Wolfhounds are the tallest breed of modern dog and are descendants of the 'cu' or 'wolfe dogges' of Irish antiquity albeit crossbred with a number of other breeds in the 1800's. They are sighthounds and have shaggy short fur that may be coloured grey, brindle, red, black or fawn.
They are known for their great size, loyalty, gentle temperament towards their adopted families. They do suffer from join problems is not cared for in their youth and on average live to be only 6 to 8 years old, though some have attained ages almost double that.
The most famous tale of a 'wolfe dogge' is that of Gelert (after whom an inordinate number of wolfhounds are now named) who was the dog of Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales in the 13th Century.
When Llewelyn's infant son was left alone in his cradle a large wolf entered the room. Gelert discovered the wolf and fought and killed the wolf in the same room knocking over the cradle and splashing blood all over. Llewelyn hearing a noise rushed to the room to find his son's cradle covered in blood, and Gelert's muzzle coated in the same. In a rage he drew his sword and pierced Gelert's side causing the hound to emit a mournful howl. Just as he finished doing so he heard a noise from behind the cradle to find his son unharmed and just behind the cradle, previously out of sight the carcass of the largest wolf Llewelyn had ever seen.
Llwellyn is said to have mourned his loyal hound greatly and erected a monument him near the river Glaslyn.