Are you interested in adding a wolfhound to your family? You have come to the right place. If you are looking to adopt a rescue, please go to the IWCA rescue page.
The purpose of breeding Irish Wolfhounds is to bring the Breed Standard to life. One should never breed for personal profit or commercial exploitation of the breed. The purpose of this page is to give you the information and tools to find local reputable member/breeders. We define a “reputable” breeder as one who subscribes to the Irish Wolfhound Club of America standard of behavior for breeders.
Individuals interested in obtaining an Irish Wolfhound puppy are encouraged to visit the IWCA website and thoroughly read the section “IW Puppies for Sale”. Members of NCIWC are also happy to discuss Irish Wolfhounds. Please attend matches, club events, and join NCIWC whether or not you currently own an Irish Wolfhound.
Steps to Finding a Puppy
Don’t just take the first puppy available without doing your homework first. The following information should set you on the right path to finding a wolfhound puppy from a breeder who will be a resource to you for the life of your new wolfhound family member.
Patience is required when looking for an Irish Wolfhound puppy. There are most often waitlists for well-bred puppies from reputable breeders. It is not uncommon to wait one to two years before there is a puppy available from a reputable breeder. During that time, learning about wolfhounds and meeting dogs and breeders can be a fun and educational experience.
Step 1 Read, read, read. In addition to reading the information we provide on this website, please go to the Irish Wolfhound Club of America website www.iwclubofamerica.org/puppies and read the information there about puppies: how to find one, how to evaluate a breeder, what are the health issues you should be aware of, and what is the standard of ethical behavior for breeders. After you’ve done some homework, then be prepared to ask questions.
Step 2 Attend Events. After reading everything you can about wolfhounds, attend events as listed on the event calendar in this website, or on AKC.org. The Northern California Irish Wolfhound Club FB page also lists events that you may attend. Go to events to meet wolfhounds up close and personal.
Step 3: Contact breeders or current wolfhound owners who will be willing to talk with you. The following questions may be questions to ask breeders:
What to Ask Breeders and Some Expected Answers:
How long have you been breeding dogs?
Ideally, you want to deal with someone who has several years’ experience – and the more involved they are in breed clubs, conformation shows and/or field competition, the better.
Will the puppies be AKC registered?
The registration provides a guarantee that the puppy is a purebred. It indicates, among other things, the dog’s registered name, breed and date of birth, as well as the names of the dog’s sire and dam. The breeder is responsible for registering the litter and forwarding the individual registration application to the new puppy owner preferably when the puppy is taken home. Many breeders register the puppy with you the day you take the puppy home. Some registries, like the CKC (Continental Kennel Club, not Canadian Kennel Club) can be had by paying a fee without any proof that the dog is even a purebred.
Can I see the sire’s and dam’s health clearances?
The parents of the puppy should have had the following health clearances after 2 years of age: X-ray of hips and elbows to check for hip and/or elbow dysplasia; Heart clearance by veterinary cardiologist; Eye check by veterinary ophthalmologist.
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 and are, in some degree, present in all lines.
Can I see the adult dogs and mother of the puppies?
The best way to raise puppies is in a home environment where they receive lots of handling and human contact. No amount of love and attention from you can ever make up for a lack of early socialization.
What were your goals for this litter?
A good breeder plans litters ahead of time with clear goals in mind and will have carefully researched the choice of sire and dam. Know what you’re looking for in a puppy – whether it be a show prospect, lure courser or companion–and discuss this with the breeder.
Is the dam current on her vaccines?
Puppies receive their initial immunity directly from their mother. If their vaccines are not up to date, the puppies’ ability to resist disease will be compromised.
At what age will the puppies be ready to go home?
Puppies should go to their new homes between 10-12 weeks of age. This is the optimum time for a puppy to transition from his litter to his new family – any earlier and he may have issues with other dogs in the future, and any longer with his littermates and he may not bond as well with people.
Will the puppies be seen by a vet before they leave?
Puppies need to be examined, dewormed and vaccinated prior to leaving the breeder. Ensure that you follow up with your own veterinarian, as puppies that don’t receive boosters at appropriate intervals are at risk of contracting life-threatening illnesses. The IWCA recommends wolfhounds be tested around 9 Weeks for liver shunt. This test is called a bile acid test. The breeder should provide you with the results from the attending veterinarian.
Do you offer a health guarantee?
Breeding is not an exact science, and problems can surface in the best of lines. Breeders often offer a health guarantee until you take your puppy to the vet for a well-puppy check-up. The amount of time varies and should be discussed with the breeder.
Can you provide me with references?
Don’t be shy about asking for references from others who have purchased dogs from the breeder – and don’t be surprised if the breeder asks you to provide references as well. Both breeder and buyer are responsible for ensuring that the match is in the puppy’s best interest.
How much does a puppy cost?
This varies by region. Ask breeders or other wolfhound owners what the average price is for a puppy in your local area.
Question any breeder who:
asks for a non-refundable deposit to get on a wait list.
will sell you a puppy at less than 10-12 weeks of age.
cannot show you proof that the parents have had both hip and elbow x-rays, cardiac exam by a Veterinary Cardiologist and eye exam by a Veterinary Ophthalmologist.
cannot explain why they choose the particular male and female to breed. There has to be more to it than just to make puppies. He/she should be able to tell you what they hope to improve by matching the particular male with their female.
has bred the same pair more than twice.
has bred the same female more than three times in her life.
is using dogs without titled dogs in the first two or three generations of their pedigrees. They may tell you that they don’t show because it is political, or shows are too far from where they live, or they aren’t breeding show dogs, just nice pets….but conformation shows are for the primary purpose of evaluating breeding stock. Every wolfhound deserves to be loved, but not every dog should be used to continue the breed. Having “papers” does not mean a dog is a good enough representative of the breed to be used for breeding. AKC or foreign registries just mean that the dog is a purebred, but make no evaluation of the quality of the ancestors.
does not give you a contract which requires you to contact them at any time in the life of your dog that circumstances require you to give it up and which assures you that they will take it back…no questions asked!
List of Questions Breeders May Ask You
When you ask your questions and are satisfied with the answers, be prepared for the breeder to ask you lots of questions. He/she should want to know about you and your lifestyle and how you plan to take care of the puppy they entrust you with. If they only seem concerned about whether you can pay for the puppy…RUN!
Be prepared to answer LOTS of questions about your interest in Wolfhounds, your experience and the home environment you would provide.
Have you owned a dog(s) before? If so, what kind(s)? Do you still own them? If not, what happened to them?
Why an Irish Wolfhound? Have you owned a giant breed before? If not, do you have questions or concerns about what it is like to live with a giant breed?
How many people in the family and what are the ages? Who in the family will be primarily responsible for the puppy? As an adult dog?
Where do you live (what is your address). Do you have a fenced yard? Breeders may do a home visit, ask a fellow breeder who is more local to you to do one, or use Google Earth in lieu of a home visit.
Have you reviewed the websites provided to you? Do you have any concerns or questions related to the information you read?
Where will your Irish Wolfhound live? Indoors, outdoors, combination? If outdoors, how do you plan to assimilate the puppy into your family life?
How will you provide appropriate exercise?
Do you have a veterinarian or will you need a referral?
Do you prefer a male (dog) or female (bitch)? If your preference is not available, do you still want a puppy, or do you prefer to wait?
Is there anything beyond having a companion that you are interested in with your wolfhound? (Forever Companion–we just want a dog to love; conformation showing; obedience/rally; lure coursing)
Next: Click on the following to find breeder referral listing