Because they’re not all good dogs, Brent.
Obviously, not everyone wants the same thing from dogs, but that’s not necessarily the same as saying that any dog is as good as the next, or even that any dog rating system must be subjective. If we’re going to entertain the idea that some dogs are simply better than other dogs, though, then we have to specify how that is.
What we’re looking for is a dog with a certain amount of wolfishness, a dog which is as close to being a wolf as one can get without sacrificing any of those essential characteristics which define a dog as such. Basically, a dog which a politically progressive, forward-thinking wolf would not be ashamed to know. They must be loyal, intelligent, and hardworking, they must have a sense of dignity, they must like humans, and above all they must be healthy. A dog which is perfect in every other way, but is unhealthy, is a bad dog, because it would not be good to be that dog.
Unfortunately, I’m incapable of doing anything without taking it at least a little bit seriously, so ratings will be on a three-star scale, from ★ (Mediocre) to ★★★ (Good). It is also possible that some dogs will not get any stars at all. Those are bad dogs, Bront.
I do not know which dog breed will turn out to be the dog breed, the dog of the gods, but I do have my suspicions (some breed of spitz-type, probably), and it’s important to note that this has nothing to do with how much I personally like a dog. Some of my favorite dogs will get no more than two stars, and some may even get just one star. This isn’t “Dogs which are the best at sitting in my lap and being petted,” or “Most Instagrammable dogs.”
The Irish Wolfhound
Like other sighthounds, Irish wolfhounds are thin, wiry, and not a little bit tall. Indeed, wolfhounds are the tallest of the Tall Dogs. In personality, I have no complaints: they are intelligent, respond well to training, and get along with people so well that they often make terrible guard dogs. They are very unlikely to eat a small child, and that is a definite improvement over the Original Wolf™.
Unfortunately, wolfhounds look unkempt and scraggly, like they just got out of a week-long bender. This is not a dog which cares about maintaining a professional appearance. They mostly die of bone cancer, which is less the fault of bad genes than of size (other large dogs are also prone to bone cancer), but they also have a predisposition to heart problems which does seem genetic in nature.
Irish wolfhounds are perfectly adequate dogs, but they need to dress for the job they want, not the job they have, and their numerous genetic bottlenecks (with subsequent inbreeding) are also a cause for concern.
Rating: ★★ (Fine)