Irish Wolfhounds, those huge gentle giants, were the favourites in the courts of the old Irish kings...it is said of them that they are 'gentle to stroke and fierce when provoked'...
Oddly enough we know of only one Wolfhound...you simply don't see them nowadays, though I expect they are probably kept by the elite as a status symbol...much as they were in the early days of the Irish tribes.
It is those dogs with their far seeing gaze that I can see from the corner of my eye when I sit amongst the violets and the primroses in some long forgotten ring fort...keeping close to the heels of their masters...
Used for protection from enemies... for hunting the wolves which provided fur for thick winter cloaks and bedding ...the Irish Wolfhound is an enigmatic dog...not quite a pet...not really ideal for attacking ones enemies, though that was one reason they were kept...loyal certainly and faithful to their master, they still have that mystical faraway expression in their eyes which tells of times past when heroes battled evil and tales were told around fires of cauldrons which never emptied and swords with magical powers...
The Wolfhound was sought after by the Romans who traded with the Irish for their best dogs...sometimes to be set against bears and lions in the great arenas...often to be kept as favoured pets within a household.
Snappy and shouty Jack Russell's like Eilis only dream of the next dinner time or the postman calling...they don't have that faraway gaze in their eyes or the ghosts of times long ago crouching on their shoulders...they have neither the grace or bearing of those noble dogs who walked at the heels of the men of the past...emerald eyes shining in the dusk of a summers evening while barefoot girls in scarlet petticoats danced under the stars...