In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and everything Irish, this Dog Day Sunday we’ve decided to celebrate some absolutely beautiful dog breeds from Ireland.
There are nine dog breeds native to the Emerald Isle, and many of these breeds have long been integrated into homes in the UK, US, and beyond. Check out five of these incredible breeds below:
The Irish Terrier is one of the oldest breeds of Terrier in existence.
These beautifully red Terriers were bred to be effective vermin killers, which naturally made them a popular choice for farm owners in need of a working dog. But for families off the farm, it was the breed’s sweet and playful nature that made them popular as a loving companion.
Irish Terriers have a sweet temperament and are perfect for families with children, but households with multiple pets should think twice before considering this breed. Irish Terriers are generally very aggressive and confrontational towards other dogs, and their natural instinct to hunt small animals could be problematic for households with small pets (especially gerbils, hamsters, and mice). This breed will typically have no problem with cats when raised from puppy-hood in a feline friendly environment.
Don’t let the name and those adorable floppy ears fool you – the Kerry Beagle isn’t related to the standard Beagle at all!
This breed is actually closely related to the American Coonhound, and like the Coonhound is bred first and foremost for hunting. The Kerry Beagle has an extraordinary sense of smell and was originally bred as a Staghound, but today they are commonly used for hunting fox and hare.
The Kerry Beagle is an excellent family pet with a lot of love to give. These dogs tend to get along well with children and other dogs, but because of the Kerry Beagle’s hunting instincts, pet owners are advised to use caution when introducing smaller pets to this breed.
Irish setters were originally bred as gun dogs (a dog trained to retrieve game for a hunter), but these days they are extremely popular as household pets and show dogs. This breed comes in two equally gorgeous varieties: red and red & white.
This breed is friendly and loving, but some may find their high excitement level to be overwhelming. They need plenty of exercise, space and attention to calm them down, so this breed will not do well with apartment living. Irish Setters bond quickly with their human and are extremely prone to separation anxiety.
Towering at up to 7′ tall on its hinds, the Irish Wolfhound has the distinction of being the tallest dog breed in the world.
The Irish Wolfhound was originally bred to hunt down wolves and the equally gigantic Irish elk. Due to over hunting, those animals have disappeared from Ireland, and as a result the Irish Wolfhound almost went extinct.
One may expect that an animal bred to take on wolves would aggressive, but in reality, the Irish Wolfhound would make a lousy guard dog. This breed is great with children, great with other animals, and is easy to train.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is an ancient breed, with evidence of Irish Water Spaniel-type remains dated back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries AD. If Irish folklore is to be believed, the Irish Water Spaniel may be the descendant of the Dobhar-chú (which translates to Water Hound), which is said to resemble an otter and a dog. This breed is the tallest of the spaniels, and their coat, while curly, is low maintenance and hypoallergenic.
Irish Water Spaniels are sweet tempered, energetic, and prone to spontaneous shenanigans (in a good way). They are easy to train and are wonderful with children and other pets. When trained properly, this breed can be an incredible guard dog.
You can learn more about the other 4 Irish dog breeds here!
Which Irish pooch was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!