Irish Wolfhounds.... Instead of GP??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by chickflick, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Opinions of Irish Wolfhounds on the homestead... ??? How do you suppose they'd be w/ fowl, etc. I have a bad coyote problem here... well, they are quite numerous and I'm tired of "feeding" them, if you get my drift!

    (My daughter is not to be trusted in this department.. She has always wanted one/them, therefore... I don't trust her advice on this one!!! LOL!! It seems we had this conversation and I ended up deciding against it. )
     
  2. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

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    Very handsome, majestic dogs that lie around a lot, and often die at 7 to 8 years of age. Very little hunting instinct left, and they are hounds - so may go off somewhere without much thought for you, the farm, or the stock.
    A good working Airedale makes a nice all around farm dog that will tackle any size vermin, and stand up to human intruders too.
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would recomend a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Super aggresive against preditors, and don't (in my experience) bother birds. Put a big show on with people, without being mean. (these dogs were bred to take on African Lions)
     
  4. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Let me reiterate..... I ONLY want info ON IRISH WOLFHOUNDS!! (There's another thread for "all breed" opinions!!:):)

    THANKS! (Just avoiding the same info!)
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ok, chick, they are high strung and ugly. (maybe kindred souls?) :haha:
     
  6. Rouen

    Rouen Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with the GP, irish wolfhounds weren't bred to bond to livestock and humans, if bonded with livestock it could become aggressive towards you and if bonded with you the livestock could become easy game for your dog, plus they're big dogs and often rather clumbsy and probly wouldn't be the best choice.

    http://www.castlestoshamrocks.com/symbols/wolfhound.html

    http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/irishwolfhound.htm

    http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/guidelines.htm

    http://www.mindtravel.com/iw/maggie.html
     
  7. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Stick with the tried and true Great Pyrenees. Why would you want to risk your livestock with a dog that was originally bred to hunt (to hunt anything, much less a lion?), however many generations ago that was?
     
  8. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen one used as a farm dog, but a friend breeds them. They are very gentle, good with kids, and fairly easy care. On the down side, they are not cheap (around here you can't touch one for under $1000), and you would be buying a replacement every 5 or 6 years. The ones I know are also not hugely energetic. Maybe it's just that particular strain, but it could also be that it takes a lot of energy to move those big bodies!
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    If you want an Irish Wolfhound just because you like them, then go for it! :D

    But MARY DVM is right about the hound thing. I've never had an Irish Wolfhound but I've had me some hounds (they're my fave doggie :) ) ... and you must never forget with a hound ... there's a reason there's so many rock 'n roll songs about hounds! :yeeha: There's a reason wandering, slightly drunken, unreliable but thoroughly charming men are called hounds! :yeeha:

    Hounds aren't even dogs, AFAIC. They're hounds! :D And the ones I've had have been wonderfully charming, hilarious, extremely intelligent, not at all lazy ... but entirely untrustworthy if they smell the slightest hint of anything carried by the breeze from some 20 miles away!

    They're much more interested in that distant scent than chickens, as a matter of fact. Or you, for that matter.
     
  10. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife Well-Known Member

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    As adults they are not energetic, but they grow quickly and that leaves you with a good chunk of time, at least a year when they are puppy in behavior and big enough to be a real handful...our closest friends had one that could open the freezer at six months by grabbing the handle in his mouth and pulling. Combine the energy and exuberence of a puppy in the size of a full-grown great dane and you get the idea. Plus, as hounds, they were bred to hunt and as sight hounds may take off after who knows what leaving you in the dirt.
     
  11. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Countrygrrrl - You just described my ex husband. :haha:

    They're hounds! And the ones I've had have been wonderfully charming, hilarious, extremely intelligent, not at all lazy ... but entirely untrustworthy if they smell the slightest hint of anything carried by the breeze from some 20 miles away!


    CF - I've never had Irsh Wolfhounds but had a friend that did, and while that was a beautiful animal, it was lazy. We called it an island because he'd plot down in the middle of the kitchen floor and you'd have to go around him. He was older. They had sheep and chickens, but he wasn't much interested in them at that age.

    Life is good! :) :) :)
    Halo
     
  12. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

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    Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds were bred for chasing large prey. They can have bursts of speed over 30+ mph and can easily take a deer down. The rest of the time all they want to do relax around the home and hearth.

    I wouldn't discount their hunting instincts. I know someone who has both and they have taken down several deer these past few years.
    deb
     
  13. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Deb (and CF), it's my philosophy and experience that it's never wise to discount the hunting instincts of the pups!

    My sister found a German Shorthair a year or so ago, and ended up adopting him as no one claimed him. He's just the cutest fellow imagineable --- looks exactly like Popeye, thanks to a REALLY bad underbite :haha: --- but she can hardly let him outside unsupervised because he will freaking climb trees to get at birds!

    Meanwhile, I have a labrador ridgeback mix who regularly retrieves me, if he thinks I'm out of place. :haha:

    Halo, it's my opinion that the hounds (esp. the scenthounds) are the -- er uh -- personification :D of the term *charming *b*astards!* :haha: hey're sooo entertaining and charming, but absolutely no good whatsoever! Unless you're looking for some rabbits! :haha:
     
  14. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    All the ones I've seen (ok 2) didn't seem to tolerate cold very well
     
  15. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the varied opinons. :):) It's given me something to think on. I DO own a retired Greyhound racer and think I get the "sight hound" mentality. He, too, is a 'rug' until he is let out.. then stand back brother!!! Runs laps around about 4 acres where my house is... Poor guy.. when he first came here we were all in the pasture and he was running with the horses.. but one of them changed direction a bit, bumped into him.. and he won't SET FOOT in that pasture to this day!! OR when I have the horse up here 'weed eating' for me!! I literally have to take him by the collar to make him go outside at those times. :no:
    HOWEVER.. he is the absolute BEST housedog EVER CREATED.

    I DO want a dog that'll take down a coyote if it's in MY area. (But not my goats, horses, or fowl.) My GP, I actually SAW with one once... he really didn't DO anything... no contact.. but barked and scared the (poor?) coyote so bad, he tucked tail... backed up to GP and when opportunity was afforded.. left rather quickly. BUT.. he's still there to return another day.. not good. I'd think of shooting them.. but... ?? he's just tryin' to eat too. (Maybe if TEOTWAWKI?? THEN I'll kill em.. but for now I still have grocery stores!) :eek:

    My alternate thoughts were considering breeding as well. It isn't everyone who has room or inclination to do so. I like the idea dual purposes.

    Anyway.. thanks again...
     
  16. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Please define




     
  17. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    chickflick-

    They are EXPENSIVE to breed- LOTS of health issues. Hip dysplasia, eye issues, heart and thyroid issues- and those are the ones you can test for! Although they have big litters, they don't live long (8 is considered doing VERY well, and unfortunately 6 is about the average). Due to their size, it's hard to find really good homes for them, and a surprising number end up in rescue just due to how darn big they get. Although they're not terribly active, they are very large, very strong dogs- think tails as thick as a 10 year old kid's arm and at LEAST as strong. (I've seen an IW puppy knock a hole in sheetrock when he was a bit over enthusiastic in greeting someone in the entry of his owners house. She sighed and was like "that's the third time this week. Let me get out the patch kit.")

    Some of them *do* have hunting instincts, but the modern IW is mostly of Scottish Deerhound blood, the original breed having gone effectively extinct when wolves became extinct in Ireland several hundred years ago and the IW no longer being needed as a result- that's a LOT of dog to feed for him to sit around and look glamourous.

    As for taking on coyotes, if you think GP aren't ferocious enough, why not another breed BRED for that kind of work. If you were HUNTING coyotes, IWs might be bred to do the job again (it'd take generations, you're talking about a MAJOR project, and you might actually do better starting with borzoi- there are more borzoi with field coursing titles than IW, I believe- they were also used to hunt large predators more recently than the IWs). There are more ferocious LGD breeds out there, and more general guard breeds that might suit as well. (Kuvaz come to mind, and some of the Ovachartka breeds). None of them are ones that I think would be especially good to breed, as they need VERY specialized owners in this day and age in order not to be a danger to the community.

    Cait
     
  18. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    daybird, I'm not positive about this, but I think ridgebacks were bred more for protection, rather than hunting. As far as tried and true is concerned, I have tried them, and found them true.
     
  19. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    You're certainly braver than I. All dog breeds were developed with a purpose to serve humans. Biologists refer to this as a sybiotic relationship were both parties benefit. (Whereas cats would generally considered to be parasites. :D )

    I would never overlook these bred-in, instinctual qualities. Yes, many traits overlap or can be "trained" in such as "training" a pyr not to bark, using a westie as a herding dog (saw this on Animal Planet) or using a sight-hound as a LGD but I think (my opinion) that it's best to stick to what they're bred for.

    I'm so very glad that your ridgeback has not attacked your birds. If I only had chickens, perhaps I wouldn't be so concerned. Ridgebacks certainly are beautiful, majestic creatures. They have, however, been included on the "Dangerous Dog Breed" lists in many municipalities around the country.

    For me, I would never trust one with my children and I do have birds much, much more valuable than my chickens. One of my Ringnecked Parakeets is valued at more than $4000.

    Considering all the pros and cons: availability, costs, lifespan, health and purpose, I'd highly recommend a Great Pyrenees over almost any other breed for the purpose of Livestock Guardian.
     
  20. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    My lab-ridgeback has a mix of the lab personality and the ridgeback personality.

    The thing with ridgebacks isn't so much that they're aggressive --- it's that they tend to bond closely with only a very few people and are distrustful of strangers.

    Although my fellow has many lab traits (including an obsessive need to retrieve things and carry stuff around :rolleyes: ), he also has a ridgeback personality and only REALLY likes me and a couple of other adults. Small animals and children, however, don't worry him too much except that he wants to play with them. :rolleyes:

    The difficulties with him arise only when big people (adults) don't honor his *space* --- but he's never bitten anyone, only *buffed* at them. He has a lot of problems with this because he really is a gorgeous dog and very cute (although huge). And often, people just don't want to hear that he really and truly doesn't like absolutely everyone. His reaction, however, is to buff (his version of a threatening bark) and get away as quickly as possible.

    When the run-away chickens were here last year ( :haha: ), he was truly in hog heaven. He loved his chickens and looked forward to them showing up every morning. :haha:

    All that said, ridgebacks --- or even part ridgebacks, like mine --- aren't for everyone. All dogs require a high degree of commitment. But ridgebacks REALLY require that commitment, simply because they are so limited in who they are willing to bond with.