Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irish Dog Breeds

PetMD Editorial
Updated: October 13, 2020
Published: March 13, 2012
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Kiss Them - They're Irish!

Call it the power of the shamrock, the charm of the leprechaun, or just the luck of the Irish. One thing is for certain: the great people of the Emerald Isle have produced some of the most curious, independent, and enthusiastic dogs in the world. Impress your friends at the pub this St. Patrick's Day with some fun facts for the most popular Irish dog breeds.

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Irish Setter

Its distinctive and eye-catching deep red mahogany coat and full, silky hair makes the Irish Setter a favorite with the well-heeled set. Add in the Irish Setter's unbound enthusiasm, superior hunting skills and happy disposition, few can match this breed as an ideal companion pet.

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Irish Terrier

Speculated to be among the first of terrier breeds, the Irish Terrier is very true to typical terrier traits with its loyalty, adaptability, and spunk. This breed is very well-rounded and makes for an excellent companion.

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Irish Wolfhound

Often recognized as the world's largest dog breed, the Irish Wolfhound is a strong and sturdy giant whose temperament is gentle and noble. The Irish Wolfhound makes an excellent addition to any family that can offer plenty of space to accommodate this breed's size.

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Irish Water Spaniel

Though the Irish Water Spaniel is one of the oldest spaniels today, it is also very rare. Unique in appearance with its curly coat, this breed is a fun-loving and spritely dog that makes an excellent pet.

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The Glen of Imaal

The Glen of Imaal is more of a working terrier than a fashionable show dog. One of its original jobs was to dig into burrows to root out nuisance badgers, its weight and strength matching the badger's, and its powerful tail acting as a handle for being pulled from the hole, if necessary. The Glen of Imaal differs from many types of terriers in that it is not a barker.

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Irish Red and White Setter

Most people are much more familiar with the Irish Red Setter; however, it is believed that the Red and White Setter is actually the older of the two breeds, dating back to the 17th century. Best known for in the field for its athletic build and keen personality, the Irish Red and White Setter is a perfect family dog.

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Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is not only powerful but gentle and affectionate. Most often noted for its warm, wheaten-colored coat, this Irish terrier is also athletic and able to compete in dog trials or shows that require agility. Few could ask for a more wonderful companion for those looking for a curious indoor dog.

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Kerry Blue Terrier

Originally bred as a farm dog in the mountainous regions of Ireland, the

Kerry Blue Terrier is a stunning show dog and a giddy house pet. If you want an active dog that will be begging you to run, explore, and play with it, then this athletic fur ball with a blue-gray coat should be your pet of choice.

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Kerry Beagle

Not your average beagle, the Kerry Beagle is better qualified as a hound. It is also thought to be one of the oldest of all the Irish dog breeds, originally introduced to Ireland by the Celts. Although they are best know as a hunting dog, the Kerry Beagle is known as a friendly dog, ideal for families.

Image: Jan van Bemmel / Flickr

Are There Any More?

Have any other Irish dog breeds to add to the list? Add them in the comments below and we'll make sure to give them a second look. Until then, have a merry St. Patty's Day!

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