The Irish Wolfhound is an Irish breed of large sighthound. It is among the largest of all breeds of dog. It was bred in England in the late nineteenth century with the aim of re-creating the old wolfhounds of Ireland, which were believed to be extinct. These had, by their presence and substantial size, inspired literature, poetry and mythology; according to tradition, they were used run down large animals including wolves, and also as guard dogs.
The modern breed classified by recent genetic research into the Sighthound United Kingdom Rural Clade (Fig. S2), is used by coursing hunters who have prized it for its ability to dispatch game caught by other, swifter sighthounds.
In 1902, the Irish Wolfhound was declared the regimental mascot of the Irish Guards.