9 Dog Breeds Native to Ireland

By Nikita Hillier
Updated on 29 November 2022

From terriers to hounds, there have been some absolutely beautiful dogs gifted to the world by Ireland.

These native dog breeds have long and deep histories within Ireland and throughout the planet.

While some of these dogs, like the Kerry Beagle, are treasures, others like the Kerry Blue and Irish Red Setter have grown very popular all over the world.

All of the dogs listed here have massive hearts and even bigger personalities which is why they are so often great family dogs.

They love to be out and about doing things to keep their busy minds active and engaged. These athletic, swift, and reliable dogs make great companions and working dogs.

Keep reading to take a look at nine great dog breeds that are native to Ireland!

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Wolfhound (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Often known as a royal canine, the Irish Wolfhound is a great dog breed with a rich history of royalty. This breed was knowingly loved by England’s Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry Vlll. They loved this prestigious breed so much that they actually gifted them to other kingdoms!

Say goodbye to small dogs, because this breed is anything but that. In fact, these dogs are listed as one of the largest dog breeds in the world. Most often, they weigh anywhere between 105 and 180 pounds! However, despite their size, they are playful, gentle, and kind.

They are quite popular in Australia as hunting dogs due to their stamina and athletic ability.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen Of Imaal Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Glen Of Imaal Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

These dogs have been long known for their rough beginnings. They were very unappreciated while other breeds, such as the Irish Setter gained massive popularity. However, people soon realized that this dog was insanely good at adapting to tough conditions.

They soon became a versatile, dependable, and likeable companion in the home and around the farm. These dogs were so intelligent that they were even used to turn the spit when meat was being cooked over a hot fire. Over the years, these dogs gained more and more popularity.

Irish Red and White Setter

Irish Red And White Setter (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Red And White Setter (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Red and White Setter dogs are some of the most incredible hunting dogs you will ever find. This breed is very friendly, intelligent, and kind which is why they are so popular. They have the makings for a very loyal canine companion.

If you’re looking for a smart dog, the Irish Red and White Setter is an ideal choice. This breed is not often seen outside of Ireland.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Ireland is well-known for creating some absolutely magnificent terriers. However, none are more popular than the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. This dog breed is very well-known for its absolutely amazing, unique, and rare coat. The breed has been documented for over 200 years and is known for its soft and delicate coat.

As the name suggests, their coat is one of their best features. They do require a bit more upkeep than other dogs due to the type of coat they have. They will need to be brushed 1-2 times per day.

Though, thanks to their coat, they rarely shed which is why they are a great dog for homes with allergies.

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel dog (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Water Spaniel dog (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Irish Water Spaniel is not only popular in Ireland, but also in the United States. This breed dates way back to the 1100s which is why they are so cemented in Irish history. Irish Water Spaniels are very well-known for how great they are as swimmers and beloved family pets.

They are fun-loving, excitable, and very loyal to their family. Their behaviour is often described as clown-like due to how silly they can be sometimes. Aside from being hilarious, these dogs are excellent for people who deal with allergies due to their allergen-friendly coats.

You only need to brush them a few times per week to keep their coat in top shape.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Kerry Blue Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

If you’re looking for a dog that will turn heads, the Kerry Blue Terrier is the dog for you! This dog breed quickly rose to fame as it became an icon for both patriotism and Irish independence. They have a distinct and sharp appearance which is the main reason for their immense popularity.

Despite its name and coat colour, this dog actually isn’t blue when it is born. Most of the time, this type of dog is born with dark, thick, black fur. Due to the coat-fading gene, the fur lightens into the famous colour that people who adore this breed admire greatly.

Usually, they end up being a faded sort of blue, grey, or charcoal colour. These dogs don’t shed so they need to be groomed 3-4 times every week to avoid matting in their fur.

Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Many people, specifically in the United States, absolutely adore the red coat of the Irish Terrier. However, they gained even more popularity around the world when they held the extremely important job of being messengers during World War 1. These dogs have been known as loyal and heroic dogs due to the way they could weave through battlefields to deliver very important communications.

They have been known to be quite fierce little dogs when they need to be. Though, in saying these, these dogs are also very gentle, kind, and easy to train. If there is one thing to say about this breed, it is that they are loyal and loving companions to all.

Kerry Beagle

Kerry Blue (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Kerry Blue (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Kerry Beagle is one of the oldest Irish breeds. It is also a very rare type of dog which is just one of the reasons it is so highly sought-after. The Kerry Beagle has a very distinct coat type which is often a black or tan, brown colour.

The Kerry Beagle is also quite larger and tends to weigh anywhere between 50-60 pounds. You will likely never spot this breed due to how rare they are. However, when they can be found, they make beautiful hunting dogs for smaller game in Ireland. These hounds sure do love their job!

Irish Setter

Irish Setter (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Irish Setter (Photo: Adobe Stock)

These beautiful dogs, not to be confused with the Irish red and white setter, are large, active, and versatile dogs. They require 2-3 hours of exercise every single day which is why they are great family dogs. The Irish setter should be given a large fenced-in yard with lots of space to wander around both indoors and outdoors.

Aside from their activity requirements, they also need to be brushed 2-3 times per week in order to control their shedding. They have fluffy and majestic coats that can shed quite a lot. This is why it is a good idea to stay on top of brushing.

This dog breed is friendly, intelligent, and energetic. They make great companions.

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