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Irish Dane

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Irish Dane is a giant mixed breed also called the Great Wolfhound. He has a life span of 7 to 10 years and is the result of a mix between the Great Dane and the Irish Wolfhound. He is a gentle and affectionate dog, and if you have the room for him and the ability to give him the activity he needs he will make a great addition to the family. He has talents in tracking and watchdog.

Here is the Irish Dane at a Glance
Average height 32 to 38 inches
Average weight 100 to 150 pounds or 120 to 180
Coat type Harsh, rough, short to medium
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Low to moderate
Shedding Low to moderate
Brushing Three times a week, more if shedding more
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Moderate
Barking Rare
Tolerance to Heat Low to moderate
Tolerance to Cold Moderate to good
Good Family Pet? Very good to excellent
Good with Children? Very good to excellent
Good with other Dogs? Good to very good
Good with other Pets? Very good to excellent with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Average
A Good Apartment Dweller? No
Good Pet for new Owner? Good to very good
Trainability Easy
Exercise Needs Very Active
Tendency to get Fat Average
Major Health Concerns Development Issues, cancer , bloat, heart problems, surgical issues, Anesthesia Sensitivity, liver problems, Fibrocartilaginous Embolic Myelopathy, OCD, eye problems
Other Health Concerns Joint dysplasia
Life Span Life span 7 to 10 years
Average new Puppy Price $300 to $1500
Average Annual Medical Expense $485 to $600
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $510 to $600

Where does the Irish Dane come from?

As a hybrid dog the Irish Dane can have any combination of traits and appearances from either parent, the Irish Wolfhound and Great Dane. Hybrids have had a recent surge of popularity in the last twenty years or so, also known as designer dogs. It has caused a huge variation in prices for such dogs and many puppy mills and disreputable breeders are taking advantage of this trend. Therefore be careful from whom you buy. Unlike many designer dogs the Irish Dane actually does have more of a history to them as they were first bred in the 1800s during an attempt to save the Irish Wolfhound.

The Great Dane

The Great Dane is an old dog, drawings on artifacts of its ancestor can be found back as far as 3000BC! It is believed the breed’s origins are from the Assyrians who traded with the Greeks and Romans who then bred these dogs with their own Mastiffs. They were first called Boar Hounds because they were used to hunt boar. In the 1500s this changed to English Dogges. In the 1700s a visiting Frenchman in Denmark saw the Danish version of the breed and referred to them as Grand Danois. While Denmark had nothing to do with this dog’s breeding the name in some places has stuck. It was German breeders in fact who refined the Great Dane from something ferocious and aggressive to something more gentle like the breed we see now.

Today the Great Dane is a sweet, affectionate and gentle dog. He loves to play, is great with children and is very eager to please making him an easy breed to train. He loves being with the family and loves people in general. He will greet strangers in a friendly way but if he does think there is a threat to you or the family he will defend you. They love to cuddle and will do a very heavy imitation of a lap dog if you let them!

The Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound has been a popular dog throughout history and can be found back as far as the first century. He was used to hunt elk, boar and other large game and in battle and was first called Cu, which is thought to mean war dog, wold dog or hound in Gaelic. There are many references to him in Irish literature over the years. In war time he would be fighting alongside people, pulling men from chariots and horseback. He was also used to guard livestock and homes and was valued for his courage and ferocity. Only nobles and kings were allowed to own them and there were limits set on how many you could own depending on your standing. He was often gifted from one ruler to another. At one point though its numbers dwindled drastically and may have disappeared if not for a Major Richardson in the mid 1800s and a Captain Graham showing an interest in this breed. Both revived the breed using Glengarry Deerhounds, Irish Danes and Tibetan Mastiffs.

Today the Irish Wolfhound is intelligent, gentle and forms very strong bonds with his people always wanting to be with them. He is sensitive and needs positive methods of training. When with his family he is calm and responsive. He is not aggressive but is alert. He does not make a good guard dog. Despite his size he has low energy levels but still needs some daily exercise as well as access to a yard. He is not a long lived dog sadly living only 6 to 8 years.


The Irish Dane is a gentle and affectionate dog, alert and intelligent too. He is very loyal and loving to his owner but can also have a playful side. He is eager to please and is friendly to everyone. He is trustworthy and reliable too. He is patient so that makes him good with children.

What does a Irish Dane look like

He is a giant mixed breed weighing 100 to 150 pounds and he stands 32 to 38 inches tall. He has a head that is rectangular shaped, ears that flap down and eyes that are deep, medium sized and almond shaped. His fur is straight, short to medium in length and harsh. Common colors are black, white, brown, gray, golden, brindle, blue, red, white, cream, Merle, speckled, spotted and salt and pepper.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Irish Dane need to be?

He needs to be kept very active to stay happy and healthy so will need owners committed to outdoor daily activities. He also needs access to a medium to large yard to play in. He loves to jump and can jump very high and he also loves to spin around. He has a lot of energy so will need a couple of long walks a day, could join you on a jog, hiking, go to a dog park and play some games.

Does he train quickly?

He should be easy to train as he is eager to please and listens to commands and is inclined to obey. In general the Irish Dane will need fewer repetitions than many other dogs so will train quicker. Because of his size it is important to train him in good behavior from a young age when on the leash, as he will be super powerful when he is an adult and you do not want him pulling at you then. Also teach him not to jump up at people. Establish yourself as pack leader and use positive but firm methods of training. Early socialization and training are very important to get a well rounded dog.

Living with an Irish Dane

How much grooming is needed?

The Irish Dane is a low shedding dog and grooming him is quite easy to do. If he has a coat more like the Irish Wolfhound you may need to have it clipped occasionally. Bathe him as he needs it, it is a good idea to train him for this from a young age, as when he is full sized you will not be lifting him in and out of the bath. You could also opt to use the hose in the yard or use a bathing station at a groomers. Make sure you use a dog shampoo. Once a week you need to check his ears and wipe them clean. His teeth should be brushed at least three times a week. His nails may need clipping if he does not naturally keep them worn down.

What is he like with children and other animals?

He is good with children as he has a gentle nature. His size does mean he may knock over small children without meaning too so they may need to be watched. Children should also be taught how to play with him and that things like pulling ears, trying to ride him and messing with his food are not things that are acceptable to do. Irish Danes are also good with other pets if they have been socialized though they can see smaller animals as prey to chase.

General information

He does not bark often but will bark to alert you if an intruder is breaking in. He will need 41/2 to 6 cups of high quality dry dog food at least. He does best in moderate climates but does not do well in extreme heat or cold.

Health Concerns

The best way to ensure you have a healthy dog is to buy from a good breeder and ask to see health clearances for both parents. While there is some argument to hybrid vigor there is a chance in any dog of inheriting the conditions their parents are prone to. In the Irish Dane’s case these conditions to be aware of include Development Issues, cancer , bloat, heart problems, surgical issues, Anesthesia Sensitivity, liver problems, Fibrocartilaginous Embolic Myelopathy, OCD, eye problems and joint dysplasia.

Costs involved in owning an Irish Dane

This is not an easy to find dog and prices can range greatly from $300 to $1500. You will need to have some basic supplies for him like a crate, a collar and leash, a food bowl. You will also need to have some initial medical tests done on his blood, have him neutered, micro chipped, up to date with shots and dewormed. These costs will be around $450 to $500. Yearly medical costs for check ups, vaccinations, flea prevention and pet insurance will be $485 to $600. Yearly non medical costs for food, toys, license, training and treats will be $510 to $600.


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The Irish Dane is a lovely dog, he will be a great member of any family as long as you have space for him in and outside the house, and as long as you can give him the exercise and stimulation he needs each day.

Featured Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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