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Irish wolfhound puppies


Irish Wolfhound Puppies- More about less: Exercise!

Please read through this carefully.

Giant breeds, especaily Irish Wolfhound puppies   take much longer to fully develop and they take a certain specialist approach to exercise.  In these notes I try and explain how these pups grow; it is the approach that I am taking with the pups retained here.   I would never say there is a guarantee that you won’t experience any growth problems with your puppy, giant breeds can be genetically predisposed to such things, but there is a lot you can do to prevent it happening by accident.   Some of this information might appear to be overkill but if you can look back and say you did everything you could to rear the puppy carefully, that is better than looking back saying "I wish we hadn’t done this, or I wish we had done that…". I have used some images to help you visualise what I mean. 

Although you can’t wrap your puppy in cotton wool, exercise and general activity does need to be watched especially up to the age of 6 – 7 months, and then managed carefully up to 12 months.  If accidental damage occurs it us usually in the period up to 6 months old.

Most problems in a growing giant breed like the Wolfhound stems from trauma to the growth plates that remain soft until the dog is fully grown, or damage to the cartilage between the bones in the shoulder and stifle.


At the ends of the long bones - particularly in the forelegs - is an area that remains soft until the hound is about 12 months old.  When a young puppy continually does high impact activities i.e. jumps downwards thus putting undue stress on the growth plates, these can become damaged.  

What is Cartiledge? A flexible connective tissue found in many areas in the bodies of humans and other animals, including the joints between bones.

The main conditions we are trying to avoid by being careful with exercise are:


– otherwise called OCD. This is caused by blood deprivation in the joint of the shoulder or less commonly the stifle. This loss of blood flow causes a part of the bone to die. The bone is then reabsorbed by the body, leaving the cartilage it supported prone to damage. The result is fragmentation of cartilage and bone, these fragments lie within the joint space, causing extreme pain to the dog.   Usually this damage is done early on – around 15 – 16 weeks but it can happen up to 9 months.  It is uncertain what the underlying cause of OCD is; whether genetic predisposition; diet or trauma, but what we are trying to do is eliminate the chance of diet and trauma causing it.


– this is a condition usually involving the radius and ulna in the front limbs. Deformities can occur due to damage (could be a knock or a bang) to the growth plate on one of the long bones, and cause it to close prematurely. Consequently one bone keeps growing but the other does not, and twisted forelimbs results.   This is NOT TO BE CONFUSED with a normal ten to two appearance of the feet of a growing puppy. If Carpal Vulgas is apparent you will see it clearly.

You must caution against your puppy performing ‘high impact’ exercise which can be as simple as:

  •  Running freely or rough playing with other dogs.
  •  Free access to steps or stairs. 
  •  Jumping on and off furniture/beds.  
  •  Tearing around on a hard concrete surface.
  •  Walking for over long periods.  You won’t be taking your puppy ‘out for a walk’ as we would generally understand that to be - before 6 months of age.

Obviously jumping up people should be discouraged anyway.  But anything that puts undue stress on the growth plates needs to be avoided. 

You do not need to worry about development of muscles at this age so the back garden of your property will suffice for the puppy to run free in up to 6 months old. 

THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE NEVER LEAVES THE HOUSE.  On the contrary, you should be spending this time putting puppy in the car and taking him to socialisation situations like getting used to car travel, going to meet the kids from school, going into town where you can sit with a coffee and let him watch the world go by, but nothing that involves long periods of exercise, just a short walk to and from your vehicle. 

You must begin to lead train your puppy as soon as you get him, and take him out to socialise with people and other animals, but not to walk him very far, 5/10 minutes is enough in the street with the intention of meeting traffic and people. He must have been fully vaccinated before you do any of these things. 


Up to 6 months old your garden is enough area for puppy to play in, preferably on grass and not concrete, and always supervised.  We suggest that after 6 months, lead walk the puppy, 20 minutes is enough, and allow only 5 to 10 minutes free off the lead on his own, fully supervised.  Build this up in the intervening months to longer periods and after 12 months your hound should be able to exercise freely.  As a grown adult 1 hour per day combined lead walking and free running will keep your hound in good muscular condition.  You can always call me and compare notes. 

A good indication on whether your puppy is continuing to grow is to feel his knuckles on the forelegs, in a growing pup these are quite bumpy on the front of the leg, whereas in the grown hound – this flattens out.

The only dietary supplement we give to puppies is Glucosamine/MSM which we get from Health Food Stores like Holland and Barrett. The function of this product is to strengthen and protect cartilage. 

Other things that can affect growth in your puppy:


Diet – having your puppy too fat can put undue pressure on the joints.  Please read through carefully the diet sheet and explanation provided. 

If you are worried, or have any concerns over the growth of your puppy PLEASE CONTACT ME.  If any problems do occur please let me know because this is important information I need to be aware of that may impact on future breeding 

courtesy of Jean Timmins 



" Irish Wolfhound Puppies grow like weeds" ~ The Big DO’s and DON’Ts Sheet

I would say the most difficult thing about raising an Irish Wolfhound is keeping them safe from their own exuberance.  They grow like weeds, and you need to perfect the careful balance of nutrition and exercise to protect them.  This seems a particularly hard message to convey to new owners, that such care should be taken for the first year during the growing process.


The Big DO’s and DON’Ts Sheet

Whilst being the proud owner of a Wolfhound puppy is a huge delight it also brings with it a large responsibility, as you are now in charge of rearing the puppy until it fully develops and reaches adulthood. This sheet is designed to guide you through the main pitfalls of bringing up a giant breed puppy and if you follow these simple steps any disasters should be kept to a minimum!


• Do feed your puppy on a healthy balanced diet. A Complete dog food is recommended that is no higher than 23% protein and 12% fat. Ideally the Complete should also be gluten and grain free and hypoallergenic. It is unlikely that you will be able to find a Complete puppy food that is so low in protein so we advise an adult food either fish or meat based, but without too many minerals.

• Do allow your puppy free exercise in a secure area preferably on grass every day. Although giant breed puppies have fragile bones and joints they do require some exercise to build up muscle tone and stamina and so a run around on the lawn with their owner keeping an eye on them is important.

• Do take your puppy out to meet people and other dogs once it has been fully vaccinated. Socialising your puppy is very important and any dog needs to get used to new places and experiences such as going in the car to visits friends and family or going to the park to meet other dogs


• Don’t over exercise your puppy under any circumstances. Usually Wolfhound puppies are not walked until they are 6 months old and then they are built up gradually, initially only walking for 5 minutes. Despite their size, Wolfhound puppies are very delicate and their growing bones and joints need to be treated with great care. Any mistakes in exercise under a year old can affect the puppy for the rest of its life.


• Don’t let your puppy walk on slippy surfaces such as tiles, laminate flooring, wood flooring or cushion flooring/lino. Slippy floors are responsible for a huge amount of injuries in both puppies and older dogs of all breeds, but giant breed puppies are particularly susceptible to mishaps. They will slide on these slippy surfaces and hurt their legs and other parts of their body. Some of these injuries can have disastrous consequences. 

• Don’t let your puppy play with other dogs unsupervised, even if they are your dogs and they are playing at home. Generally it is recommended that a Wolfhound puppy does not play with older/larger dogs until it is at least a year old. Again, letting your puppy run riot with other dogs is likely to end up with the puppy being hurt or injured.

• Don’t let your puppy walk up and down stairs, and prevent them from jumping out of cars.  Keep impact on all joints to a minimum, even getting on and off sofa's in an exuberant manner may harm. 



Soft Toys & Irish Wolfhounds Expereince

Irish Wolfhound puppies love to play around and rag soft toys.  They are very amusing to watch, but it is exactly how they  would treat their quarry.  

One really kind friend kept buying me very expensive soft dogs toys, and although Misty was very good with them, and never ripped anything to pieces in her life, this excellent sensible behavior did not follow through for all of them. 

 As toys were left around, heads and limbs were ripped off, especially in the favorite game of tug of war. I cared not for  this game, the mess it created with stuffing everywhere and the fact they had started to eat the stuffing like candy floss, I saw a problem in the making.  I removed every toy, whole, headless, limbless and torn to shreds. I banned all soft toys.  Problem resolved, or so I thought. 

Months later, when the young juvenile delinquent had grown, into an even lager one, he appeared lethargic.  I rested him, and watch him like a hawk, he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t pooing, he wasn’t well.  He lacked energy and his  bounce had gone.  

Lifting him into the car we rushed to the vets, only to find a young newbie on duty.  She could not find anything obvious, and wanted to send me home.  I refused to leave, and “asked” that everything was thrown at him, from x-rays and scans  to bloods.  Under no circumstances was he to be left in the back pen to get better.  

Two hours later a senior vet called me, to say that he had operated and removed a long fabric thing from the delinquents intestines … about 12 inches and sown up at one end from what he could tell.  It was the tentacle off the late stuffed octopus he must have retrieved from some hiding place. 

My vet informed me, we had been just in time, and how right I had been to jump up and down at my appointment.  He also said that socks were the most popular items he removed, golf balls, and even a tennis ball. 

 £850 pounds lighter and an octopus tentacle, we all went home and lived happily ever after without any more soft stuffed dogs toys.