The Irish Wolfhound Archives

Capt. Graham's
The Irish Wolfhound



Above right  Page 26 is shown with a flap up to reveal a drawing.




To the right here Page 26 is shown with the
flap down to reveal the writing.







Capt G A Graham’s the IRISH  WOLFHOUND 1879 Edition
Page 22
   - 33

Graham’s handwritten notes transcribed

by Mrs Shirley Pfarrer, USA

Page 22

Since this article was written in the Live Stock Journal on 20 August 1880 “a practical farmer writing on some other subject thus concludes his letter. “Now I am on the subject Canine.  I will relate an incident that occurred to me in 1840 or within a year of that date staying with some friends in a Southern county.  I was taken here an old Irish wolfhound belonging to a gentleman of means.

 He was then said to be the last of his breed in England -  was old - perfectly white and  much after the style of a Scotch deerhound but larger and considerably more powerfully built and he had the deepest toned and most melancholy bark I ever heard”  Let readers note how exactly this description coincides with that put forward by me!!

 In the same number of the L. S. Journal there is mention of a paper contributed to the “Zoologist” Ernest Friedel entitled a “German View of the Fauna of Ireland” – some extracts are given regarding the Irish deerhound (sic) but they are of small interest and mostly contained in this article – allusion is made to Lord Altamont’s dogs and a foot note is appended by the Editor of the Zoologist to this effect.  “It is now generally admitted that the dog described by Lambert  here referred to was not an IW Hound at all but a Great Dane!!!!!

 Page 23

He wrote in the “Sportsmen Cabinet” pub’d  1803 pg 26 - that Buffon asserts not from the Common Greyhound  and the Irish greyhound - the mongrel Greyhound was produced – also called the Greyhound with the wolfs hair showing very plainly that the Irish dog was in his opinion a rough dog as the ordinary Greyhound of that period – was in all probably a smooth dog.

 In the World  newspaper late in 1880 it was asserted that Mr. Parnell MP has in his house banners carried by the Regiment of the Militia commanded by one of his immediate ancestors that was “out”  in /98 on which is depicted the Irish Wolfhound.  The writer took the trouble to make enquiries from Mr. Parnell personally and found that the fact was true, and that the dog depicted was similar to a Scotch deerhound, but much larger, more massive (apparently) and very rough.

 Mr. Ronayne Conron of Lewisham saw a brace of the IW Hounds about 1847, fierce looking, piercing eyes – shaggy brows and rough dark grey coats yet so kind a child could play with them.  He opines they were of either the Kilfane or Ballytobin breed.  Barclay tells us that in 1563 – at a deer drive given by the Earl of Athol for the amusement of Queen Mary – 360 deer and 5 wolves were slain in one day.

 Page 24 1882

In the month of June 1882 was erected at Ennis a statue to the memory of Allan Larkin, and O’Brien who were executed at Manchester 1867.  This beautiful statue was executed by Messrs O’Neill of Dublin. It represents Erin with one hand resting on the Irish harp whilst the other grasps the Celtic cross – while crouching at her feet is an Irish wolf dog.  Unfortunately the figure of the dog owing to the sculptors requirements has him very much reduced in size and the extreme grandeur and the nobility of the animal thereby lost. The dog now in the Zoological Gardens at Dublin was taken as a guide unknown to the breeder for the animal represented.  Thereby proving that the sculptor and writer of this article (who bred the dog in question) are agreed as the type of Ireland’s ancient hound.  It is stated that at one time the English government offered an equal reward for the head of an Irish Catholic priest and a wolf dog.


The following description of  a descendant (immediate) of  Hamilton Rowan's  Irish Bloodhounds;  not of his Irish Wolfdog for he owned one of the latter as well  a some of the former - has been given to the writer by a gentleman to whom the dog, as a puppy, was given by H Rowan.

 Nero. Colour grey almost mouse colour; head, of decidedly Bloodhound type,

Head  bloodhound type - long extreme narrow peaked - deeps flews -large hound ears. Eyes small   Coat similar to a Mastiffs or smooth St Bernard.  2 dewclaws on hind legs

To a side view rather a long - low dog - then square built

 Page 25    1897

Gentle temper on the whole and affectionate but never forgot an enemy and soon? afterwards  began to bark when he came to the door - before he knocked.  Delighted in water,  I. W. fetch and carry anything.

 There seems no doubt whatsoever that the dogs were crossed bloodhound and Great Dane and have not the faintest resemblance to the Irish Wolfdog

 On the 30 November 1883

A doctor Mac Cormack of Belfast wrote as follows to the author of this essay.

“When I was a child we had a most magnificent creature (the I.W. Hound) and I have been told that Doctor Weir, heir of Dromore, Co Down had two and possibly has them still, in all probability of Mr. Mahoney’s breed

Very early in life I remembered going to Lough Lou, Co Armagh to the estate of the Cope family

 They had a wolf dog and the bay of the animal impressed me almost as much as the Lion’s roar.

Archibald Hamilton Rowan, an Irish Patriot and a most magnificent man used to go about attended by a wolfdog.  He has . . . . . . . .      long gone . the majority and his dog along with him.

The old Irish could not have lived without the wolfhound He was their protector and friend and on the 31st August 1884 an impression was sent to the writer of an old seal by a gentleman residing in Clonmel.  It was the property of an old gentleman to whom it had been given when young by another old gentleman, a friend   in whose family it had been for generations.  It is believed no traditions attach to the seal and the breed of dog depicted was not known to the owner of the seal

 1879 Page 26       

“Gentle when stroked fierce when provoked”

 Known to the owner of the seal – but there is little, in fact, no doubt in the mind of the writer that the animal shown is the old Irish Wolfhound!  In every respect including the rough coat it corresponds with the writers firm conviction of what the dog was -  except in tail – which hangs too much and is too bushy.  It is opined from the spelling and style of the motto “Gentle when Strok’d fierce when Provoked”  that the seal was engraved about the commencement of the 19th century - at the period wolves were existing in England as well as in Ireland?  As was certainly the case to a much later date. In corroboration of the writers assumption that the dog represented was an Irish Wolfhound the reader is referred to page 16 – where it will be seen that the matter corresponds with that placed under the “arms” of the ancient monarchs of Ireland – which had IW hounds as supporters !

 In “Fores”  window (the great print seller of Piccadilly) was exhibited in June 1883 an oil painting by James Ward R A. of a  “wolfhound” evidently done from the life it represented a very powerful dog – red in colour – hard rough coat – ears cut off at the ends.  It was probably painted at the early part of the present century.  The form was that of a (very) strong deerhound but considerably thicker.


The animal is shown on next page from a rough sketch taken at window by the writer

Page 27


James Ward R A Print

 This picture is signed but not dated – it was formerly the property of Sir E Landseer at the sale of whose drawings Messers Fore’s purchased it  the date probably wd be about the beginning of this century as Ward was born 1770

 About 1860 - a fine dog of this breed was owned by a gentleman living in Wales.  He has been described by the owner’s son – to the writer as follows – about 31 inches high - very powerful – far beyond any deerhound - head much more massive.  Pal….ion? colour – muzzle somewhat black.  Strong rough coat – head well covered – ears somewhat larger and more pendulous than a deerhounds, probable weight about 120 lbs was suppose to be have been of a strain of the Lord O’Neill  . . . . . . open to doubt.

The Modern Geographer published by Thos Myers in 1822 has this passage in it

“The Irish Greyhound is much celebrated for its size and vigour and is the most majestic as well as the most beautiful of the canine species.  Its number

 Page 28

is very rare at the present day. A species of wolfdog has also been deemed peculiar to the country. In size it exceeds the Mastiff – but its shape has more resemblance to that of the Greyhound.

 Mr. Watson of Ballydarton, Bagnalstown in Ireland, a well known master of Hounds - has informed the writer that Hounds for the pursuit of the wolf were kept there in the time of his grandfather and that the last wolf was killed at “MyShall” close to Ballydarton – about 1786 or 7.  The hounds were described as course powerful animals running? by scent.

 About the year 1848 – an IW dog was purchased from a gentleman named Carter who lived at Loughinstown near Bray in Ireland by Wm W. Leigh Clare. He was stated to have stood over 32 inches. Like a deerhound – but stouter and more powerful very upstanding blue grey brindle in colour afterwards a bitch was also procured light fawn colour . . . . . . . . . . but not so rough in hair as the dog.   She died whilst pupping and the dog soon after came to grief.  Wm Clare saw many W Hounds in this gentleman’s kennels; also he kept Irish Terriers and was celebrated for both breeds. Wm Clare states his dog was a grand specimen.

 1879 Page 29

 During the visit of a lady named O’Brien to America in the autumn of 1882 she had pointed out to her in the Museum at Minneapolis Minnesota a stuffed specimen labeled as an Irish Wolfhound !  It was rough – pure white in colour and of good size

Ed note:  see note at end of this text.

 Text insert from side of page

The fact that the Irish Wolfhound was a rough dog (which some people seem to doubt has been handed down from generation to generation in Ireland and all breeders  have invariably and firmly adhered to this characteristic.

 Quite lately a club has been formed for the purpose of recovering fully this grand race of dog.  There is every reason to hope that success will attend their efforts, if steadily and carefully preserved in a great deal of interest has been . . . . . . both in England and Ireland, of late, regarding the breed and if good specimens are forthcoming within the next few years – no doubt it will again take its place as “King” of Dogs.

The writer of this essay is at present acting as Hon Sec of the Club and will be most pleased to render any assistance or information to intending breeders of Irish Wolfhound.

 In confirmation of the assertion that the I.W.H was a rough greyhound the . .     . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      In May 1889 W. M. B. Wynn was shown by a well known collector of Curios in Glostr. a carving of Black Bog Oak representing an IWH with a ruined castle and Harp – confidently asserted  to be about 100 years old, on good grounds !

 Page 30
The hound is plainly a strong greyhound and the rough coat is most unmistakable and distinct

As tending to show that a considerable excess in size in the I.W.H. over the wolf is necessary.

The accompanying extract is given – Field 24 Sept 1888 -  In a letter on Australian Sports by E.B.M. he says”: “it takes a good kangaroo hound to kill the wild dingo – tho’ much his inferior in size”

Wm Mallaby, the well known judge of Deerhounds – wrote the “compiled” to this effect in October 1887

“I have no doubt the Scotch deerhound was originally bred from the I.  Wolfhound”  “I think it is a class likely to command general interest and attention and well worthy of the trouble.

so many gentlemen are bestowing to resuscitate so noble an animal as the Irish Wolfhound”

 Extracts from  Jessie on the dog,  published1846 by Bentley

“I have doubts about whether the Newfoundland or I.W dog should be put first in this book – but concluded in favour of I.W.Hd due in strict justice to an animal who has proved such a name factor to his native Country”

 Page 305. In giving a description of the various breeds of dogs everyone must be aware that by Crossing and re-crossing them – many of these we now see have but little claim to originality.   The foxhound, the old Irish Wolfdog and the Colly may perhaps be considered as possessing the greatest purity of blood”

To show how breed can be recovered by judicious crossing

“Lord Cadogan was considered to have had the last of the true otterhound given him by Sir W Scott and yet look at the grand dog of this breed we now have!

Page 281.  Pointer – this breed has been crossed and recrossed  - so (1846) x with foxhounds  setters and old Spanish pointer that the originality of (the  present breed may well be questioned – about 1790 – 1800 the heavy Spanish dog was in use all thro’ England. 

Page 324. Mastiff. this noble dog, which like the bulldog, is supposed to be an original breed peculiar to this country is now seldom to be not with in its pure state – it having been crossed and recrossed

This illustration given here is having a ragged roughish coat.  In the Winter exhibition of Old masters at Burlington House - 1888/9 - a large painting by Mohern & Snyders was shown in which two dogs where depicted.  That almost exactly follow the I. Wolfhound - they were of large size - as compared to the human subjects probably 31 to 33 inches in height. Great rough greyhounds of much power - only the heads and fore parts are given


Page 33

Lord Tuirrdmonth (?)  -  writing Jan 1884 says “ he believes the I.W.Hd and Deerhound have been identical as late as the end of the 17 century - at all events the last wolf Killed in Scotland at Lindindrumph (?)  - 13 miles from Guisachan in 1787 as mentioned in Sohiestis (?) day of the deer forest.  The  . . . . . . stones .     . . . . . . . .   Scotica - a gilbys virgil and Marquis (?) Famillon (?).  All go now that in their opinion the I.W. Hd and S. Deerhound were one and the same -  the larger dogs bring used in both countries for wolves - the smaller for deer.

 My idea of the Irish Wolfdog is that of a giant Deerhound not like Giants in general - being powerful at neck - arms and loins - in short well and powerfully proportioned throughout.



Ed Note: Referring back to the earlier text

During the visit of a lady named O’Brien to America in the autumn of 1882 she had pointed out to her in the Museum at Minneapolis Minnesota a stuffed specimen labeled as an Irish Wolfhound !  It was rough – pure white in colour and of good size

 Judy Simon kindly sent this reply to my enquiry re the stuffed white Irish Wolfhound.

I live in Minneapolis, and I know there is no stuffed Irish wolfhound on display here. I do know there is a painting of a wolfhound at a Governor’s mansion. Henry Sibley had 2 IWs. Here is an article about Henry Sibley and a couple excerpts from it

 Henry Hastings Sibley, fur trader, military officer, and the first governor of Minnesota. His public career is well known; his exploits as a big game hunter are perhaps less familiar. Sibley was a frequent contributor

 "The party was well armed with short, heavy rifles, double-barreled guns, single-barreled flintlocks, tomahawks, and hunting knives. Two Irish wolfhounds accompanied the hunters; one of them, Lion, had been presented to Sibley by Captain Martin Scott, a famous army marksman who was stationed at Fort Snelling for a number of years and eventually was killed in the Mexican War."