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This was long assumed to have been a Tibetan Mastiff.
and by 391 AD, they were written about by Roman Consul, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, who received seven of them, "canes Scotici", as a gift to be used for fighting lions and bears, in his words, "all Rome viewed (them) with wonder".The remaining hounds in the hands of a few families who were mainly descendants of the old Irish chieftains, were now symbols of status rather than hunters, they were said to be the last of their race.Scotsman Captain George Augustus Graham is responsible with a few other breeders for attempting to reaffirm the breed's existence.Owing to the small numbers of surviving specimens outcrossing was used in the breeding programme.It is believed that Borzoi, Great Dane, Scottish Deerhound and English Mastiff dogs all played their part in Graham's creation of the dog we currently know.Due to their popularity overseas many were exported to European royal houses leaving numbers in Ireland depleted.This led to a declaration by Oliver Cromwell himself being published in Kilkenny on 27 April 1652 to ensure that sufficient numbers remained to control the wolf population.In 1879 he wrote: "It has been ascertained beyond all question that there are few specimens of the breed still left in Ireland and England to be considered Irish Wolfhounds, though falling short of the requisite dimensions.This blood is now in my possession." Captain Graham devoted his life to ensuring the survival of the Irish Wolfhound.Originally developed from war hounds to one used for hunting and guarding, Irish Wolfhounds can be an imposing sight due to their formidable size.These dogs are mentioned, as cú (variously translated as hound, Irish hound, war dog, wolf dog, etc.) in Irish laws and in Irish literature which dates from the 5th century or, in the case of the Sagas, from the old Irish period - AD 600-900.