8 Irish Dog Breeds Ready to Celebrate St. Patty's Day!
A best friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have. Fortunately, four-legged friends aren’t as tough to come by as four-leaf clovers.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are currently 197 registered dog breeds hailing from all over the world.
In the spirit of ole St. Patty’s Day, we thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at these eight dog breeds native to Ireland.
Irish Red and White Setter
(Photo courtesy of AKC.org)
Although it took until 2009 for the AKC to recognize this breed, the Irish Red and White Setter has actually been around since the 17th century.
Like all Setters, these handsome fellas are known as prized gundogs. But for their red and white coat, they have nearly the identical temperament as the Irish Setter, and the Gordon and English Setters.
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Sometimes called the Wicklow Terrier, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is originally from a valley in, you guessed it, the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland.
This little cutie pie was first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934, then the AKC in 2004, and most recently by the Canadian Kennel Club in 2017.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a very special connection to St. Patrick’s Day, making their debut appearance in the show ring at the Irish Kennel Club Championship on March 17, 1937.
Known as “the poor man’s Wolfhound, the friendly, loveable “Wheatie” shares common ancestry with the Kerry Blue and Irish Terriers.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Also known as the Irish Blue Terrier, Kerry Blue Terriers make excellent farm dogs because they were originally bred to control vermin.
They’ve also been used to herd cattle and sheep, and they make great watchdogs. Thanks to their eagerness to please and obey commands, these terriers are sometimes used in police work as well.
Yep, that’s a big dog! So big, in fact, that the Irish Wolfhound has inspired poetry, literature and even mythology.
Back in the day, Wolfhounds were used as hunting dogs by the Gaels.
Today, these gentle giants are calm, agreeable canine companions.
The Irish Terrier has a modern-day claim to fame. He’s the Notre Dame mascot!
He’s also one of the oldest terrier breeds. The Irish Terrier was the fourth most popular breed in Ireland and Britain by the late 1800s, which is when he was first recognized by the AKC. Full of energy but not hyperactive, Irish Terriers make fantastic agility dogs!
Irish Water Spaniel
Also known as the Whiptail Spaniel, Rat Tail Spaniel or Shannon Spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel resembles the Poodle with his somewhat hypoallergenic curly coat.
This sturdy pup is great with kids and other dogs, but he’s not all that fond of strangers. He’s also a natural water dog, full of energy and always ready for a game of fetch!
Similar to the Irish Red and White Setter, the Irish Setter was originally known as a gundog.
They’re also known as friendly, loving family dogs. While the Irish Setter gets along well with small children and other dogs, he is a hunter by nature, and may not do well with pet birds, rodents or even cats.