Home Gym Mum-of-three lives with seven Irish wolfhounds – and wants more dogs

Mum-of-three lives with seven Irish wolfhounds – and wants more dogs

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Mandy Addington spends £100 a week on dog food, and has to go on five walks a day with her pack of seven hounds

Mandy and Neil Addington with their four adult wolfhounds Declan, Duffy, Dàire and Domhnall

Mandy and Neil Addington with their four adult wolfhounds Declan, Duffy, Dàire and Domhnall

Irish wolfhounds are undeniably a gorgeous dog breed – and one woman loves them so much she has a whole pack.

As Mandy Addington’s two eldest sons flew the nest, her pack of hounds grew from one, to two, to three – to seven.

The 58-year-old shares her home with husband Neil, 28-year-old son, Sam, as well as four adult wolfhounds each with Irish names Declan, Duffy, Dàire and Domhnall as well as three puppies, Floinn, Reilly and Nuala.

Mandy decided to get her first dog 27 years ago, following a near break-in at her Hullbridge home, in Essex, whilst Neil was working away.

She said: “My husband was travelling around 70 per cent of the year so I was at home alone with three children. I came home one day and I couldn’t get out the back door, and when I looked there was a screwdriver where someone had tried to break in. So, Neil said we’d get a dog.”

Declan is their oldest dog, aged eight, and has heart disease – a common condition in Irish wolfhounds


Mandy Addington)

It was her first wolfhound, named Fergus, who made her fall in love with the breed, owning at least one ever since.

“I didn’t know what kind of dog to get with children aged one, four and seven in the house,” Mandy said. “But Neil said there was only one dog to get – an Irish wolfhound.”

Now, the couple and their youngest son live with around 350kg of ‘gentle giant’ hound, and Mandy would have even more, joking that they’re like part of the furniture.

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She said: “They really are different from ordinary breed dogs. They’re definitely more human-like and really soulful when you look into their eyes. They’re very gentle and sensitive – a real companion dog that craves human attention – it’s like adding a family member.

“They are very well laid back so long as you exercise them, they’re like having a rug on the floor. They’re hard work as puppies, but once they’re adults they’re just great company.”

Earlier this year, two of Mandy’s dogs, Dàire and Domhnall, had a litter of nine puppies – taking the house total up to 13. The couple decided to keep three of the pups, who are now four months old and eating twice as much as they would as an adult.

In June, wolfhounds Dàire and Domhnall had nine puppies


Mandy Addington)

The pack is all raw fed, with Mandy defrosting around 12kg of tripe a day, paired with local eggs, probiotic yogurt, raw bones and oils – at a whopping cost of £100 per week.

Last year, Mandy lost her eldest wolfhound, Dermot, one day before his ninth birthday – a brilliant age for these dogs whose life expectancy is six to 10 years.

She got Dàire and Domhnall from a breeder in Denmark who breed pups for ‘health and longevity’.

Now, her oldest boy, Declan, who is eight, has heart disease, so can only go on short ‘sniffari’ walks.

She said: “The puppies get taken out separately so that they learn to socialise independently, so they get a 10 minute walk around the nature reserve each day – then as much free time in the garden as they want.

“Declan has heart disease and can’t go that far now, so he has a sniff walk in the nature reserve which can take 15-30 minutes depending on how much sniffing he wants to do.

“We take our girls and Domhnall for a brisk 45 minute walk through the village, or along the river for about an hour and a half.”

The couple kept three puppies from the litter, who are named Floinn, Reilly and Nuala.


Mandy Addington)

The dogs get the run of the downstairs of the house – besides the kitchen, because they’re so tall, they can reach anything.

Mandy added: “We also have two cats, and our female dogs like to chase them, so they find safety in the kitchen. Plus, wolfhounds can counter surf so if there was anything on the sides it wouldn’t be there for very long.

“Domhnall will occasionally get on the sofa even though he knows he’s not allowed to. They have an armchair that they all get on.

“When the puppies are adults I’d definitely have more, but they are hard work as pups. Adults I’d have as many as I could, really.”

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