Neck, long, well arched and very strong.
There is no doubt that one of the strongest
characteristics of the sighthound is the length
of neck. In a full suspension gallop, the neck
stretches out, allowing the center of gravity to
push forward, and thus propels the animal
forward. If there is any question about this
function of a neck of increased length, closely
greyhound race from track side and notice
the stretching and throwing of the weight
forward so as to achieve speed. The IW should
have a proportionally long and well curved or
arched neck. The appearance of length can be
increased by trimming away the excessive hair
about the base of the skull and at the throat
immediately adjacent to the
lower jaw (not the chin furnishings) and
smoothly blending the hair into the heavy coat
on the shoulders and chest (see Fig.5 and 6). In
other words, reducing the appearance of the size
of the head and smoothly blending the coat from
the head to the shoulders and chest, will make
the neck appear longer and stronger. Again the
means of amplifying the neck is a matter of
judgement as to what looks best on a particular
dog. Perhaps the best way to fully appreciate
the unique difference between a long and short
neck is to compare working breeds to the
coursing hounds. The function of the two groups
is different, and one of the most outstanding
differences is the conformation of the neck.
Elaboration of this difference is a
responsibility of the groomer.
Chest, very deep, moderately broad.
The chest, like the neck, is a characteristic
difference between the coursing hound and all
other breeds. The conformation of a coursing dog
is characterized by a giant chest juxtaposed to
the tucked-up loins. Working breeds have the
tendency towards breadth of chest while the
coursing breeds have the tendency towards depth
of chest. The depth of the chest, needed for
heart space, should look as though it belongs to
the dog and not some enormous addition to his
underside The front view should look comfortably
wide, but the
rib cage should be more slab sided than
the barrel shaped. Comparing the
Great Dane to an IW of the same size
reveals a great deal about the conformation of
the chest and the conformation of the IW in
The two breeds are distinctly different. In
grooming, that difference should be amplified by
combing down the hair of the chest and stripping
down the rib cage hair so that it lies flat
along the cage. As noted above, stripping away
some of the fluffy hair from the loins can add
to the appearance of the chest size.
Shoulders, muscular, set sloping.
Ideally in the
Irish Wolfhound and the other coursing
hounds, the shoulder blade should be set at a 45
degree angle. The only way to determine the
angle of a dog’s shoulders is to feel for it.
Without proper angulation, the dog would exhibit
a very strange gait either from the head -on
position or the side position. Grooming can
neither hide nor minimize a bad set of shoulders.
However, the exhibitor should see to it that the
hair on the shoulders is stripped sufficiently
so that the hair lies flat against the shoulder
blade and is not teased out so that it presents
a ballooned or barrel effect.
Tail, long and slightly curved.
Clearly and simply, the tail should be long and
straight. Of course, there can be some variation,
but a short tail or a ring tail is considered
objectionable. Some grooming of the tail should
be done because of the excessive hair on some
dogs at the base of the tail. This grooming
should blend the base of the tail smoothly into
the tail proper. In other words, the appearance
of the tail should be relative same thickness
throughout the entire tail, with only a slight
This is clearly stated. The preference is for
dark eyes. A personal observation is that darker
coated dogs with light eyes look strange, as
their eyes stand out in great contrast while a
light coated dog seems to be able to carry light
eyes a little better.