The Dogs of Ireland

Happy St. Patrick ’s Day from WonderWoof! In honor of St. Patrick ’s Day we want to showcase our native Irish dogs! All of these breeds are native to Ireland.

Irish setter


This breed is known for its striking red coat. They are extremely active and delightfully sweet! The Irish setter was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878. They can weigh up to 70 pounds. The American Kennel Club states that, “The solid-red Setter first appeared in Ireland in the 19th century, and in 1812, the Earl of Enniskillen declared he would have nothing else in his kennel.” That is quite a compliment, and it illustrates the breed’s popularity among sportsman.

Glen of Imaal Terrier 


One word comes to mind when we take a look at this breed, scrappy! They’re small in stature, but great in personality. The Glen of Imaal Terrier was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004. These wiry terriers were originally bred to keep foxes and rodents away from the farm house. They are named after a valley in the Wicklow mountains. The Glen’s came over to America in the 1930s, but didn’t gain popularity for another 50 years.

Irish red and white setter 


The Irish Red and White Setter was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009. They are sporting dogs. They will hunt birds with their owners, and their distinctive red and white coat makes it easier for the hunter to spot their dog far away. The Irish Red and White Setter and the Irish setter were included on Ireland’s stamps in the early 1900s. These friendly dogs are high energy, so make sure they get plenty of exercise!


 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier


If you are looking for a dog that will never grow out of the puppy phase, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is for you. These dogs were originally bred to be a part of the family and be on the farm. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973. They will grow to be about 40 pounds at most. There is not a written record of this breed’s origin. Their happy and affectionate personalities make them the AKC’s most popular Irish breed.

Irish terrier 


The Irish Terrier is extremely loyal to its family, affectionate, and daring. They will guard their home and family from any threat. This breed’s daring courage made them instrumental in World War I where they were used as messengers and sentinels. They only weigh up to 27 pounds, and they are the only all red terrier. The Irish Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. No question about it, the Irish Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds.

Irish Water Spaniel


 Look at that curly coat! Their coats are naturally water repellant. The Irish Water Spaniel is the tallest of the Spaniel breeds. They stand as high as 24 inches at their shoulder and weigh at most 65 pounds. They are fun-loving and excited about life. The Irish Water Spaniel was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1884. The Irish Water Spaniel has been around for a long time. The AKC states that, “The Irish Water Spaniel is a dog of very ancient lineage, and there is evidence of Irish Water Spaniel-type remains going back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries AD.” That is old!

Irish Wolfhound 


The Irish Wolfhound or “The Big Dog of Ireland” was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1897. Big doesn’t begin to describe the size of this breed! They can stand 32-34 inches at their shoulder and weigh up to 120 pounds! They were originally bred for hunting. The Irish Wolfhound is a gentle giant. The American Kennel Club states that, “Despite his intimidating size, the nature and temperament of the wolfhound make him totally unsuitable as a guard dog, watch dog, or patrol dog. Though alert he is not suspicious; though courageous he is not aggressive.” I think their size alone would stop an intruder. There are records of the Irish Wolfhound from as early as 391AD. The American Kennel Club writes that, “The first mention of it was written by the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, who had received seven of them as a gift which ‘All of Rome viewed with wonder’.” If you love big dogs with even bigger hearts, this breed is for you!


 Kerry Beagle 


This breed is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club. Despite its name, the Kerry Beagle is not related to the Beagle. The Irish Kennel Club has this to say about the name, “The name Beagle curiously enough is thought to be derived from the Irish word “beag” (meaning small) and certainly the Beagle is a small hound used to hunt small game like hares, whereas the Kerry Beagle was often used to hunt stag. The present day word for the Beagle in Irish is “Pocadan” which refers to its use as a hunting dog rather than its size.” The Kerry Beagle is thought to be descended from the old souther hound dating back to the 16th century. There is a similarity between this breed and the coonhound, and it is thought that they played a role in the development of the coonhound.


Kerry Blue Terrier


This breed is named for their place or origin, County Kerry, and their coats gray-blue coloring; however, they are not born with this color. At birth their coats are black and by 18 months their coats will fade to the gray-blue coloring. They were originally bred as hunting and retrieving dogs. They are very protective of their Family. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1922.  ACK states that, “The first Kerry Blues in North America were 5 pets imported in 1918-19.” The breed has been in America for almost 100 years.