Celtic Canines - a list of the top ten Irish dog breeds - PHOTOS
From the Irish wolfhound to the terrier - the Irishman's best-friends
When it comes to man’s best friend, Ireland enjoys quite an engaging diversity. Here is a list of Éire’s top-ten dog breeds.
The Irish Wolfhound
This towering testament to the canine species would make a highly imposing guard dog, except for the fact that their good nature often makes them friendly to strangers, even those with ignoble intentions.
This breed is extremely old; some suggest that it came to Ireland over 5,000 years ago. Irish Wolfhounds were once quite the menace on the battlefield. In recent centuries, however, their ferocity has subsided, leaving behind a big teddy-bear of a dog.
Sadly, this cuddly colossus has among the shortest of canine life expectancies. Many succumb to the ravaging effects of bone cancer.
The Irish Setter
This dog’s mahogany coat can look almost magical in the sunlight. However, many would say that the breed’s personality exceeds its appearance.
The Irish Setter is about as affectionate a breed as any in the whole species. The flip side is that neglect can bring about a broken heart complex, and destructive mischief just might ensue.
They have a high activity level. Sizable excursions should take place at least once a day.
If one is willing to put in a moderate amount of effort, it is very hard to go wrong with this breed. They offer a beauty, brains and personality mix that few can match.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Some say the Kerry Blue actually came from Tipperary. However Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Dogs says that this breed emerged in the 1700s in County Kerry.
A certain romantic legend holds that when a Russian ship wrecked in Kerry’s Tralee Bay, an exotic blue-coated dog frantically paddled its way ashore.
Rewards awaited. The gallant survivor had such a gorgeous coat that it was promptly mated with most every fine local female of reproductive age. Some say the shipwrecked stud proceeded to mate with “all the female Wheaten Terriers in Kerry.”
Regardless of its exact origin, the Kerry Blue’s coat has a very distinctive color and texture.
The Irish Water Spaniel
This breed has a highly distinctive set of locks, almost resembling those of a female step-dancer. They have curly coats and a seemingly ratlike tail jutting out their posteriors.
They cannot get enough of the water, and they excel in this venue, from where they have been known to retrieve quite a collection of animal-life.
As to the breed’s heredity, varying conjectures have been made. Certain names that arise are the Barbet, the Poodle, and the Portuguese Water Dog, among others.
The breed as it now appears came of age in Ireland in the early 19th-century.
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