WHAT ARE LITTLE WOLFHOUNDS MADE OF ?

New: 6 Sept 99

    What is an Irish Wolfhound made of? Personally, I find them to be "one half THEIR love; the other half MY love". Some people think they are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice..." But, that is not what you really want to know, so... 
    What is an Irish Wolfhound? It is the tallest of the galloping hounds. It is gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked. It is serene, relaxing, adoring, cuddly, caring, protective of family (not hearth). It is an ancient breed originally used in battle as guardian of the foot warrior. The hound has been depicted in frieze hieroglyphics as early as 2500 B.C. The Celts brought this great hound to Ireland somewhere between 2500 B.C. and 1500 B.C. Their temperament has always been stable and one of fierce loyalty. They are not reactive like a German Shepherd, a Doberman or a Rottweiler and therefore make poor guard dogs. They will defend YOU to the death, but not your property.
    One important fact that we all agree on: Ownership of one of these majestic animals is a privilege and a pleasure. The privilege carries great responsibility with it. You must give grave consideration to the hound's great size, the cost of feeding him, the extra veterinary costs if he is ever ill, the amount of exercise he should have each day and the sufficient space to provide the freedom he requires. The cost to purchase is unimportant when compared to the overall maintenance of an animal this huge. Your breeder will provide you with some of the expenses you will face in the puppy's formative months--the care, feeding and general upkeep; the veterinary services for shots, wormings and annual checkups.
    This is a family hound and SUNSTAG(Reg.) will insist that it be a house companion. Some people even provide the hound with their own bed in order to keep the hound from sharing the humans' one! The hound's greatest delight is in pleasing their people by being polite and serene, but they can be clowns and comics and often wear silly grins with their antics. They will give you many years of devoted, heartwarming pleasure. SUNSTAG(Reg.) strives to follow the written Standard for our breed. We produce hounds which are functional, typical, intelligent, and temperamentally sound. They are house raised and are suitable for small children (see Collage) naturally you with monitoring the puppy-child interaction during the puppy months. The days prior to taking a puppy home are used to socialize them; prepare those which are to be shipped to not fear the crate; to give each one time alone to establish strong, independent personalities; and to awaken their coursing curiosity with short training exercises.
   What To Look For When Buying a Puppy. First you will have decided that you want a family companion and are therefore looking for a "pet" quality hound. The breeder will produce as healthy a hound as is scientifically possible, but there cannot be any guarantees or warrantees with a live animal. The reputation and personal ethics of your breeder will be your clue to those ethics. You will want to be sure that the kennel area is situated in such a manner that the puppies can play and potty out of doors; that it is clean and comfortable. This makes the housebreaking much less of a chore for you. The puppies should be active and friendly. Their coats should be clean (with some of normal rough-and-tumble dishevelment) and not scruffy looking, their eyes bright, clean and dark. Their noses should be free of discharge, but should be cold and moist. Watch for evidences of a bloated tummy, this could mean worms. Diarrhea means internal upset, and though both these scenarios are easily rectified it does indicate breeder neglect. Skin irritations can be from hard puppy play, but question the breeder closely if you see any. The puppy's mother should be healthy appearing and even with a sparse coat from the birthing process, still look bright and friendly. If possible, the sire should be seen. Sometimes this is not possible as the female may have been sent to be bred. At least, see a photo of him. See the pedigree. Trust me! Unless you have shown or bred dogs of one kind or another, looking at a pedigree will simply confuse you. Yes, do get a copy when you purchase a puppy, but don't count on the number of Champions listed in a pedigree to be any true evaluation of that particular puppy or the litter's future excellence. The number of Champions listed does give you "bragging rights" after you get puppy home!
    Then, if your lifestyle is active, select the puppy with the most active personality. If your lifestyle is relaxed and laid back, don't even consider the most outgoing one. There is a fantastic amount of growth ahead of the puppy so you will want to maintain its health. We do suggest that you purchase and acquire your puppy between 10 and 12 weeks of age for optimum bonding and socialization with you and the family. It is hoped that you will have interviewed veterinarians and found one familiar with the Irish Wolfhound or at least one of the other sighthounds. This breed is unique and it needs a vet thoroughly grounded in its care. We hope you will "invest" in a Medical Insurance Policy and that you will get the Home Again microchip which is registered with the American Kennel Club and provides you with a resource should you lose your puppy on an off-leash walk (which we do not advocate--these are "sighthounds", remember!) or somewhere. Some families are also getting the new DNA mapping done and keep it on file in case... well, just in case...
    Relax! Enjoy! Ask all the questions you can think of! This is for a lifetime of pleasure and happiness for you and the hound.
    What we will ask of you. There are many questions you will be asked, some so personal you will want to hang up or walk away. These questions assist us in placing just the right puppy with the right family--and to weed out those families with whom I, as the breeder, might not be able to interact over the years you own that puppy. Most breeders are "mothers-in-law"; expect to be contacted periodically by your puppy's breeder for health, growth and just pleasant updating. It would be very nice if you called first!! We want to know that you have a safe environment for puppy: Fencing, what kind, how much? Busy roads, near or far, traffic volume. Other animals in the household, cats, horses, pigs, iguanas. Children in the home, the number, the activity level, lots of friends over sometimes, a lot, never. Your activity level (you will be the one taking care of puppy most likely), hiking, walking, tennis anyone? (Just kidding!) What do you feed, how do you feed, brand name? What books have you read on the Irish Wolfhound, titles, authors? What interaction with other breeders? Is this your first wolfhound, then watch out!
    Now we come to the NOS--new owner syndrome. Let us assume that you've never even owned a dog before--are you SURE the Irish Wolfhound is the place to start? Perhaps yes, but perhaps I do not think so--are you prepared to be turned down simply because you are not "doggie" enough? I can be rude and insufferable--can you rise above my protective attitude about this breed and continue to ask questions and be "interrogated"? If yes, you could change my mind about letting a puppy go home with you... As you can imagine, these are my children and you would not expect I'd release on to just anybody! Would you not "interrogate" a Nanny or babysitter? Would an adoption agency allow you to walk down the cribs and say: "I'll take that one", and get it? I think not. Neither will you get a puppy from SUNSTAG in that manner. Will you be "allowed" to select your own puppy--possibly. I have lived with them for 24/7 times 10; I know the personalities and needs of each puppy. I will have evaluated you and selected the most suitable hound for you; if it turns out that you, too, choose that one, then, yes, you can "select" your puppy...if not, we can discuss your choice vs. my choice. Trust me. I usually win. And, you really do as well--that puppy was "yours" from the moment s/he was marked for you. All my interaction with that puppy was directed at making him/her more desirable for your family. It is a process that cannot be explained adequately... So...
    What Are Little Wolfhounds Made Of? Lots of Love and Lots of Time and Lots of Energy and Lots of Sugar and Spice and Everything nice... Do you qualify to own one?

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SUNSTAG (Reg.) IRISH WOLFHOUNDS
Dixie Hirsch || P.O. Box 777 || Silverado, CA 92676-0777
Phone/FAX: (714) 649-2770

E-Mail: dixie@sunstag.org  ||  URL: www.sunstag.org