The Irish Wolfhound’s Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Ireland Original purpose: hunting wolves (sighthound); possibly originally bred as war dogs Name: bred to hunt wolves, called Cú Faoil by ancient Celts Historical notes: The Irish Wolfhound breed is one of the oldest European dog breeds. Possibly the ancient Celts first bred Irish Wolfhounds as war dogs in the first century BC or earlier. Written records indicate that the Romans were fascinated by the dogs and found them so fierce that they only transported them in cages. Later Irish people used the breed to guard sheep and in dogfights. Dogfights with Irish Wolfhounds are mentioned in a number of Irish sagas. Later they were used to hunt wolves, and today the wolf is extinct in Ireland. By the mid-19th century the Irish Wolfhound was nearly extinct. A man named Captain Graham bred remaining Irish Wolfhounds with Deerhound, Great Dane, Borzoi, and other breeds in order to reinvigorate it.