9 Irish Dog Breeds: Dogs Native to Ireland (With Pictures)
What could be better than being surrounded by the beautiful rolling green hills of Ireland and listening to traditional Irish music with a Guinness in your hand? Getting to know the Irish dog breeds is a close second unless you’re reading it with a Guinness in your hand.
Here are 9 dog breeds that originated in Ireland for your viewing pleasure:
Top 9 Irish Dog Breeds:
1. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is the most popular Irish dog as it ranks as the 53rd most popular dog at the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is a member of the Terrier Group. They were bred to be all-around farm dogs that took care of rats (like most terriers) as well as guarding and herding livestock.
The Wheaton is medium in size with floppy, triangular ears, a beard, and a silky soft coat that is wheaten in color (golden beige). This adorable Irish dog breed consists of happy, exuberant, and very loyal dogs that are intelligent and can have a streak of stubbornness.
2. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is the 76th most popular dog on the AKC list and belongs to the Hound Group. The Wolfhound is an ancient breed that was used for hunting wolves in the 15th century but with the unfortunate consequence of hunting Irish wolves to extinction.
The Irish Wolfhound is a very large breed with a double coat that sports a wiry outer coat. They come in varying shades of gray but can also be white, red, brindle, fawn, and black. They are loving, calm, and courageous dogs that are gentle with children, but their high prey drive will cause them to chase smaller animals.
3. Irish Setter
The Irish Setter is 77 on AKC’s popularity list and is a part of the Sporting Group. They worked as a hunting dog by flushing out birds for the hunter, and they have been around since the 1800s.
The Irish Setter is a large dog famous for its long ears and long, flowing coat of red fur (it also comes in chestnut and mahogany). They are fantastic family pets that make wonderful playmates for children and are happy, affectionate, and loving dogs.
4. Irish Terrier
The Irish Terrier stands at 116 on the AKC popularity ranking and is a member of the Terrier Group. They have been around since the 1870s working as farm dogs and were excellent ratters, guardians, hunting companions, and watchdogs.
The Irish Terrier is a medium-sized dog that sports a beard and a double coat with a short, wiry outercoat that is red or wheaten in color. They are sweet and loving dogs in the home, and feisty, courageous dogs while at work.
5. Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is number 129 out of 196 dogs on the AKC popular breed list and is in the Terrier Group. They are named after the beautiful County Kerry where they originated and were bred in the 1800s as versatile farm dogs.
The Kerry is a medium-sized terrier that also has a beard and has a dense but soft curly coat. They come in a variety of blue shades (everything from a slate blue to a silver-blue), and they do not shed. They are smart and
6. Irish Red and White Setter
The Irish Red and White Setter is the 146th most popular dog in the AKC and is a member of the Sporting Group. They have been around longer than their Irish Setter cousin and have been used since the 1600s as hunting dogs.
Red and Whites are medium to large in size and are slightly smaller and stockier than the Irish Setter. They have long flowing coats that are white with large red patches. Red and White Setters are lively, friendly, and playful dogs that are both tenacious working dogs as well as loving family pets.
7. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is the 159th most popular breed at the AKC and is also a member of the Sporting Group. They have been around since the 1830s and were bred to be retrievers that could withstand the cold water of the North Sea. The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest spaniel registered at the AKC.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a medium to large-sized dog with liver-colored tight curls all over with the exception of its slim tail and its face. They are courageous and hardworking dogs in the field and are smart, eager to please, and playful when with their family at home.
8. Glen of Imaal Terrier
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is the last Irish breed registered at the AKC and is the 174th most popular dog and a member of the Terrier Group. The Glen of Imaal is found in the County Wicklow, where the Glens were bred to be hardworking farm dogs.
Glens are medium in size and sport double coats of medium length, rough fur that is wheaten and blue brindle in color. They are spirited but calmer and gentler than most other terriers and are also brave and quiet.
9. Kerry Beagle
The Kerry Beagle is not registered at the AKC but is registered through the Irish Kennel Club as part of the Hound Group. They are considered one of the oldest breeds of Irish dogs (next to the Irish Wolfhound) and were bred to hunt stags.
The Kerry Beagle is a medium-sized dog with a short and smooth coat that comes in black and tan, white and tan, and black. When working in the field, they are aggressive and tenacious dogs but are very affectionate and calm dogs when at home with the family. They can be trusted with children of all ages and, if appropriately socialized, can also be friends with other dogs and cats.
Only a country as beautiful as Ireland can give the world such gorgeous and hardworking dogs. All of these dogs were originally bred to help out around on farms in the country, and all seem to be capable of multiple layers of work. Yet they all make excellent companion dogs with loads of energy and personality and could be the perfect dogs for the right family. Ireland has provided us with some amazing dogs that are loving and versatile and have a long history, just like the Emerald Isle itself.
Featured Image Credit: RB Pet Photography, Shutterstock