Irish Wolfhound History


Isaac Everett commented in one article: "Now as to the youngsters' exercise from six to twelve months. It is wonderful what distances some are supposed to accomplish daily. Some I have heard of doing as much as ten miles and this every day. The only explanation I can imagine for these wonderful distances is that miles in different districts represent different numbers of yards.
"I think if they have accommodation at home which is interesting to them they can do with as little as four miles a day walking on the road, but I am quite certain another two or three miles is all in their favour. In referring to "accommodation at home which is interesting" I have found a good plan to get the dogs to exercise themselves a bit is to let their paddocks or exercising grounds be changed every few days. This causes them to wander around tracing where some "strangers" have been. Also some of their old haunts need looking up again, and various treasures previously buried need unearthing as well as new ones to be put away for some future time. Then, too, they appear to think it necessary to thoroughly investigate certain rat and rabbit runs which they knew of when last in that particular paddock. All these things are of importance in helping to get them to take voluntary exercise.
"I was told just recently of a rare tip, or that was what he called it. Having some few hounds to exercise and being anxious to carry as little kennel labour as possible, he devised the plan of getting them so handy on the lead that he took out three or four at a time on a cycle. As distance appeared to be the main object he was able to get it over so much quicker on cycle than on foot, and so get many more exercised in the day in this manner. But when I pointed out to him how much less benefit the poor brutes gained in this way, he simply said, "Anyway, they get a good shake-up." This they could get by being dropped to the ground from some high building, but it would not be helping them in the same way as a nice six or seven mile walk in the country with an interesting kennelman who will talk to and interest them while "padding the hoof". A very great difference can be made in a dog if his exercise is made a really pleasant event instead of just a dull monotonous slouching along for the whole distance. A dog made to enjoy his walk gets a bright, corky carriage about him, and carries a much more happy expression than the poor brute which has not such an advantage."

Bill Siggers, who was head of the Ouborough kennels, sometimes exercised the Gt. Danes and wolfhounds from a bicycle, so perhaps it was he who Mr. Everett refers to. Mrs. Nagle of the Sulhamstead kennels was another person who was very scathing about exercising hounds in this way.

 Ralph Montagu Scott's Ifold hounds being exercised

The Sherley's Dog Book says: "To keep a dog in health, and especially to keep him free from eczema, he must be regularly exercised.
"Dogs kept in London and other large towns are often better exercised than those kept in the country, as they are, as a rule, taken for a walk regularly once or twice a day, whilst in the latter case there is generally a garden adjoining the house, and the door into it being left open, the dog is supposed to exercise himself there when so disposed, which is not often. He is willing enough to go for a walk with his master or mistress, and he does not mind having a lonely ramble along a country lane or road, but he thinks it very tame work to walk about a garden if he has no companion to play with.
"The best times to give exercise are in the morning before the principal meal, and again late in the afternoon before the evening meal. A dog should always be given a run for a few minutes after eating and, if a house dog, again at night before going to bed.
"Walking, with an occasional gallop, is the best kind of exercise to give; hard exercise, such as following a bicycle, horse or carriage is not good for dogs, and for dogs of both sexes used for breeding it is positively injurious, often, in fact, rendering them impotent.
"The amount and nature of the exercise to give must depend on the breed and condition of the dog. A dog out of condition, as most are when first bought, should be given a little slow exercise at first, to be gradually increased as the muscles develop. Heavy dogs, such as Mastiffs and St. Bernards, and Toy dogs, such as Pekingese, should not be taken beyond walking pace, and even when in hard condition will not require more than an hour in the morning and half an hour later in the day. Terriers and other active dogs should have an hour's exercise morning and afternoon, principally fast walking on hard roads to improve the feet, with an occasional gallop after a ball or stick on the grass.
"The most important points about exercise are that it should be regular and should not overtire the dog."

Coursing was very popular with the early wolfhound breeders and for this the hounds had to be exercised in gradually increasing amounts to bring them in to top condition. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Angelo used his hounds to course deer and find wounded stags on his land in Scotland. Quite a number of hounds, many from the Felixstowe kennels, went abroad where they were used to hunt bear, coyotes, and other wild predators. The Irish Wolfhound Association, which started in 1924 but only existed for two years, ran field trials, the first of which was held on November 6th, 1924 at Nutley, Sussex. The morning event was following a track which had been laid earlier, but the afternoon was spent coursing live game.

hounds following the trail 
 Following the trail - Kathleen Na Houlhan, heading straight towards the camera, is following the
trail; the others are all at fault


Stonehenge on the Dog suggests different kennels and kennel management for different breeds. On Greyhound kennels it states: "Every kennel intended for greyhounds should be thoroughly protected from the weather, and should have the yard covered in as well as the lodging-house. The plan which has been indicated as useful for the kennel intended to rear puppies, is also best adapted for their future keeping, and this it will be desirable to describe more fully here. "The central square, comprised between the four angles a b c d, is divided into four lodging-houses, having a ventilating shaft in the middle, with which they all communicate. These are filled up with benches separated by low partitions, as shown in the diagram, and raised about a foot from the ground. Each opens into a yard, with a door of communication so arranged as to be left partly open without allowing the slightest draught to blow upon the beds. These yards, ab, bc, cd, da, are all roofed in, and bounded on the outer side by open pales guarded by coarse wire net, to prevent the teeth of the inmates gnawing them.

 plan of kennel

They are separated by narrow partitions which slide up to allow of the dogs having the whole run; or they may be left down, and the upper part open, so as to encourage the puppies to jump the fence, by the necessity for jumping over them in pursuing one another. The floors should be of glazed tiles, adamantine clinkers, Dutch clinkers, Broseley bricks, or cement, the last being the most clean and free from absorption, which ought always to be entirely prevented. Each sleeping place and yard should have a trapped drain, so as to carry off any wet directly it falls, and the former should be built exteriorly of brick cemented at least a foot from the ground, with board partitions between them. A window should be in each, which is capable of being opened, and the ventilation should be secured by the plan introduced by Mr. Muir, whose address is 11 Ducie Street, Exchange, Manchester. This always secures a down-current as well as an up-current, so that there is little or no necessity for having the door open except for cleanliness; but in very windy weather the ventilation on the side of the wind should be closed, or the down-draught will be enough to chill the greyhounds. As these kennels are to be paved with a non-porous material, the soil is not of much consequence, but the situation should be dry and healthy, and the shade of a large tree is to be obtained if possible.

 hound kennel
 Elevation of greyhound kennel

"The kennel management of the greyhound consists in little more than the adoption of cleanliness, which should be of the most scrupulous kind, together with regular feeding. Water is by some people constantly left for them to get at, but others object to it for dogs in training, and they then only give it with the food. My own opinion is decidedly in favour of the constant supply, as it is impossible to prevent these animals from getting to it when at exercise; and I am sure that, when they are kept from it in-doors, they take too much while they are out. On the contrary, if it is regularly supplied to them, they take very little, and are quite careless about it at all times.

 plan for kennel bench
 Plan for a kennel bench for a hound

Sherley's Dog Book states under the heading of Kennel Management - "The health of dogs living in kennels depends to a very great extent on the buildings in which they are housed. These should be well-built, light and free from draughts, though well ventilated so that they are warm in winter and cool in summer.

"The windows should be hung on hinges at the bottom of the frames and open inwards and should be fitted with side boards so that the wind cannot beat down on the inmates. Where possible there should be windows, made to open, on each side of the building, the higher up the better, and when one is opened the corresponding one on the other side should be opened so that a current of fresh air passes through the top of the kennel and takes away the hot foul air and odours which always collect there.

"The flooring should be of tar asphalt or bricks; cement is too cold, and it also attracts damp, thus causing Rheumatism.

"Whatever the flooring consists of it should be freely covered with pine sawdust which not only helps to keep the kennels dry by absorption of the moisture but also keeps them sweet and free from doggy smell.

"The best bedding obtainable is wheaten straw; pine shavings, which some people prefer, get hard and lumpy although they are less likely than straw to harbour fleas and other insects.

"The bedding must be changed at least once a week and any soiled parts removed every morning.

"It should be a kennelman's first duty every morning to let his dogs out into the yard for a run and then clean up the kennels - the bedding to be well shaken up and soiled parts removed, the flooring swept clean, and fresh sawdust put down.

"Twice a week in the winter and every other day in summer the floor should be sluiced with water to which a little of Sherley's Kennel Fluid has been added and if a little sawdust is sprinkled over the floor immediately after this has been done it will take up the moisture; it should then be swept up and the layer of sawdust for the day put down.

"Once a month all woodwork in the kennels should be thoroughly washed with a weak solution of Sherley's Kennel Fluid and this can be done if paint or washable distemper has been used to coat it.

"Ordinary whitewash is a nuisance as it is continually peeling off on the dogs as well as on visitors' clothes; it cannot be kept clean and requires renewing every two or three months, whilst paint will last three years.

"When the dogs have been fed the kennelman, after having breakfast, should take them for a run. The feeding utensils should be enamelled and be washed immediately after use as it is most important for them to kept scrupulously clean.

"A supply of clean cold water should always be kept within reach of the dogs and when this done they drink much less than when it is only offered occasionally.

"To keep kennels cool in summer it is an excellent plan to whitewash the roof outside, and if plenty of size is added the whitewash will last for months. It is surprising what a difference this makes to the temperature of the kennel, one with a white roof being often fifteen degrees cooler than one on which the roof is black.

"Every dog should be thoroughly groomed daily and washed once a week in summer and every two or three weeks in winter. Dogs thus treated seldom suffer from eczema or other skin diseases.

"When grooming, the eyes should be sponged and the ears cleaned and if there is any tendency to canker a little of Sherley's Canker Powder dusted in the ears two or three times a week. This will keep them cool, dry and sweet.


"After all cases of infectious disease such as distemper, influenza, mange, ringworm, etc. the kennels should be thoroughly disinfected, the first thing to do being to wash all wood work and flooring with a strong solution of Sherley's Kennel Fluid (a quarter of a pint to a pail of hot water).

"The following day, when dry, close the windows and ventilators and paste strips of paper over all chinks and crevices, so as to make the place as near airtight as possible.

"Then place a pound of powdered sulphur (a sufficient quantity for a kennel about ten feet square - larger and smaller kennels in proportion) in an old iron saucepan with the handle removed, and this, for safety sake, stand in an iron pail containing a little water.

"Pour about a tablespoonful of methylated spirits over the sulphur, ignite it, and immediately shut the kennel door and close all crevices round the door with strips of paper as before.

"If preferred one Formalin candle can be burnt instead of using the Sulphur; it is equally effectual and more cleanly. After twenty-four hours the doors and windows may be thrown open and the place thoroughly ventilated.

"The next day the ceiling should be given a coat of washable distemper, as also the walls, unless they are painted, in which case they should be washed with a solution of Sherley's Kennel Fluid and the floor and bench treated in the same manner.

"If kennels or rooms have been thoroughly disinfected as recommended above, there would be no risk in bringing another dog in immediately afterwards. It frequently happens however, that it is not possible to carry out the whole of the above treatment and in such cases it is advisable to wait three or four weeks before introducing another dog.

"When infectious disease occurs in a house prepare a weak solution of Formalin - a teaspoonful to 3 pints of water - and with this spray the carpets, etc. where the patients have been, using a fine spray for the purpose such as an Abol syringe.

"The spraying should be repeated daily for two or three days. Anything movable to which it is possible to give such treatment should be boiled or else baked in an oven that is just not hot enough to burn.

"Collars, leads, etc. should be soaked in a solution of Sherley's Kennel Fluid - one tablespoonful to a pint and a half of water.

"Where it is possible to do so rooms should be disinfected in the same manner as is recommended above for kennels."

The Ouborough kennels were purpose-built for the Great Danes and Wolfhounds. The kennels had sliding doors along the front, with paling behind, so that the dogs could be kept enclosed while having the doors open so that they could see out.

 The kennels at Ouborough

The kennel kitchens were also very carefully kept -

 The kennel kitchen at Ouborough

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Updated 8/30/2015