"The Dog Who Killed Wolves" Newstalk documentary on the Irish wolfhound

Exploring the place of a dog of war who took pride of place in mythology and society throughout the centuries

"The Dog Who Killed Wolves" Newstalk documentary on the Irish wolfhound

Image: St. Patrick’s Day 2013, Aldershot Barracks with Domhnaill The Irish Wolfhound, The Irish Gaurds and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

This Newstalk documentary explores the place of the Irish wolfhound in Irish mythology – a story that goes back to the first written record of the breed in 391AD.

A dog of war and a status symbol, the wolfhound was an animal of great worth to the Irish people throughout the centuries, and considered a prized gift in the Royal Houses of Europe.

Generally accepted to be the oldest dog breed, it has been recorded for centuries in mythology as well as in official records. The first written record of an Irish Wolfhound was in 391 AD when the breed was mentioned in a Roman Consul letter.

The breed in the past has had many names such as the Irish Wolfdog, Irish Greyhound, Irish Deerhound and the cú (hound) in the native Irish language.

Historically they were used as a dog of war as well as for hunting wolves and other wild animals. The Irish placed a great deal of value on these dogs and a person's status indicated how many hounds he was allowed to possess.

The Dog Who Killed Wolves will explore the breed through Irish mythology and help us understand its position of prestige in Irish history.

The documentary will also examine the breed’s near extinction in the 18th century and how the Irish Wolfhound became a symbol of Ireland, while also discovering the luxurious life of the royal mascot dog Domhnaill in the Irish Guards, Prince William’s regiment in the British Army.