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Luck Of The Irish! American Kennel Club Celebrates Irish Dog Breeds In Spirit Of St. Patrick's Day

(Monday, March 11, 2013)

You won’t see them celebrating at the pub this St. Patrick’s Day, but these four-legged friends are as Irish as can be!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this March 17th, the American Kennel Club (AKC®) celebrates the many loveable dog breeds that hail from Ireland and where they rank on AKC’s list of the most popular breeds in the United States. Notable Irish breeds include the Irish Setter, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Irish Water Spaniel, among others.

“These wonderful breeds truly represent the rich culture of Ireland and they’re gaining popularity here in the U.S.,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “The Irish Setter and Irish Water Spaniel also hold a special place in AKC history, having been among the original nine breeds recognized by AKC in 1884.”

Soft-Coated Wheaten TerrierSoft Coated Wheaten Terrier — The most popular of the Irish breeds at number 53, the “Wheaten” has a special connection to St. Patrick’s Day, having first appeared in the show ring at the Irish Kennel Club Championship on March 17, 1937. The breed is prized for its soft, silky, wheaten-colored coat which sheds minimally. Wheatens enjoy plenty of exercise and are happy, alert dogs.

Irish SetterIrish Setter – Ranked at number 74, the Irish Setter was among the original breeds recognized by AKC at its inception in 1884. Irish Setters are high energy dogs with clown-like personalities and require regular exercise to satisfy their breed instincts; they are tough and tireless field retrievers. They are also loving companions. They are active, fun-loving dogs that require regular grooming for their beautiful mahogany coat.

Irish WolfhoundIrish Wolfhound — The tallest of all dogs, the Irish Wolfhound is ranked number 77. They are primarily family companions, but they do require a lot of space and exercise due to their large size. Irish Wolfhounds are gentle hounds with a keen sense of sight and tremendous endurance. They have a harsh, natural coat that requires regular brushing.

Kerry Blue TerrierKerry Blue Terrier — Coming in at number 128, the Kerry Blue Terrier is known for his superior working and hunting skills. The Kerry Blue was originally bred for hunting small game and birds, and for retrieving from land and water. The breed is very energetic and loves being a part of a family. Their coat requires regular brushing and trimming.

Irish TerrierIrish Terrier — Ranked 130th, this breed was featured in the 2007 movie Firehouse Dog, where it was cast as a canine hero. Irish Terriers were used to transport messages between troops on the front lines in World War I. Their bravery and spirit make them wonderful companions, and they possess great tenacity. Loyal and friendly, Irish Terriers adapt to any situation, and they are deeply committed to their owners.

Irish Water SpanielIrish Water Spaniel — The Irish Water Spaniel is ranked number 154 on AKC’s most popular breeds list. The tallest spaniel breed, the Irish Water Spaniel is active and energetic with a natural instinct to please. The breed is also known to be the clown of the spaniel family. They have a water-repellant double coat that requires brushing weekly.

Irish Red and White Setter Irish Red & White Setter — Ranked at number 155, the Irish Red & White Setter became an official AKC breed in January 2009. This breed is known to be courageous, spirited, and determined with a ton of energy. Because of this, regular exercise is very important. Irish Red & Whites are kind and friendly, making them great pets for active families. Their coats only need minimal brushing and trimming.

Glen of Imaal TerrierGlen of Imaal Terrier — Named for the region in Ireland in which it came from, the Glen of Imaal Terrier ranks at number 162. The “Glen” is a well-muscled dog that loves to work. The Glen had the unique task of paddling a turnspit – a canine-propelled rotisserie – in its native country. The Glen is courageous and is always ready to give chase. It is active, agile, silent, and focused when working.

Head to AKC’s Facebook page and vote for your favorite Irish breed!