March is here once again, and of course in March comes St. Patrick’s day, the day that people all over the world celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. With this in mind, we’ve selected five of the best Irish breeds of dog that you might not even have known were Irish, or may be considering buying!
The Irish wolfhound is a very large dog from the sighthound group, meaning that they hunt for prey by means of their acute vision and high speed rather than scenting ability. They were originally developed as a guard dog, due to their imposing size, and are the tallest of all dog breeds as well as the largest from the sighthound group!
The Irish wolfhound should be at least 32” tall at the withers for males and over 30” for females, and dogs of the breed weigh over 120lb for males/105lb for females. They are entertaining, comical dogs that always like to join in with family life, and are constantly on the lookout for things to do and play with! This can lead to them having a slight tendency to being destructive if left alone for too long, but the Irish wolfhound is also a very friendly, personable dog that is good with people of all ages.
The Irish water spaniel is the largest of all of the spaniel dog breeds, as well as being the one with the longest known history in its current form. They are most distinctive due to their coats, which are unlike the usual spaniel coat, instead consisting of very dense, tightly curled fur that is very low shedding. They are liver in colour with an almost purple hue to it, a shade that is not seen within any other breed of dog. The tail and face of the dog are smooth and are not covered with curled hair, which makes the Irish water spaniel distinct from the poodle, which otherwise has a similar coat style.
They can stand up to 24” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 65lb, and as you might expect given the name of the breed, love swimming and are keen to play in water!
The Glen of Imaal terrier is also sometimes known as the Wicklow terrier, originating as they do from the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow. A typical terrier breed, the Glen of Imaal terrier was originally used to hunt and eradicate vermin such as rats and rabbits, and retains the typical terrier traits of a keen prey drive and propensity to seek out potential prey!
The breed can stand up to 14” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 35lb, with males tending to be larger than females. Feisty, fun loving and very lively little dogs, the Glen of Imaal terrier loves their home comforts, but also thrives on having plenty to do and ideally, a working role to fulfil.
The Irish terrier is another well established Irish breed with known pedigree registration going back to the 1800’s, and they are a lively and fit yet compactly built breed that are equally happy living in rural areas in working roles, or within a suburban domestic home.
The breed weighs between 25-30lb, and can stand up to 20” tall at the withers, and should have a “racy” appearance that is lean and workmanlike.
The Irish terrier is an active, lively and intelligent dog breed that needs plenty of exercise and entertainment, and that thrives on having a job to do. They are responsive to interesting, varied training, and can often be seen competing in canine sports such as agility and obedience, and so are a good choice for people who live an active lifestyle and are keen to get involved in various different activities with their dog.
The Irish setter, also known as the red setter, is a distinctive and handsome dog with a long, silky coat that is chestnut or a deep, vibrant red in colour. A working gun dog breed, the Irish setter is also popular as a pet, and loves to play and retrieve, either within a working role or as part of interactive play. They stand up to 27” tall at the withers and can weigh up to 70lb, making them a medium to large breed that is tall and rangy, and built to run around.
Personable, outgoing and very loving, the Irish setter is renowned for their tolerance of children and generally kind natures, which make them a good pick for families. The Irish setter needs plenty of exercise and entertainment in order to thrive, or they will soon become bored, and potentially destructive or unruly within the home. They like to be outdoors, and very much enjoy long walks and plenty of playtime.