Dogs of Ireland

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at Wanderpups! If you’ve ever visited the Emerald Isle, you know the Irish culture values and respects their four-legged counterparts. Dogs play a major role in Irish society. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Wanderpups wants to highlight a few of the most popular Irish dog breeds. But first, let's get in the spirit. Did you know that 'madra' is Irish for dog? Say it with me: 'Is breá liom mo madra!' (I love my dog!)


The first madra is the Irish Setter. The most popular setter is the Irish Red Setter, but there is also an Irish Red and White Setter. Setters are anxious to please, easily trainable working dogs, but are also great family dogs, known for their playful, even temper.


Glens were originally used for hunting pests such as rat, fox, badger, and otter. They were also a general-purpose farm dog for herding and family companionship. Unlike many other terriers, they are "strong dogs" rather than "sounders". This means they were bred to work quietly, going silently into dens after their prey rather than barking at it to alert their handlers. For this reason, today they are among the quietest terriers.


The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier also originates from Ireland and is an extremely popular breed here in the US as they are among the ranks of the highly sought after coveted hypoallergenic breeds. The Wheaten was bred to be an all-purpose farm dog whose duties included herding, watching and guarding livestock, and vermin hunting and killing. They were often referred to as the "Poor Man's Wolfhound." Their tails used to be docked to avoid taxes and were often kept to a specific size.


Next is the Irish Terrier. Like most terriers, the Irish Terrier was bred for vermin and pest control. The Irish Terrier is perhaps a bit better-tempered than the average terrier. It is often referenced in Irish literature and folk tales fondly, “the poor man’s sentinel, the farmer’s friend and the gentleman’s favorite.”


Last but certainly not least, The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest breed in the world and was originally bred to hung wolves and deer. Yes, seriously, wolves and deer. It’s breed dates back to 391 AD. In the 1400’s it was Irish law for each county in Ireland to keep at least 24 wolfhounds on staff to protect sheep from wolves. While they are no longer needed for this dangerous work, the breed is a symbol of Irish culture.

There are many more worth mentioning, but alas, it's time for a Guinness. Slàinte! (Cheers!)

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