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Irish Dog Breeds

March 15, 2021

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up quick! It’s always fun to celebrate Irish culture and heritage, and perhaps indulge oneself in a Shamrock shake or some corned beef. Of course, our canine companions also love celebrating the various holidays with us. As it turns out, quite a few of Man’s Best Buddies are of Irish descent. A vet lists some Irish dog breeds below.

Irish Dog Breeds

The AKC officially recognizes eight distinct dog breeds that are native to Ireland. These include the Irish Setter, an active, loyal field pooch; the Irish Water Spaniel, a liver-colored canine that absolutely loves swimming; and the Irish Terrier. The Irish Terrier’s loyalty and bravery led to them being used as messengers in World War I. Next up, we have the Kerry Blue Terrier, a wonderful farm dog and guardian; and the stoic Irish Wolfhound, a pup that was so impressive that they were given to Roman Consulate members as gifts way back in 391 A.D. Finally, we have the adorable Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, a big, goofy cotton ball that loves life and tends to live for belly rubs; and the small but charming Glen of Imaal Terrier, a high-spirited hunting dog that makes a wonderful companion. One thing many of these dogs have in common? Long fur! Some of these pups are curly, while others have waves or even straight locks.

Irish Dog Legends

Ireland, as you may know, definitely has its share of fascinating myths and legends. Dogs pop up quite frequently in some of these tales. Some of the more famous legendary pooches include Bran and Sceolan, the warrior poet Fionn mac Cumhaill’s dogs; Prince Llewellyn’s hound, Gelert, whose loyalty made him the hero of a rather sad fable; and the Cŵn Annwn or Hounds of Annwn, a pack of supernatural dogs.

Celebrating With Fido

Is your four-legged buddy an Irish dog? Get into the spirit of the holiday, and give Fido something special. Corned beef is really too salty for pets, but some regular beef isn’t inappropriate, given that it’s a special occasion. A Shamrock shake also isn’t good for dogs, but you can make your pup something with a little mint in it. Look online for recipe ideas. Of course, you can always just snap some photos of your furry best friend with something green and festive. No matter how you celebrate, don’t give your pup any alcohol.

Our Advice on Irish Dog Breeds in 2024

What are some characteristics of the Irish Setter?

The Irish Setter is known for its striking red coat, energetic and playful nature, and exceptional loyalty. As an active field dog, it possesses remarkable agility and endurance, making it an excellent companion for outdoor activities. Irish Setters are intelligent and trainable but have a playful, sometimes naughty, streak. They thrive on human interaction and are well-suited to families, showing a friendly and affectionate demeanor. Their long, silky fur requires regular grooming to maintain its condition. Overall, the Irish Setter is a charismatic and loving breed that enjoys being integral to family life.

Why is the Irish Water Spaniel particularly suited to water activities?

The Irish Water Spaniel is uniquely adapted to water activities due to its distinctive physical and behavioral traits. This breed boasts a water-repellent, curly coat that provides insulation and buoyancy in water. Its webbed feet enable efficient swimming, making it an exceptional water retriever. The breed’s robust and muscular build contributes to its stamina and agility in aquatic environments. Energetic and intelligent, the Irish Water Spaniel has a natural affinity for water and excels in retrieving tasks, making it an ideal companion for waterfowl hunting and water sports.

What role did the Kerry Blue Terrier traditionally fulfill on farms?

The Kerry Blue Terrier traditionally served as a versatile farm dog in its native Ireland. This breed was tasked with various roles, including herding livestock, guarding the farm, and controlling vermin. Intelligence, courage, and agility made it particularly effective in these duties. Kerry Blue’s strong work ethic and protective nature made it a valued farmer asset. Additionally, its friendly and loyal temperament made it a beloved companion beyond its working responsibilities, embodying the qualities of both a working dog and a family pet.

What makes the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier a beloved pet?

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is beloved for its friendly and affectionate nature, making it an excellent family pet. Known for its soft, silky wheat-colored coat, this breed is hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for those with allergies. Wheaten Terriers are energetic and playful, yet gentle, fitting well into various household settings. Their intelligence and eagerness to please facilitate training, although they can have a stubborn streak. Their adaptable and friendly demeanor, distinctive appearance, and loyalty endear them to many and encapsulate the essence of a companionable pet.

What foods should be avoided when treating a dog during celebrations?

When treating a dog during celebrations, it’s essential to avoid foods that are toxic to them. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocado, and alcohol should never be given to dogs, as they can cause serious health issues. Foods high in salt, like ham or corned beef, and those with artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol, should also be avoided due to their harmful effects. Additionally, fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis, while bones can cause choking or digestive blockages. Always opt for dog-safe treats to ensure a happy and healthy celebration.

Do you have questions about your pup’s health or care? Contact us, your veterinary clinic in West Greenwich, RI, today.

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