Discover the Most Beloved Irish Dog Breeds and Canine Heroes this St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Famous Irish Dog Breeds and Canine Legends

St. Patrick’s Day is a time to honour all things Irish, including the famous dog breeds that call Ireland home. From the iconic Irish Wolfhound to the friendly Irish Setter, Irish dogs have a rich history and an enduring legacy.

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Irish Dog Breeds

Irish Setter:

These dogs are known for their beautiful red coats and friendly dispositions. Originally bred for hunting game birds, Irish Setters make loyal and intelligent family pets.

Irish Wolfhound:

One of the most recognizable Irish breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have been around for thousands of years. Originally used for hunting wolves and other large game, these gentle giants now make loving family pets.

Irish Terrier:

A small but feisty breed, the Irish Terrier was originally bred for hunting rodents and small game. These dogs are known for their courage and loyalty.

Glen of Imaal Terrier:

This rare breed is native to the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland and was originally bred for hunting badgers and foxes. Glen of Imaal Terriers are tenacious and loyal, making them great companions for active families.

Kerry Blue Terrier:

These medium-sized dogs were bred for hunting rodents and small game. Known for their intelligence and athleticism, Kerry Blue Terriers make great companions for active families.


Greyhounds have been a part of Irish culture and history for centuries. Still used today for racing and hunting, these dogs are known for their speed and grace.

Irish Canine Legends

Cu Sidhe:

According to legend, the Cu Sidhe was a magical dog that guarded the entrance to the Otherworld. These dogs were said to be fierce protectors who could sense danger from miles away.


The story of Gelert tells of a loyal hound who saved his owner’s baby from a wolf. Although there are different versions of the tale, Gelert is remembered as a faithful companion who was tragically misunderstood.


One of the most famous dogs to come from Ireland is actually a Siberian Husky named Balto. In 1925, Balto led a team of sled dogs on the last leg of a serum run to Nome, Alaska. The mission was to deliver medicine to a town suffering from a deadly outbreak of diphtheria, and Balto’s team completed the run in record time. Thanks to their heroic efforts, countless lives were saved.

After the serum run, Balto became a celebrity and was featured in newsreels and cartoons. He even received a statue in Central Park in New York City, where he remains an iconic figure to this day.


Ireland is home to some of the most beloved and fascinating dog breeds in the world. From the courageous Irish Terrier to the majestic Irish Wolfhound, these dogs are a testament to the rich history and culture of Ireland. So this St. Patrick’s Day, take a moment to celebrate the furry friends who have captured our hearts and imaginations for centuries.

Want to learn more?

If your interest in Irish dog breeds and their part in history hasn’t been fully satisfied through this article then we thoroughly recommend this fascinating book. The Curious History of Irish Dogs by David Blake Knox tells the remarkable stories of each of nine breeds, and reveals how they have become inextricably linked to the human beings with whom they share the island

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