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Luck of the Irish: 5 Irish Dog Breeds You’ll Adore

irish dog breeds

It’s that time of year when we’re all a wee bit Irish, and this St. Patrick’s Day, we’re taking a look at a few dogs who lay claim to a bit of Irish heritage.

The emerald isle has been home to some beautiful dogs, (most with the instinctive urge to run away at any given time). We’re not sure if that characteristic also applies to their kilted men, but we suspect it’s a possibility.

Without further ado, here are the dog breeds of Ireland and a look at what you can expect if you bring them into your life!

Irish Setter

Obviously, we must begin with the Irish Setter. The most obvious member of Irish heritage dogs, this bright red dog boasts long hair, superior hunting skills and the unexplainable impulse to run miles and miles at various times of the day. The setter is an enthusiastic dog and will love you forever (if you can catch him).

  • Group: Sporting Dogs
  • Height: 2’1″ – 2’3″
  • Weight: 60 – 70 pounds
  • Life Span: 11 – 15 years
  • Disposition: High-energy, loves to run, escape artist and one sporting pup!
  • Exercise: High

Glen of Imaal

The Glen of Imaal was originally bred to root out nuisance badgers from gardens (I’m guessing potato patches but can’t confirm). The badger, in case you didn’t know, is a very mean little creature that is super strong, very cunning, and tends to hold a grudge. The dog designed to deal with such a creature must likewise be comparable in strength and just as smart. So, the Irish modified terriers – some of the more intelligent pups out there. This breed differs from other terriers in that it doesn’t bark, so if you have a badger problem and want to preserve silence, this may be the dog for you!

  • Breed: Terriers
  • Height: 1’1″ – 1’2″
  • Weight: Up to 35 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years
  • Disposition: Intelligent, so lots of training will be needed.
  • Exercise: High

Irish Wolfhound

One of the largest dogs in existence, the wolfhound is a treasured member of the dog family. Unfortunately, due to their size, they have much shorter lifespans than most large dogs and take longer to reach maturity (usually three years). They are calm, loyal and courageous and tend to know what you need before you need before you do. I don’t think I’ve heard of a single bite case with this breed because they are so gentle. You’ll need lots of room to accommodate this gentle giant!

  • Avg Height: 2’8″ – 2’11”
  • Avg Weight: 115 – 180 pounds
  • Life Span: 6 – 8 years
  • Disposition: Relaxed, gentle, and empathic
  • Exercise: Low – med

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the oldest dogs in the world. It’s also quite rare. Sporting a curly coat and a happy personality, the Water Spaniel is a fun dog to have around. They also love water, so be sure you have plenty of ponds or lakes nearby that they can explore.

  • Breed: Sporting Dogs
  • Height: 1’9” – 2’
  • Weight: 45 – 65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Disposition: This is a good-natured pup who loves to explore, hunt and swim. Plan for some fun days at the lake!
  • Exercise: med-high

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

This dog is not only powerful, but gentle. They are very athletic and enjoy a good run in agility – anything that allows them to use their strength and their brains. They do love to be indoors and also make a great lap dog once you’ve exercised them.

  • Type: Terrier
  • Avg Height: 1’5” – 1’7”
  • Avg Weight: 30 – 40 pounds
  • Life Span 12 – 15 years
  • Disposition: High-energy
  • Exercise: Intelligent exercise (agility is a great start!)

Kerry Blue Terrier

Bred in the mountainous regions of Ireland, this pup is best classified as “challenging”. They are highly active, have a great personality and look good in a ring. However, they don’t particularly enjoy other dogs and tend to be a bit aggressive in pack environments. They do love people (and digging), so if you get one of these dogs, be sure you have plenty of space for them to run and dig!

  • Type: Terrier
  • Avg. Height: 1’5″ – 1’7″
  • Weight:: 33 – 40 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years
  • Disposition: High energy means lots of training and patience will be needed. They like people, but don’t do well with other dogs.
  • Exercise: Med – high

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