The Irish Wolfhound is a breed of large sighthound that has, by its presence and substantial size, inspired literature, poetry and mythology. Strongly associated with Gaelic Ireland and Irish history, they were famed as guardian dogs and for hunting wolves.
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. It is among the largest of all breeds of dog. In 1902, the Irish Wolfhound was declared the regimental mascot of the Irish Guards.