In honor of St. Patty’s Day (and my birthday!) I thought that it would only be appropriate to pay a tribute to all the breeds that originate from the Emerald Isle! Thanks to the AKC, who already had the information compiled together!
Glen of Imaal Terrier
The Glen of Imaal Terrier, named for the region in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland where it was developed long ago, is a medium sized working terrier. Longer than tall and sporting a double coat of medium length, the Glen possesses great strength and should always convey the impression of maximum substance for size of dog. Unrefined to this day, the breed still possesses “antique” features once common to many early terrier types; its distinctive head with rose or half-prick ears, its bowed forequarters with turned out feet, its unique outline and topline are hallmarks of the breed and essential to the breed type. You can find out more about the breed at here.
One of the most distinctive Sporting breeds, the mahogany red Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic bird dog. Originally bred to be red and white, the solid red color appeared in Ireland the 19th century and became a mark of quality and superior sporting ability. Over two feet tall at the shoulder, the Irish is known for his style, powerful movement and clown-like personality. You can find more about the breed at here.
The Irish Terrier is a family pet, guard dog, and hunter. He is good tempered, spirited and game. It is of the utmost importance that the Irish Terrier show fire and animation. There is a heedless, reckless pluck about the Irish Terrier which is characteristic, and which, coupled with the headlong dash, blind to all consequences, with which he rushes at his adversary, has earned for the breed the proud epithet of “Daredevil.” He is of good temper, most affectionate, and absolutely loyal to mankind. Tender and forebearing with those he loves, this rugged, stout-hearted terrier will guard his master, his mistress and children with utter contempt for danger or hurt. His life is one continuous and eager offering of loyal and faithful companionship and devotion. He is ever on guard, and stands between his home and all that threatens. You can find more about the breed at here.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel presents a picture of a smart, upstanding strongly built sporting dog. Great intelligence is combined with rugged endurance and a bold, dashing eagerness of temperament. Distinguishing characteristics are a topknot of long, loose curls, a body covered with a dense, crisply curled liver colored coat, contrasted by a smooth face and a smooth “rat” tail. You can find more about the breed here.
While Irish literature refers to this ancient breed in many ways, including “Big Dogs of Ireland,” Irish Wolfhounds were documented in Rome in the year 391 A.D., where they were presented to the Roman Counsel as gifts, which “all Rome viewed with wonder.” No wonder– they are the largest and tallest of the galloping hounds. Males should be a minimum of 32″ tall and weigh 120 pounds; females should be a minimum of 30″ tall and weigh 105 pounds. This is a swift breed which hunts by sight, and needs an ample, fenced yard to accommodate its full gallop. As in early times, Irish Wolfhounds possess an extraordinary social temperament, as well as the intelligence to separate friend, family and foe. You can find more about the breed here.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The “Kerry Blue” hails from the Irish county of the same name; he had been purebred in that section of Ireland for more than a hundred years. Known for his superior working and hunting skills, the Kerry Blue is used for hunting small game and birds, and for retrieving from land as well as water. Size doesn’t matter, for he is an unsurpassed watch dog and herder of flock. In some instances in England, he has even been used for police work. You can find more about the breed here.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Known for more than 200 years in Ireland, the “Wheaten” shares common ancestry with the Kerry Blue and the Irish Terrier, but was not owned by the landed gentry. They were the poor man’s dog, an all-purpose farm dog, given to patrolling the borders of small farms, ridding them of vermin, herding sheep and hunting with his master. As its name implies, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is prized for its coat, which is soft, silky, with a gentle wave, and of warm wheaten color. Underneath, however, is a formidable dog that leaves no doubt as to his terrier origins. Square and medium-sized, he is happy, steady, self-confident and alert to his surroundings. The Wheaten is also versatile, competing in obedience, agility and earth dog trials. You can find more about the breed here.
Irish Red & White Setter
The Irish Red & White Setter became an official AKC breed just this past January. This breed is thought to have emerged at the end of the 17th Century in Ireland, and is red and white in color, as opposed to the solid red Irish Setter. The history of the breed is as mysterious as the myths and legends of the country of origin. Its original purpose was as a versatile hunting companion, providing food for the table, both fur and feather. As companions, they are loving, loyal and best suited for a very active family. You can find more about the breed here.
If I could choose an Irish breed to bring home, which would YOU choose?