The Irish wolfhound, in addition to making a wonderful companion and family pet, has many other traits that make them such desirable dogs. One of these traits is their ability to make excellent show dogs. There are breed standards of the Irish wolfhound that must be met in the show ring, such as body length and height, proportion of the body, as well as each part being the size it should be in proportion to the rest of the body (front and back legs, height at withers, etc.).
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has many events that the Irish wolfhound excels in. Conformation showing is where the dog is shown to the judges as for his overall appearance of the breed standard for what they should be in size and appearance. An Irish wolfhound that is neutered cannot participate in the conformation competition, but is eligible to join in the obedience competitions, tracking, lure coursing, and junior showmanship, which is for young people from 10 to 18 years of age. The Irish wolfhound is a joy to watch in the show ring.
The Irish wolfhound excels at agility, which is not a surprise with their long legs and great speed. Because of their long legs, however, it takes great talent for the dog to make the exact maneuvers involved in some of the agility sports like taking corners without turning to the side. Agility consists of jumping through hoops, over obstacles, up and down maneuvers, as well as through tunnels. This is an event the Irish wolfhound thrives on due to their love of being with their owner and pleasing them. Although they tend to be stubborn at times, they get great enjoyment out of this sport.
The Irish wolfhound also participates in working trials that test their tracking ability. The dog has to find objects (by scent and sight) that are dropped inside of a flagged area within a square course. The dog is judged not only by if he finds all the objects, but by how fast he finds them and how graceful he looks as he does this.
Lure coursing is another event the Irish wolfhound does well in, finding the lure in record time in many instances. Many of these events rely not only on the intelligence the dog possesses, but speed and agility as well. The Irish wolfhound has never been lacking in any of these qualitities.
The Irish wolfhound has been in many shows, usually placing high in the ranks. Many of them have received the Best in show awards, Best of Breed awards, as well as placing very highly in the Specialty shows. They've come a long way since the day they were hunting foxes as their sole purpose. They actually enjoy their training for many of these events and enjoy getting the exercise at the same time.