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Top 5 Most Popular Irish Dog Breeds

Ireland is worldwide famous for its distinguished collection of dog breeds. With some of them dating back thousands of years, Irish dogs have long been the Irishman’s best friends, and are still popular household names today. If you’re a passionate patriot or just a fan of the Scottish culture, we guarantee an Irish breed of dog to be the best in the business and worth considering if you’re looking for a new pup. Here are the top 5 most popular Irish dog breeds.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are one of Ireland’s oldest dog breeds and were once used in wars and hunting.
The Irish Wolfhound is traced back to as early as the 15th century and was originally bred for wold-hunting, affording them their name. It is said the dog was so effective at its job, wolves were hunted to near extinction in Ireland. Once there was less to hunt, the breed of the dog slowly became less sought after, and the breed itself almost became extinct. Fortunately, because of their loving personalities and loyal characteristics, people realised they became great pets, and breeding them once again became popular.
The Irish Wolfhound is one of the biggest dogs around, so if you are considering adopting then it’s important to consider how much space and activity you can offer. In saying that, it’s often noted they can be laid back and sleepy, often calm and great with family life. They need a lot of training to ensure they don’t damage your house due to their size ( they can grow up to 120 pounds) but they’re well worth it.

Irish Red Setter

One of the most striking dog breeds there is, the Irish red setter is a fabulous hunter and incredibly intelligent. Traced back to the 1600s, the Irish red setter has been loved by Ireland for hundreds of years, and is still massively popular today.

Of course, these dogs were bred for hunting, so they are impressively agile and fast. This means they require a lot of exercise and training so they know what to do with all that energy! They can grow up to 26 inches tall so expect them to take up quite a lot of space!

These dogs have a long life expectancy of 11-15 years, and despite their hunting nature are said to make excellent family pets.

The Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier was originally bred for hunting, but their owners quickly realised they were extremely intelligent and began to utilise them for guarding livestock and the home. From there, because of their kind nature, they became a popular choice for a household pet.

Because of their beautiful red colour and quick-witted nature, the Irish Terrier is often used to compete in shows. People often note that they style a distinguished-looking moustache, which of course adds to their charm.

While terriers are usually small in size, the Irish Terrier can grow quite large and can grow up to 18 inches. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation and require a lot of dedication as a dog breed. However, they are fiercely loyal and make great companions, so they’re definitely worth the work!

Irish Water Spaniel

Some people believe the Irish Water Spaniel can be traced back to ancient writings, however, the general belief is that the dog began to be bred in the 1930s.

One of the tallest of the Spaniel breeds, the Irish Water Spaniel gets its name from its praised ability to retrieve ducks and small animals from the water. Loved for their sporadic curly hair, these dogs are often used in shows and competitions.

Because of their hunting background, these dogs are natural chasers and tend not to settle well in homes with smaller animals and pets. Early socialisation and training can help with this, and if you have the time and dedication for them they’re worth it!

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

A widely friendly sheepdog, the Wheaten Terrier is a well-loved Irish pup. Still used as working dogs on farms due to their skills in herding and guarding, these dogs are still widely popular within Ireland.

Despite this, the wheaten terrier is also well known for being a lap dog, loving cuddles and attention. They make great family pets and always look like they’re giving you a wee smile, which people love. Great with kids and family life, these dogs make great companions. As with most terriers, they love to chase and can be stubborn, so make sure to give them plenty of exercises and early socialisation and training.