Irish Wolfhound History

Breed Clubs

The Irish Wolfhound Club

The Irish Wolfhound Club was established and founded in 1885 by Captain George Augustus Graham, who was President from 1885 to 1908. He was also Secretary for at least part of that period.

 Captain Graham
 Captain George Augustus Graham

The Presidents since Captain Graham's death in 1909 were:-
1910-1915 Major Shewell (Cotswold Kennel)
1922-1925 J.W. Booth, Esq., J.P.
1926-1929 General The Earl of Cavan, K.P., GCMG, GCVO, KCB, etc.
1929-1930 The Most Hon. The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, P.C., D.S.O.

1930-1964 H.R.H. The Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood was Patron and there was no further President until 1964

 Patrick of Ouborough  Princess Royal
Patrick of Ouborough (Fergus of O. ex
Felixstowe Alana, wh. July 10, 1927),
the property of H.R.H. The Princess Royal  
 H.R.H. The Princess Royal greeting the mascot
of the Irish Guards c. 1960

Further Presidents were:

1964-1969 Col. C.W.D. Harvey-Kelly, Officer Commanding the Irish Guards
1970-1972 Col. J.A. Aylmer
1972-1973 Col. J.G.F. Head, M.B.E.;
1973-1975 Col. J.N. Ghika, M.A.;
1976-1978 Col. G.A. Allen, O.B.E.
1979-1981 Col. R.T.P. Hulme;
1982-1985 Col. James Baker;
1986-1988 Col. Sir William Mahon, Bt.;
1989-1991 Brigadier R.J.S. Corbett, C.B.;
1992-1996 Brigadier D.B.W. Webb-Carter, O.B.E., M.C.
1996-1999 R. Baird, Esq.
1999-2004 Mrs. Ruth Jenkins
2005-2008 Mrs. Dagmar Kenis-Pordham

The Kennel Chronicle (The Kennel Club’s official publication) of March 30th, 1885 carried the following announcement: “The Irish Wolfhound Club may now be added to the long list of special clubs. Captain Graham, of Rednock, Dursley, Gloucs., has worked hard to formulate a club ‘for the recovery, in its ancient form, of that most grand, and essentially national dog,’ the Irish Wolfdog. The cross-breeding difficulty has been faced, and the members of the club agree to exercise care in selecting and breeding from existing specimens.”

Captain Graham had written a “brochure” on the breed and had printed a hundred copies, so that for the first time those interested in the breed were able to read about its history. Thanks to the efforts of the Irish Wolfhound Clubs of Ireland and America, this is still available in a hard back book which also contains Father Edmund Hogan’s treatise on the breed.

Capt. Graham and Col. Garnier put together the Breed Standard and List of Points in Order of Merit in 1885 and these were ratified by the Kennel Club in 1886. The Breed Standard was altered very little over the years, except for adding the requirement that eyes should be dark, until the Kennel Club’s decisions first that reference to other breeds should be removed and then that all Breed Standards should conform to a unified type. The present Kennel Club Standard for the Irish Wolfhound bears little resemblance to the original and is much less descriptive.

Irish Wolfhounds were first shown in 1879, and in 1881 they had classes at the Kennel Club Show.

The first Irish Wolfhound to be registered with the K.C. was Demon, pedigree unknown. At this period, the breed was registered in the Foreign Breeds section, but in July, 1886 a proposal made at a K.C. meeting in June that the breed be given its own separate registration section came into force and twenty-four Irish Wolfhounds were registered in this new section.

I believe the earliest publication printed by the Irish Wolfhound Club was in 1914. The earliest Club Year Book I have seen is that for 1926. There was one in 1927 but after that they were printed every two, and then three years, apart from the period of the 2nd World War, when one book covered the period 1938 to 1954.

Until 1979, the Club held its own show in conjunction with the Ladies Kennel Association championship show, but in that year the first one was held as a separate show, with C.C.s. This year (2007) is the 29th of these. In 1985 the Club held its Centenary Show, which was its 7th championship show held separately from any other show. The Club also started an Open Show in 1974 and a Limit Show in 1982.


In the early days, judges for shows were elected in the same way as Club Committee Members and a list of only 12 elected Judges was kept by the Club Secretary and sent out to Show Managers of those Dog Shows that the Club supported by guarantee or special prizes. Those judges that had already judged that year would be marked on the list by the Club Secretary, but this would not apply to the Club show itself, where the judge could have already judged at another show that year but would, anyway, have to be elected by a majority of the Club members at the previous Club Show Meeting (not by postal ballot of all members as is now done). Any Club Member could submit the name of a person they considered qualified to judge the breed, and the twelve candidates receiving the greatest number of votes would be on the Judges’ List for the following year.


The Graham Shield is the finest of the Club's trophies. It was valued at £125 in 1926 (in 2006 this would be worth £4,986.70 using the retail price index) and has always been offered for competition each year at the Club Show for the Best Irish Wolfhound (Dog or Bitch) in the Show.

Graham Shield 
 The Graham Shield

The Irish Guards Shield, the trophy for the Best Opposite Sex to the winner of the Graham Shield at the Club Show, was actually presented to the Irish Wolfhound Association and came to the Irish Wolfhound Club only when the Association and the Club amalgamated in 1926.

The Irish Guards Shield 
 The Irish Guards Shield
The centre plaque represents the Irish Guards'
wolfhound mascot with Drummer Boy.
The trophy measures 22 inches by 18 inches

The Ifold Loving Cup, and the Movement Challenge Cup also came to the Club from the Association. The Ifold Loving Cup was presented by Mrs. Montagu Scott for the Soundest Hound and is now presented by the Club for the soundest hound in Show at Birmingham National Show.

The Ifold Loving Cup 
 The Ifold Loving Cup
It is an exact reproduction
of an antique Irish Mether

The Champion Clodagh Cup is a statuette of Mr. J.V. Rank's first Ouborough champion, Ch. Clodagh of Ouborough, and is given at the Club Show for the dog or bitch with Best Eyes, Head, and Expression.

 Ch. Clodagh of Ouborough  Champion Clodagh Cup
 Ch. Clodagh of Ouborough  The Champion Clodagh Cup

A few trophies have disappeared through the years, because several of the early ones could be won outright if the same person won them on three different occasions or two years in succession. When this did happen, the winner usually provided a replacement or gave back the trophy.

The Type Cups (for best dog and bitch under two years of age on the first day of the Club Show) were originally to be judged by three judges (appointed by the Club), and judged on points according to the List of Points appended to the Breed Standard. A silver medal was given to the breeder of the winning hounds.


The first Irish wolfhound to be presented to the Irish Guards as mascot was Rajah of Kidnal, born May 24th, 1900, and bred by Mrs. Gerard, by Ch. O’Leary ex Cheevra. Rajah was presented to the Irish Guards by the Irish Wolfhound Club in 1902, the Irish Guards having been formed in 1900. His name was then changed to Brian Boru. For more details on the Irish Guards' mascots, click here.

Rajah of Kidnal 
 Rajah of Kidnal

For details on the Irish Wolfhound Club as it is today, go to

The Northern Irish Wolfhound Club

I do not know when this Club was formed, or when it ended, but it is listed in a book, published in Belgium in 1897 and entitled Races de Chien by Count Henry van Bylandt. The Club was based in Liverpool, the President being F.N. Birtill and the Secretary J. Trainor, a Liverpool vet. Subscription was £1. 1. 0d. (In 2006 this would be worth £81.89 using the retail price index). The subscription to the Irish Wolfhound Club at the same time was £2. 2. 0d.

The Irish Wolfhound Association

The Association was set up in 1924. The Vice Presidents were: Her Grace The Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon, Her Grace Evelyn, Duchess of Wellington, The Right Hon. The Marquess of Londonderry, K.G., The Countess of Limerick, and The Lord Waring.

The Challenge Cups and Trophies included the Irish Guards Shield, presented by the Officers of the Irish Guards (for the Best Hound, dog or bitch, at the Kennel Club Show); the Type Model, presented by Lord Waring (for the Best Hound, dog or bitch, bred by Exhibitor at the Kennel Club Show); the Ivo Bowl, presented by T. Hamilton Adams, Esq. (for the best hound of opposite sex to the winner of the Shield at the Kennel Club Show); the Knockfierna Type Cup, presented by Capt. D.F. Massey (for the best hound, bred by exhibitor, of opposite sex to the winner of Type Model at the Kennel Club Show); The Ifold Loving Cup, presented by Mrs. R. Montagu Scott (for the soundest hound, dog or bitch); the Binley Cup, presented by Capt. T.H. Hudson (for the best hound, dog or bitch, other than the winner of the limit and open classes); the St. Loes Cup, presented by J.H. Bradbury, Esq. (for the best hound who has not won a challenge certificate prior to the day of the show); the Mohawk Cup, presented by H. Morriss, Esq. (for the whitest hound, dog or bitch); the Movement Cup, presented by Capt. Crossley-Meates (for the best hound, dog or bitch, in walking, trotting, galloping); the Height Cup, presented by Capt. Crossley-Meates and H. Morriss, Esq. (for the tallest hound in the ring). There was also a Stud Dog Cup, a Brood Bitch Cup, Matched Brace (to be judged with colour, height and weight as principal points), Matched Team (to be judged with colour, height and weight as principal points) and Association Spoon (to be given as a Special Prize at various shows, as the Committee shall decide).

Movement Challenge Cup   Mohawk Challenge Cup
 The Movement Challenge Cup
Presented by Captain Bernard Crossley-Meates
for the hound with the best movement
 The Mohawk Challenge Cup
Presented by Hayley Morriss, Esq.
for the best white wheaten or fawn hound
Sterling silver spoon
Sterling silver spoon with finely modelled head of an Irish Wolfhound

The Association published a year book in 1925 and was amalgamated with the Irish Wolfhound Club in 1926.

Association Year Book

Irish Wolfhound Society

The first Irish Wolfhound Society was set up in 1937. In 1937 and 1938 it produced a year book, but it then folded. In the Preface to the first year book, it is stated "When it was first proposed to start this Society, its proposed name was "THE GRAHAM IRISH WOLFHOUND SOCIETY", and this name was used for its earliest activities, and still represents the ideals we are aiming at." However, the Kennel Club would not accept that name for registration.

Irish Wolfhound Society logo

The Rules and Recommendations of the Society included:

"OBJECT - The chief object of the Society is to encourage the true old Irish Wolfhound and to dispel the delusion that he is extinct, or is a modern made breed; to make it known that he is in place in the nursery, and also if need arise capable of tackling a wolf; to promote the true type, and to maintain the Standard as set forth by Captain Graham.

"The majority of Wolfhounds being in the hands of private owners as the personal pets of households, it is felt that a Society is needed to serve the interests of these, with a special view to those far from any central town, or for any reason seldom if ever in a position to attend meetings or shows.

"As the Society is intended for those who care for the Wolfhound for himself, and not for the sake of the financial gain or competitive glory he may bring them, Shows are not the first concern of this Society, and will only be supported in order to bring the Hound before the public, with as little emphasis on the commercial side as may be."

TheVice President was The Lady Londonderry; and the Committee consisted of Mrs. Knox (Chairman), Mrs. Barr (Vice-Chairman); Miss P. Gardner; Mrs. H.A.H. Shields; with Miss S. Seale (Treasurer) and Miss D. Gardner (Hon. Secretary). There were twenty-five members.


The trophies were nearly all statuettes (the pictures are drawings by Phyllis Gardner):

Antique Pewter Greyhound
(An Ceatherna)
given for member's tallest hound
An Ceatherna
Silver Wolfhound (An Miol-Cu Airgead) given for most typical dog in Photographic competition
Silver Wolf (An Mac-Tire) for most typical bitch in Photographic competition An Mac-Tire
Carved Teak Wolfhound (Faol-Cu) for most typical head in Photographic competition
Antique Massive Bronze Hound (Vertagus) for winner of most votes in all Photographic competitions Vertagus
Silver dog stretching himself (Fremiet) for member's oldest hound Fremiet
Bronze Medal for winner of Competition for most Pleasing Picture

The Society took a full page in the Dog World Annual for 1938, giving some of the winners in the Photographic Ballots, for which 77 pictures had been entered:

 Pansy of Harewood  Furiosity of Grevel
(bred by HRH The Princess Royal)
Best Bitch in Outline Competition
Best Bitch and Best Head
 Dhulagh and Luath of Coolafin  Dhulart of the Fianna
Miss P. Gardner's 
Third in Pleasing Picture Competition
(Luath was also Third in Outline and Fourth Dog Hound)
Best Puppy and Second Best Head
 Nefertari of Grevel  Silvagh Tim of Ballykelly
Equal Second Bitch, Third Best Head,
Fourth Pleasing Picture
 Miss S. Seale's
Best Dog

It was to the Irish Wolfhound Society that Captain Graham's son, Malcolm Graham, gave his father's kennel book which was then passed on to the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland and was published in 1959 as "Irish Wolfhound Pedigrees 1859-1906".

The present Irish Wolfhound Society was formed in 1981 by Mrs. Florence Nagle of the Sulhamstead Irish Wolfhounds.

 The first committee
 The first Committee
of the newly created Irish Wolfhound Society

For more details visit

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Updated August 27th, 2015