For such a large country, Ireland has more than their wee bit of dog breeds, So, let’s call out a hoot and a holler to these canine lucky charms.
Hailing from the County Wicklow in Ireland, the Glenn of Imaal Terrier is one of those dogs that’s longer than it is tall, which was perfect for hunting badger, fox or vermin. No wonder it is one determined doggy. And kind of no wonder, this dog might chase down a neighbor’s wandering cat. So be careful. It’s been said that owners of this breed must be more determined that the dog. They do best when owners understand, they are watch dogs, and need lots of exercise. They tend to be very affectionate to family members.
Eclipsed by the popularity of his cousin, the Irish Setter, and the other larger setters (English and Gordon Setters), the Irish Red and White Setter was almost lost to extinction. Fortunately hunters recognized this dog’s abilities and brought him back from the abyss. He is distinguished by a red and white coat. Like all setters, the tendency is for a softer demeanor. The white portion of the coat somehow stays pretty white, as they shed mud or dirt easily. Though a great family dog, they have lots of energy, and it seems they are especially adept at playing with kids, though can can still be used as hunting dogs.
Irish Setters are one of the most regal and easily identifiable dog breeds. Their personality, though, is all about fun. Even their breed description suggests a dog that likes to have a “rolicking good time.” Mentions of the breed date back to the 16th Century, and they’ve forever been painted with royalty – so surprise. Slow to mature, they do require persistent but loving training. It’s the exceptional Irish Setter than still hunts, most are pets today – and wonderful additions to families, who don’t leave this sensitive dog home alone too often.
A wash’n wear breed with a water-proof coat, a smaller dog at around 20 to 30 lbs. The Irish Water Spaniel is a native Irish breed for over 1,000 years. It is believed in Irish folklore to be the descendant of the Dobhar-chú, a breed long gone It is probable that more than one ancient breed of spaniel has gone into its makeup. It is not known from which other breeds Irish Water Spaniels were developed. The acknowledged father of the breed, Justin McCarthy from Dublin, left no breeding records. The Water Spaniel is today most often a family dog, who loves to swim. Some people with allergies can do well with this breed.
From the County Cork – hard to imagine a breed more Irish than the Irish Terrier. Some dogs are known to protect people, but this breed often needs to be protected from themselves. One of the boldest and most animated of the terriers, this fearless breed are often daredevils of the dog world. They may impulsively jump off a cliff, or running into a cave – without thinking about consequences. They can be scrappy with other dogs. They’re natural red-heads with a bearded muzzle, about 24 to 26 lbs. The Irish Terrier dates back to 1885 as recognized by the American Kennel Club.
At up to 31 inches and potentially on its back legs standing 6-feet tall, and tipping the scale at 150 lbs., these are a dog to contend with. At one time, that was just the case as Irish Wolfhounds were ‘war dogs.’ They were very originally bred to hunt wolf or elk. Don’t worry though, it’s been hundreds of years since Wolfhounds were anything except for pets. Today’s well bred and well-socialized Irish Wolfhounds are actually calm, docile family dogs. Hmmm…no surprise, the dogs generally do a wee-bit better with a backyard compared to a studio apartment.
It’s a canine controversy. Most experts agree the Kerry Beagle isn’t all too related to the popular U.S. Beagle, which actually was originally from the UK. One of the oldest Irish hound breeds, the Kerry Beagle is thought to be descendant from the now extinct Old Southern Hound or from other Celtic Hounds, also long gone. The Kerry Beagle has drop ears are similar to a Beagle’s, but that is where some say the comparisons stop. Others insist Beagles from the UK were, in fact, used in the foundation of the breed. No matter, Kerry Beagles are energetic dogs, good hunters, and wonderful family dogs if they receive enough activity to keep them occupied. Beagles, at one time, were the most popular dogs in the U.S.
Kerry Blue Terrier coat as adults is a distinguishing color. A mid-sized terrier at about 33 to 37 lbs. Hailing from the County Kerry, an absolute “Irish Gentleman,” though awfully spunky as the breed is in every way a terrier. This dog was bred to hunt small game and birds, kill rodents, and herd sheep and cattle. Definitely the Kerry Blue is a talented multi-tasker. Intelligent and brave, he became a cherished pet as well, displaying fierce devotion to family. Like the Soft-Coated Wheaten, reportedly some people can with allergies can do better with these guys than other terriers.
While many terriers do well for people with allergies, it seems even more people can tolerate the versatile Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, named for his wheaten coat. Puppies are born with dark red or brown coats. Often these fun dogs retain puppy attitudes, even into their senior years. Some find this trait endearing (certainly families with children), others are annoyed. Often described by owners as “cheerful” or “rowdy.” The make for great babysitters, as they love their family children, but may get into more trouble than the kids.