Irish Wolfhound History

Bits and Pieces - Regimental Mascots

DERBY DAILY TELEGRAPH - Monday 20 October 1902

It will be remembered that some time ago a number of ladies and gentlemen in Ireland offered to provide the Irish Guards with a real Irish wolfhound of the best quality. Naturally the offer was gladly accepted, but nothing good enough came along until last Wednesday, when a fine specimen was selected by a deputation, consisting of Lieut. Wingfield and a number of warrant and N.C.O.s at the Kennel Club Show at the Crystal Palace. In triumph it was marched back to the Tower, there to be met by the drums, and escorted to its quarters with great ceremony. The men turned out and cheered the hound, the donors, and all concerned. On all hands the "pet" is voted magnificent, and the battalion is proud of it. The sergeant-major is in charge, and no creature comforts are wanting. October 29th is the announced date of the departure of the Irish for Dublin, so that the dog is in for a short journey before many days are over.


THE GRAPHIC - October 25th, 1902


 Rajah of Kidnal

This Irish wolfhound, Rajah of Kidnal, exhibited by Mrs. A.J. Gerard, was selected
in the competition instituted by the Irish Wolfhound Club at the Kennel Club Show
at the Crystal Palace, to be presented to the Irish Guards as a regimental pet. The
owner of the hound received thirty guineas, the sum which was offered in the
competition. Our photograph is by Ball, Regent Street. 


LEEDS MERCURY - Wednesday 18th March, 1903

The Irish Troops wear the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day as a right "for bravery in the field", and for the second year in succession the Queen has graciously presented the Irish Guards with the shamrock, which was distributed to the 760 officers and men of the 1st Battalion at the Tower on Monday morning. The boxes containing the trefoil which appeals so strongly to Irish national sentiment arrived at Buckingham Palace from the Countess of Limerick on Monday, and were thence despatched to the Tower in the afternoon.
The Guardsmen paraded shortly before nine, in full dress uniform, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel R.J. Cooper, M.V.O., Colonel Vesey J. Dawson, C.V.O., the Colonel of the Regiment, also being present.
The Irish wolfhound "Brian Boru", the regimental dog, who has now made himself quite at home at the Tower, was decked with an immense collar of shamrock and a green ribbon, and seemed to follow the picturesque ceremony of distributing the shamrock with some interest.
The men formed in companies of close column. The shamrock was placed on a table in front of the flight of steps leading to the officers' quarters, and the drummer-boys occupied a position in the rear. Promptly to time, on roll of drum, the officers advanced to the table, and the trefoil was handed to them by Colonel Dawson, and each in turn passed down the lines and distributed a sprig to his men, who proudly fixed it to the breasts of their tunics.


GRANTHAM JOURNAL - Saturday 21 March 1908

The ceremony of distributing the Queen's annual St. Patrick's-day gift of shamrock to the men of the Irish Guards took place at the Wellington Barracks on Tuesday. Earl Roberts, the regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, distributed the boxes containing the shamrock to the Company officers, who then saw that each man had a good-sized spray. Brian, the regimental wolfhound, and Denis, another wolfhound which has lately been placed on the strength, had their collars entwined with the shamrock, and the drums were also decked with it. The men afterwards attended service at the Roman Catholic Church in Palace-street, Lord Roberts accompanying them.

 St. Patricks Day 1908
 St. Patrick's Day, 1908 with Denis on the left and Brian Boru on the right


THE GRAPHIC March 21st, 1908

The annual distribution of the Queen's shamrock to the Irish Guards in commemoration of St. Patrick's Day, took place this week at Wellington Barracks, when the 1st Battalion paraded at full strength. Lord Roberts handed basketsful of shamrock to the company captains, who passed them on to the colour-sergeants, by whom "the green" was distributed to the men. The drums were decorated and Brian Boru, the regimental wolfhound, and another wolfhound which has recently been added to the regiment, had their collars entwined with leaves.

 the Irish Guards


NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST - Friday 17 March 1911


In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Queen Alexandra's shamrock was presented to the Irish Guards, at Chelsea Barracks, this morning by the Commanding Officer, Col. G.C. Nugent, M.V.O. The celebration properly began last night with a ball, which was given by the regimental sergeants. Although dancing was kept up until four o'clock this morning, they were on parade very soon after eight.
The distribution of shamrock took place at the church parade, which, with the Irish Guards, is customary on St. Patrick's Day. Bunches of the three-petalled leaf were handed by the colonel to the colour sergeant, who, in turn, apportioned them out in little bunches to the men. The shamrock, which was supplied to Queen Alexandra by Lady Limerick, was worn between the third and fourth buttons on the tunic and within five minutes of the colonel's arrival on the parade ground nearly 509 bunches had been distributed.
The famous mascot of the Irish Guards - the Irish wolf-hound "Queen More" - which subsequently marched before the drums and fifes in the care of a drummer boy, was, of course, remembered, her massive silver collar being embellished with a special bunch of green. After the distribution the battalion marched off to St. Peter and St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church, Buckingham-gate, where mass was sung by the Rev. Father Cyril Forster.
The presentation of Queen Alexandra's shamrock to the Irish Guards has been an annual institution since the regiment was formed in 1900. This afternoon sports took place in the Barrack Square, and included tug-of-war, hurling matches, and other competitions, and tonight there is a grand national concert in the theatre.
At intervals during the day the regimental band played Irish airs in the Barrack Square.

 Note: the Irish Guards had very little information on the Regimental Pet over the years and believed that the hounds they had were always males. However, "Queen More", known in the Regiment as "Queenie", was not the only female wolfhound in the Regiment, as can be seen further down the page.
 Queen More  The British Army magazine "Soldier" in February, 1970, in an article entitled "Shaggy Dog Story", mentions Queenie as "Queen Mor".
There was no "Queen Mor" or "Queen More" registered with the Kennel Club. Leitrim Boy was the official mascot in 1911.


DAILY MIRROR - Saturday 04 March 1916

Mascots at Grips
Two famous Midland battalions each possess as a regimental pet an immense wolfhound. Both units had marched into a certain market place with their pets facing one another. For a moment the corporals in charge of them relaxed their hold. The next moment a most glorious scrap was in progress, which compensated the "Tommies" for all their hard morning's field work. It was some time before the rivals could be separated. While it lasted it was some fight!



 Leitrim Boy on parade
 This hound was Leitrim Boy, presented to the Irish Guards in 1910 by Lord Powerscourt


EXETER AND PLYMOUTH GAZETTE - Friday 28 November 1919

On the Horse Guards Parade this morning - a foggy November morning, with a half-mist falling and London under a dim cathedral light - I stumbled right into the echo of epic adventure. Here, on the identical ground where they used to troop the colour, where the long queues of gallant manhood waited to join up in 1914, General Fielding, the officer commanding London District, was presenting medals to N.C.O.s and men. There was a spick and span guard of honour of the Irish Guards drawn up, their band playing occasional rouses, and their big wolfhound mascot, "Leitrim Boy", held by a small guardsman of about 12, and trying to kiss all the ladies who wanted to pat his fine head. The heroes of the occasion, some still in khaki, but most in civvies, stood in two lines, advancing to receive their medals as their names were called, and saluting after shaking hands with the General. A crowd stood round, mostly of relatives, and the whole ceremony was informal. But what could not fail to impress the onlooker was the contrast between the London November scene, the crowd, the air of order and quiet, the military police marshalling the crowd, and the very civilian figures of some of the recipients of the M.M., and the ringing words read out by the officiating Staff-officer. "Sergeant___, the London Regiment, Military Medal for bravery in the field!" And out steps a homely little man in poor civilian clothes, the sole relict of whose splendid past - the epic of his life - is the click of his heels and the smart flick of his arm, as, probably for the last time, he gives the salute.



Irish wolfhounds were a splendid collection, their splendour much enhanced by the fact that Cruachan of Ifold, the regimental pet of the Irish Guards, had not only an Irish Guardsman private in full uniform, but a very tall officer in mufti to watch over him as he lay in majesty and a very fine green collar on his bench. Mr. Montagu Scott took both the championships with his Morna of Brabyns and Patrick of Ifold.


BALLYMENA OBSERVER - October 15, 1926

"Cruachan", the wolfhound mascot of the Irish Guards, is as proud of himself as any new recruit when he is leading the King's Guard to Buckingham Palace, where his battalion is on guard duty.
The battalion is not "present" without "Cruachan", he being the proper mascot and he is looked upon as much of the parade as any other member of the regiment.
On occasion when "Riveagh", his mate, has no domestic duties, she accompanies her husband on his military functions.
"Cruachan" and "Riveagh" are a homely couple, and recently had a litter of eleven.
They have a special batman, who is struck off all duty to attend to them. He combs their coats morning and night, and ensures that they have their regular meals.

Note: "Riveagh" was actually Revagh of Ifold, bred by Montagu Scott (as was Cruachan), by Torna of Ifold ex Felixstowe Ballyneety, but never officially listed as being with the Irish Guards, although puppies from the litter mentioned above - wh. July 20th, 1926 - were listed in the Kennel Club Registrations as bred by the Irish Guards.


 SUNDAY POST - Sunday 20 March 1927
 attaching the shamrock
 Note: This hound has to be Cruachan, so "Mark" is a typographical error


HARTLEPOOL NORTHERN DAILY MAIL - Wednesday 24 February 1932


Desertion and Improper Re-enlistment
The Irish wolfhound, the regimental pet of the Irish Guards, has rendered himself liable to trial by court martial. The charges against him would be as follows:-
1. Refusing to obey an order, or, alternatively, neglect to obey an order
2. Desertion
3. Fraudulent enlistment in another corps, viz. the Coldstream Guards
The offence was committed outside Buckingham Palace yesterday, just before the Investiture began. The dog, in the charge of a drummer of his regiment, was sitting in the dickey-seat of a motor-car, when, hearing the band strike up at changing of the Palace Guard, he jumped out of the car and rushed into the courtyard.
Escaping from the leash, he ran out again into the Green Park and back into the Mall, pursued by the drummer, civil police, and several spectators.
Seeing a party of Coldstream Guards returning to barracks, he took his place in their ranks. For some time he marched along with them, till the drummer caught him up, and placed him under arrest.

 Cruachan escaping from the Palace  joining the Coldstream Guards
 Cruachan leaving the Palace  and joining the Coldstream Guards
 Note: The strange thing about this report in 1932 is that Cruachan is said to have died of peritonitis in November, 1929, but see below. He would, anyway, have been ten years' old in 1932. The final piece on this page - the Yorkshire Evening Post, 17 March, 1932 - is also rather strange, as officially there was no wolfhound mascot after Cruachan until 1951.



With all the enthusiasm that has been put forth, however, the noble Irish dog has not "caught on" so rapidly with the general public as some of the large foreign breed, such as the Borzoi.
Yet in temperament and intelligence the Irish hound is absolutely in the front rank, and he possesses sagacity above that of any other breed.
His huge size (usually not less than 36 inches at the shoulder) marks him out primarily as a dog for those in good circumstances. Michael, an Irish wolfhound belonging to an eminent Kentish breeder, is accounted the tallest dog in the world.
Nevertheless, the Irish wolfhound, despite his great height, is always symmetrical and beautifully made. Not so heavy or massive as the Great Dane, he is more strongly built than the deerhound, which, in general type, he closely resembles.
There could be no more typical example of the ease with which he is trained than was presented by the late Cruachan of Ifold, the beloved pet and mascot of the Irish Guards.
He was a magnificent dog, universal pet of the Brigade - one who stuck to his men through thick and thin.
To the grief of everyone - soldiers and public alike - peritonitis, a sequel to an old war wound, struck him down and so the Last Post was sounded for this distinguished Irishman.


YORKSHIRE EVENING POST - Thursday 17 March 1932


ST. PATRICK'S DAY Celebrations at Home and Abroad
The Princess Royal sent baskets of shamrock to the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards at Wellington Barracks today - St. Patrick's Day.
The shamrock was distributed to the officers and men by the Colonel of the Regiment, Field Marshall the Earl of Cavam, at a ceremonial parade at the barracks.
Lord Cavan took the salute at a march past, which was headed by its mascot, a big Irish wolfhound, its collar decorated with a bunch of shamrock.


For more on the Irish Guards' mascots see

Previous page

top of page

site guide

home page

history page

next page