The Irish Wolfhound is a historic sighthound dog breed from Ireland that has, by its presence and substantial size, inspired literature, poetry and mythology. Like all sighthounds, it was used to pursue game by speed; it was also famed as a guardian dog, specializing in protection against and for the hunting of wolves. The original dog-type was presumed extinct by most knowledgeable authors but recreated specifically for the canine fancy mainly by Captain George A. Graham in the late 19th century. The modern breed, classified by recent genetic research into the Sighthound United Kingdom Rural Clade, has been used by coursing hunters who have prized it for its ability to dispatch game caught by other, swifter sighthounds.
In 391, there is a reference to large dogs by Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, a Roman Consul who received seven "canes Scotici" as a gift to be used for fighting lions and bears, and who wrote "all Rome viewed (them) with wonder".
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