Mar 05 2015

Kiss Us, We're Irish

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It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day – the day when we all want to be a little bit Irish! Despite being pretty tiny – about the size of the State of Indiana – the Emerald Isle has made a big contribution to the world of dogs worldwide. At least 8 native dog breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) originated in Ireland!

Check out these 8 Irish breeds in order of popularity based on number of registrations with the AKC:


1. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

  • Recognized in: 1973
  • Rank: 49

These lifelong puppies were bred for vermin control and herding.

2. Irish Wolfhound

  • Recognized in: 1897
  • Rank: 72

The world’s tallest dog, Irish Wolfhounds are pretty unmistakable. Each year, one strolls down New York City’s Fifth Avenue as Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

3. Irish Setter

  • Recognized in: 1878
  • Rank: 73

These enthusiastic dogs are famous for their striking red color.

4. Irish Terrier

  • Recognized in: 1885
  • Rank: 125

Rexxx, from the 2007 film “Firehouse Dog” was an Irish Terrier (played by 4 different actors).

5. Kerry Blue Terrier

  • Recognized in: 1922
  • Rank: 128

The Kerry Blue was the first dog registered to Irish Kennel Club. The fiery and fun terrier was bred as an all-purpose farm dog, watchdog, herding dog, hunting dog, water retriever, and of course, vermin hunter.

6. Irish Water Spaniel

  • Recognized in: 1884
  • Rank: 152

These playful dogs have a great sense of humor, but are probably best known for their water-repellant double coat of crisp ringlets.

7. Irish Red and White Setter

  • Recognized in: 2009
  • Rank: 155

While they were first recognized by the AKC in 2009, 131 years after the Irish Setter, these dogs are the older of the two.

8. Glen of Imaal Terrier

  • Recognized in: 2009
  • Rank: 162

These gentle but spirited terriers were originally bred to keep vermin out of the home, and to hunt badgers, foxes.

Whether farmers, herders or hunters, all of these Irish breeds were bred for hard work – and their work ethic, energy, and enthusiasm make them great pets for active families!

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