While our customer’s pets are probably some of the luckiest ones in town – it is St. Patrick’s Day! This time of year calls for a special shout-out to some dogs who might be a wee bit luckier, due to their Irish history.
Cheers to these 8 breeds, all native to Ireland! From terriers, hounds, spaniels and setters – these dogs have been called some of the most independent, hard-working and loyal animals that are now found all over the world!
Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier – originally used for hunting down rats, foxes, badgers, and otters as well as a general farm and family dog. The breed was first recognized by the Irish Kennel Club in 1934 and only recently by the American Kennel Club in 2004.
Irish Red and White Setter – originally bred to hunt gamebirds, they are natural working dogs. This Irish breed actually came close to extinction, but dedicated breeders revived public interest and their population is growing again.
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – properly named, this dog’s hair is soft and oh-so-silky! They’re friendly, playful, and extremely smart animals. While their hair may be great for owners with pet allergies, they themselves are often plagued with skin issues and need special skin or supplemental care.
Irish Terrier – known for being a great companion and watchdog, this terrier can also be stubborn and should be socialized at a very early age. The breed was first recognized in 1875 and became extremely popular throughout Europe. They served an important role in WWI as messenger dogs and sentinels and were recognized for their loyalty and bravery.
Irish Water Spaniel – widely accepted as one of the oldest spaniels, there’s evidence that this native Irish breed has been around for over 1000 years. It has a unique dark liver or puce colored coat and a startling smooth tail – both of which separate it from its spaniel cousins.
Irish Wolfhound – this very old breed have some claiming its direct ancestor was around back in 7000 BC as a war dog and wolf hunter! The modern version takes form as a huge animal which can sometimes reach 7 feet tall (when on its hind legs), but like many other large dogs it has a short lifespan of about 7 years.
Kerry Beagle – this is another very old Irish breed of hunting hounds that has successfully made its way to America. Irish folklore has it that when Noah’s Ark came to rest in Ireland, two of these black and tan hounds caught whiff of a fox and leapt off in pursuit and have been hunting down foxes and rabbits ever since!
Kerry Blue – these strong-willed, playful and loyal animals can be very protective when it comes to family, but sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. They were originally bred to hunt down rats and other vermin but have also been used to herd cattle and sheep. They come in various shades of “blue” which make them very lucky in our book!
We hope you learned something today – mainly that the Irish like to hunt and that their dogs are enduring and loyal! Special thanks to Irish Kennel Club and Irish Central for much of this information as well as each breed’s Wikipedia page.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!