leash is highly suggested to owners due to reports of animals breaking their own necks when running a full lead mounted to the ground or a wall.

Like most small breeds, Italian Greyhounds have small bladders. Housebreaking progresses with training and patience, but still at a slower pace than with larger breeds.

Italian Greyhounds are known for their lack of bladder control in comparison to other dogs. This is thought to be due to the bladder muscle in the dog being far too weak and due to many generations of breeding without removing the undesirable genetic traits.


Dogs of this breed have an extremely short coat that requires little more than an occasional bath. Shedding is typical as of other breeds, but the hair that is shed is extremely short and fine and is easily vacuumed.

The teeth of an Italian Greyhound should be brushed regularly. Their scissor-bite and thin jaw bones make them prone to periodontal disease, which can be avoided with good dental care.


Health problems that can be found in the breed:

Responsible breeders will routinely check their dogs for the onset of various inherited disorders, these commonly include (but are not limited to): CERF examinations on eyes, OFA patellar examinations, OFA thyroid function panels, von Willebrand's factor, OFA hip and Legg-Perthes disease x-rays, and others.


The name of the breed is a reference to the breed's popularity in Renaissance Italy. Mummified dogs very similar to the Italian Greyhound (or small Greyhounds) have been found in Egypt, and pictorials of small Greyhounds have been found in Pompeii, and they were probably the only accepted companion-dog there. As an amusing aside the expression 'Cave Canem' (Beware of the dog) was a warning to visitors, not that the dogs would attack but to beware of damaging the small dogs.

Although the small dogs are mainly companionship dogs they have in fact been used for hunting purposes, often in combination with hunting falcons.

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the family of gazehounds (dogs that hunt by sight). The breed is an old one and is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago in the countries now known as Greece and Turkey. This belief is based on the depiction of miniature greyhounds in the early decorative arts of these countries and on the archaeological discovery of small greyhound skeletons. By the Middle Ages, the breed had become distributed throughout Southern Europe and was later a favorite of the Italians of the sixteenth century, among whom miniature dogs were in great demand. It is, in fact, due to its popularity in Italy at this time that the breed became known as the "Italian Greyhound." From this period onward the history of the breed can be fairly well traced as it spread through Europe, arriving in England in the seventeenth century.


Italian Greyhounds in the arts

Portrait of the aging Catherine The Great with an Italian Greyhound.

Portrait of the aging Catherine The Great with an Italian Greyhound.

The grace of the breed has prompted several artists to include the dogs in paintings, among others Velasquez, Pisanello and Giotto.

Vision des Hl. Eustathius by Pisanello

Vision des Hl. Eustathius by Pisanello

The breed has been popular with royalty throughout, among the best known royal aficionados were Mary Stuart, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, Catherine The Great, Frederick the Great and the Norwegian Queen Maud.

Italian Greyhounds in popular culture


Some Italian Greyhounds enjoy dog agility. The breed's lithe body and its love of action enable it to potentially do well at this sport, although not many IGs participate and their natural inclination is for straight-out racing rather than for working tightly as a team with a handler on a technical course.

Lure coursing is another activity well-fitted to the Italian Greyhound, and they seem to enjoy it tremendously. Although the Italian Greyhound is a very fast dog, it is not as well suited to racing as its larger cousin.

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