The wolfhound was historically a dog that only nobles could own and was taken up by the British during their rule of Ireland.
This made it unpopular as a national symbol and the Kerry Blue Terrier was adopted by Irish Nationalists such as Michael Collins.
In 1885 Captain Graham with other breeders founded the Irish Wolfhound Club, and the Breed Standard of Points to establish and agree the ideal to which breeders should aspire.
The wolfhound is sometimes regarded as the national dog breed of Ireland but in fact no breed has ever been officially adopted as such.
Irish wolfhounds have been recorded as being exhibited in Rome and during the English conquest of Ireland, wolfhounds were trained by the Irish for war.
Cuchulain, a name which translates literally as “hound of Culain”, gained his name when as a child, known as Setanta, he slew the ferocious guard dog of Culain forcing him to offer himself as a replacement.
Their astonishing size, speed and intelligence made them ideal animals for both boar and wolf hunting.
The last wolf in Ireland is thought to have been killed at Myshall, Co Carlow in 1786 by a pack of wolfhounds kept by a Mr Watson of Ballydarton.
The remaining hounds in the hands of a few families who were mainly descendants of the old Irish chieftains, were now symbols of status rather than hunters. An Englishman, Captain George Augustus Graham is responsible with a few other breeders for reaffirming the dogs existence.