In the soft undulating hills of the Danish countryside about 35 kilometers north of Copenhagen, you will find Wolfhouse; an old farmhouse built in 1875 in the typical style of the time. The entire house and property is designed to suit our lifestyle in the company of dogs. We don't have traditional kennels with individual runs, but run our dogs as a pack. Puppies are house raised and integrated into the pack at an early age so they learn the social skills required in order to be well functioning dogs.
Pernille with Multi CH World
Winner Wolfhouse Knock Out
The first two young Irish Wolfhound bitches entered the Monberg household in 1976. They were primarily meant to be my mother's dogs. However with her unexpected passing just three months after we had acquired the dogs I became the one to take over the responsibility of the hounds. The dogs and I quickly grew extremely attached to one another, so when I moved to a house of my own the following year I took the Wolfhounds with me. This was the beginning of a wonderful life in the company of dogs, a life of constantly learning about dog minds and their social lives. For me a life in the company of dogs has also meant a life of selectively trying to breed the best possible dogs, and having fun showing them.
In the early years the conformational quality of the dogs available in Denmark wasn't all that great, but I continued choosing the best possible sires for my bitches. During my first years as a breeder, I was lucky if there were one or two fair puppies in a litter. It has been a long and slow journey to get to where I am today, and the journey is far from over – there is always room for improvement. That is what makes breeding such a wonderful challenge. It is the thrill of eternally chasing perfection, without ever completely getting there, which keeps breeders on their toes.
As a breeder it is also important to acknowledge that your dogs have not emerged through spontaneous generation. They are the product of the work done by other breeders before you. You are merely the caretaker the genepool, which is later passed on to the breeders who follow you. This is a great responsibility.
In The Show Ring
INT CH Wolfhouse Melody Maker had an active show career till he was well past the age of 8 years. Even at the age of 8 he was able to compete and win BOB
World winner Multi CH Wolfhouse Knock Out won veterans class at Crufts and later that year won the World Winner title in Dortmund at the age of 7½ years.
CH Ebony Saragh of Nutstown was top winning Irish wolfhound in Denmark at the age of 9 years
Int CH Knallåsens Hortensia was Danish Specialty winner at the age of 8 years
CH Wolfhouse Pavane was Veteran World Winner at the age of 9 years and placed in the top 4 winning bitches at the EIWC show in Denmark the following day
CH Kellyhide Bernadette
In the past 35 years 198 wolfhounds in 26 litters have been born under the prefix of Wolfhouse. This has resulted in more than 90 Championship titles, national as well as international, a Junior World Winner (Multi CH Wolfhouse Pergolesi), a World Winner (Multi CH Wolfhouse Knock Out) and a Veteran World Winner (CH Wolfhouse Pavane). Today you will find Wolfhouse Irish wolfhounds and their descendants in many countries, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czech, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, England, Canada, the U.S., Australia, South Africa, and I am sure that I have forgotten some. For decades, Wolfhouse Irish Wolfhounds have been among the top winning dogs in Denmark and they have always been able to compete on the international scene as well.
Dog showing is one of many elements in an ambitious breeding program; it is, however, of paramount importance that show ring achievements never becomes the sole focus. Breeding for single traits such as conformation, or “fixing” details by breeding away from - or towards - something, without keeping overall health, vitality and mentality of the dogs in mind is a one dimensional breeding program. Dog breeds which are bred for very specific tasks and qualities are generally vulnerable in the hands of inexperienced, ignorant and irresponsible breeders. Applying a holistic breeding program is the only way forward for purebred dogs.
In the Wolfhouse breeding programme, we have methodically selected for long-lived dogs by using males which have lived 10 -12 years, through the use of frozen semen, and bitches from families with good longevity. Although statistical calculations applied to smaller numbers, such as the dogs bred at Wolfhouse, may be more volatile, we are seeing results which can’t be ignored. Applying the holistic approach has clearly given a significant increase in mean average lifespan of the dogs we breed. Unfortunately this is not to be taken as a guarantee or a stamp of approval. This method only allows you to breed for a potential for longevity. There are a vast number of environmental factors, which come into play during the course of a lifetime, determining how well and how long that life will be. The holistic breeding approach is much more challenging and intriguing; there are numerous parameters to consider: conformation, function, mental disposition, environmental and last but most importantly potential for longevity. Our focus is to breed Wolfhounds which mature slowly, are fit, healthy and happy even into their veteran ages. (See article on Breeding for Health and Longevity.)
We do not frequently have litters, usually once a year and sometimes less, but when we do it is because we want something for ourselves out of a particular litter. Commercial litters are just not part of the breeding programme at Wolfhouse. It is simply too costly, too much work, and too draining emotionally to breed these dogs solely for the enjoyment of other people.