Animals

‘They’re Very Loving Dogs’: Couple Share Country Home With 10 Humongous Irish Wolfhound Dogs

BY Louise Chambers TIMEAugust 9, 2022 PRINT

An English couple who share a huge love for dogs have a 15-strong pack in their country home—10 of which represent their favorite breed, Irish wolfhounds.

Claire Moorhouse and her husband, Mav, live in the English village of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Their plus-sized furry family includes their 10 Irish wolfhounds, three white Swiss shepherds, a whippet, and a lurcher.

“We’re dog fanatics, but we’ve got a particular soft spot for wolfhounds,” Mav, 49, told The Epoch Times.

The couple’s obsession with the Irish wolfhounds first began 10 years ago, in 2012.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

“The intention was to have a go at showing, which we did,” Claire, 46, said. The pair had planned to have a male and female so they could show them. But they then decided that, rather than buying them, they’d have a go at breeding their female.

“We had our first litter. We kept one, and then we had another litter and we kept two,” she explained. “Very quickly, we went from having two to having five, and once you’ve got five, adding another and another and another makes very little difference!”

Describing their gentle giants’ characteristics, Mav said that they’re supposed to be the tallest breed in the world and have soft, gentle, boisterous characters.

He further explained that “they’re very loving dogs,” and it’s like they’ve got a “human soul.”

Epoch Times Photo
Claire with Wilson, the tallest wolfhound. (Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

Wilson, the couple’s youngest Irish wolfhound at 13 months, is currently their biggest, measuring almost 38 inches from floor to shoulder and 72 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.

“We think he will also end up being the heaviest male,” they said.

Today, the couple breed Irish wolfhounds to show, but they don’t keep them in kennels. Instead, they have bought their current country home with the idea of having enough space to cohabit with the dogs.

(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

Epoch Times Photo
Mav with Wilson. (Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

“We can separate the girls when they’re in season, and we can separate anybody that gets injured or anybody that’s ill,” said Claire. “The house is specially set up to accommodate the dogs but we do have rooms where we can get some privacy, and some quiet time as well.”

Caring for the 15 dogs is “immense,” according to Claire. Feeding, exercising, and checking each one of them for injuries after outings on rough terrain—such as mountains, forests, and moorland—is a full-time job. Their weekly dog food bill for raw meat, kibble, and treats can reach 300 pounds (approx. US$365), in addition to regular bills for grooming and nail-trimming.

The couple keep evenings free to recharge themselves before starting each day at 6 a.m.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

Claire and Mav mentioned that Irish wolfhounds are usually very big dogs and one can’t imagine really how big.

“They are gentle giants, but they take the same amount of training as any other breed,” Claire said. “They take the same amount of work and socialization.”

She also explained that the breed are usually boisterous and they can be very destructive and don’t always seem to have very good manners.

“They’re not a dog for anybody … but if you put the work in, they are completely worth it!,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

Owing to their size, the wolfhounds are also “minor celebrity dogs,” said Mav, and the couple often prepares them for appearances at parades, local tours, restaurant openings, adverts, and TV appearances.

But they do get ample leisure time, too.

Mav said: “They love messing around in the great outdoors. They love chasing each other and paddling around in water,” whilst Claire added: “They like exploring new places, new lights, new sights, new sounds, new smells, and then they like to come home and rest.”

As if 10 Irish wolfhounds weren’t enough, Claire and Mav also take care of three white Swiss shepherds—”Irish wolfhounds are not a guarding breed … so we’ve got the shepherds to protect the house and protect the pack,” Claire explained. In addition, they have an ex-show whippet named Salad, and a rescued lurcher, Bentley.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

The couple’s daughter, Nell, “a great junior handler,” adopted Salad after he grew too tall for shows, and today they are inseparable.

Meanwhile, Bentley was once slated to be euthanized, since he had numerous broken bones in his front left foot, and his former owner didn’t want him anymore. However, the couple’s daughter Eve, a veterinary nurse, took him on as a foster and had him for five months as they tried to save him. Bentley then found a potential home but the arrangement didn’t seem to work and he was returned as a result.

“Three months later and no home had been found, so we adopted him,” the couple’s website stated.

According to Claire, her family feel connected to each and every dog, and get a sense of deep fulfillment from watching them run about their home, gardens, and surrounding countryside, “doing what they love.”

(Courtesy of Austonley Irish Wolfhounds)

Claire and Mav share about their dogs on a dedicated Instagram page, which has over 23,000 followers, and know they bring joy to others. Claire said: “People love them all over the world … they affect people so strongly.”

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Louise Chambers is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.
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