BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 23

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 23


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 23
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 23



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

A gentle giant and a pint-sized bully

Though a giant – more horse than dog some say – the Irish Wolfhound, towering over his canine brethren, makes a surprisingly good pet. Hard as it may be to imagine how a hound bread for wolf hunting, with muscular limbs, a swift turn of pace, the eyesight of an eagle, the stature of a thoroughbred, primed for, and indeed employed in, battle many times for war hungry Celtic lords of yore, could possible cut the mustard as a domestic pet, trust me; looks can be deceiving. In fact, despite his size and reputation, the wolfhound is becoming an increasingly popular pet choice for many families up and down the country.

Why? Well, there is a number of very good reasons. Firstly, the wolfhound is of above-average intelligence, and, therefore, responds very well to obedience training (providing the training is done from any age, otherwise the animal’s strong prey drive may hinder development in this area). Secondly, he is very good natured; despite the hound’s reputation as a fierce, battle-hardened animal, he, is in fact, very calm and even-tempered. Thirdly the Irish, Wolfhound is a very social animal and does well with young children. He views himself as a member of the family and so will be fiercely protective of all his ‘siblings’ and will not intentionally let any of them get in harm’s way, through his considerable frame and slight clumsiness can led to collisions if the little members of the household don’t watch where they are going.

Though the Irish wolfhound makes an adequate guard dog, he is, surprisingly perhaps, not terribly strong in this department. The hound tends to be aloof with strangers rather than aggressive towards the, and he may not, at least initially, bark at intruders, therefore scoring low in the watchdog department as well by failing to sound the alarm or alert the other members of the household to danger in good time. If he is provoked, however, or if a member of his ‘pack’ is threatened, his primeval instincts kick in. when that happens, intruders better look out!

He is a very needy pet and a large enclosed backyard is a must have for any perspective owner because, though he is easily house trained, it is simply not fair to keep a dog of his size cooped up inside all day. His appetite is huge and this is one of the practicalities to consider before buying a wolfhound- can you afford him? His large appetite also means that regular exercise is essential in order for him to remain healthy and at a reasonably good weight. Five-minutes’ walk to the corner shop will not do; this animal needs proper exercise and should be taken out for between one and two hours each day. Another practicality, and also a factor that influences cost (the cost of clean-up), is his tendency to shed. Irish wolfhound shed a lot of fur and dog hair will likely be deposited all over the house in vast quantities. If all this is bearable and if you still want a cuddly, affectionate giant anyway, then go for it! The Irish Wolfhound will provide you with many years of loyalty and friendship.

The truth, though, is that not everyone has the space to accommodate such a beast. And, indeed, others would struggle to find the time to devote to this needy creature. The alternative perhaps, is the comparably tiny little West Highland White Terrier. The Highland and the Wolfhound have one very important thing in common; they are both fantastic with kids. It is here, though, that the similarity ends. The Highland sheds virtually no hair at all so; you won’t be cleaning up after him all the time. He also loves to make noise, making him the perfect watchdog and quick to alert you when anything suspicious occurs. His size limits his ability to respond meaningfully to any real threat discovered though. Compare to the Wolfhound, he is a little more of a challenge in the training department, and must be monitored carefully and shown his place in the ‘pack’ otherwise his aggressive steak may come out and he will try to take over.

In almost every way possible, the Highland and the Wolfhound are different characters. The Highland could never be described as placid, and, in fact, is extremely excitable and very energetic. This little fellow suffers from a size complex of sorts, too, which sees him determined to boss those around him and have his way, despite his modest profile, he is not that interested in ‘cuddles ‘either, so don’t let his size fool you into suggesting otherwise- this is no toy dog. And he is, in general, not the most affectionate of dogs, being far happier digging up your garden or barking at the neighbor’s cat than lying in the arms of his owner. So, while the Wolfhound is a gentle giant, the West Highland is, well, a little terrier in every sense of the world.

But while their characters may differ, their fondness for exercise does not. The Highland is an intelligent breed and needs stimulation; regular walks are essential. He also has a penchant for water and loves to go swimming. And while he is with older kids, toddlers should not be left alone around the Highland as their size, couples with their noisiness and hyperactivity, may prompt and aggressive response from the dog.

Though both breeds have their strengths and weaknesses as pets, overall either would make an excellent addition to the family. The West Highland will be content enough indoors, provided he gets regular exercise, but the Wolfhound must have an outdoor play area. And that is on point I must emphasize; don’t buy a wolfhound unless you have plenty of room.

Questions 1-10

Complete the table below.

Choose 10 answers from the box and write the correct letter, A-L, next to questions 1-10.

 Irish WolfhoundWest Highland White Terrier
Temperament and considerations when Training:  1……………………………. 2……………………………. 3…………………………….6……………………………… 7……………………………… 8………………………………
Behavior around Children:  4……………………………. 5…………………………….9……………………………. 10…………………………….
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 23

(a) not every tolerant of or interested in gestures of affection from children (or any member of the family)

(b) generally well behaved around children, but inclined to react badly to very young children who are loud and energetic

(c) reacts well to training once training has commenced at any early stage in life

(d) strong sense of pack loyalty makes it want to look after and care young family members

(e) restless and can make itself a bit of a nuisance around the house and in the garden

(f) reasonably good with children of all ages, though its natural awkwardness can mean it poses a slight danger to young o2nes

(g) must be taught it place in the hierarchy otherwise may try to dominate

(h) a typically sedate and unexcitable temperament

( i) Requires more training and supervision

(j) success of late-start training may be hindered by the animal’s strong hunting instincts

(k)better with younger children to whom its size poses less of a threat

(l) training from a young age is essential otherwise it will lack confidence

Questions 11-13

Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-E, below.

Write the correct letter, A-E

11. the Irish Wolfhound, despite its size and reputation,……………………..

12. the West Highland White Terrier is quick to respond to intruders and alert the other members of the household,……………………..

13. granted the Irish Wolfhound has the ideal temperament to become a loyal member of the family,…………………………

A. Actually, makes a pretty ineffectual watchdog, being slow to react intruders or to perceive them as threat.

B. But it is important to consider the costs of feeding and cleaning up after it, as well as the space requirements for keeping one, before making the decision to purchase

C. But it should never be left unsupervised around children of any age since it has an excitable temperament and can be aggressive towards them.

D. Is actually a fierce guard dog, altering family members at the slightest hint that something is wrong.

E. Though it is largely ineffectual when it comes to neutralizing any threats that have been identified.


1. c

2. h

3. j

4. d

5. f

6. e

7. g

8. i

9. a

10. b

11. A

12. E

13. B

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