Nine Native Irish Dog Breeds
In honor of St Patrick’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of the only native breeds to Ireland. Although there are many breeds that may attribute their origins to Ireland, there are only nine official breeds that are recognised by the Irish Kennel Club.
The Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is not only the tallest dog breed but are also amazing athletes. They can run fast for long periods of time and were originally bred to hunt wolves. They have a calm yet courageous temperament and are very friendly.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Known as the national terrier of Ireland, the Kerry Blue Terrier was originally bred to control vermin such as rats, rabbits, badgers and foxes. However overtime they also became working dogs, herding cattle and sheep. The Kerry Blue are highly spirited and affectionate towards their owners and children but are aggressive towards other animals and should be kept away.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest and one of the oldest breed of spaniels and is extremely rare. Recognisable by its curly fur, this spaniel was originally used for duck hunting before the Labrador Retrievers became more popular with hunters. They are now a popular family companion due to its gentle temperament.
The Irish Setter
Originally bred as a hunting dog, the Irish Setter has become a popular show dog due to its silky deep red mahogany coat. They also make a great family companion with their enthusiastic and fun loving nature.
Irish Red and White Setter
The Irish Red and White Setter is classified as a gundog and bred to hunt game birds. With a temperament identical to the Irish Setter, the Red and White Setter barely escaped extinction when breeders focused on its all red counterparts.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
This medium sized dog is not only powerful and athletic but also friendly and affectionate. They are most recognisable by their soft silky coat however they require a lot of grooming.
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Although the Glen of Imaal may be confused as a fashionable show dog, it in fact has still classified as a working dog. They are commonly used for vermin control as their small statures and strength allow them to burrow and ward off pests. Unlike most terriers, the Glen of Imaal do not bark, which make them great family pets.
Although people often mistake the Kerry Beagle to be a relative to the Beagle as the name suggests, they actually are not related at all. Originally bred as a hunting dog, they are require a lot of exercise, as much as walks 2-3 times a day with free runs. They made great pets and get along with small children and other animals.
The Irish Terrier
As one of the oldest terriers, the Irish Terrier has very versatile abilities from family companion to vermin catcher to watchdog. True to a terrier, they have a loyal, adaptable and fearless personality. They are extremely intelligent and great around children so make wonderful family pets.
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