Irish Pets

Mar 17, 2018

Kerry Blue Terriers really are blue - and love to play!
Credit Martin Hasketh [Flickr]

Knowing the history of a pet's breed and the purpose for which it was originally bred can help you appreciate the animal.  The Kerry Blue Terrier was originally bred to hunt rabbits and foxes; it would also herd cattle and sheep.  It is a hardy, devoted and playful friend.

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On St. Patrick’s Day it seems that almost everyone claims to be at least a little bit Irish. For some pet owners, their animal friends really are Irish.

There’s the Irish Terrier, a high-energy dog that weighs around 25 pounds. The Irish Setter is more than twice the size of its terrier cousin – about 60 pounds or so – with a gorgeous mahogany coat. Its sweet disposition makes it a great family pet.

The tallest of all dogs is the Irish Wolfhound. Its long legs make it a pet that needs some room, but even though it can weigh 100 pounds or more its intelligence and gentle loyal nature make it a family-friendly pet.

The Kerry Blue Terrier, sometimes called the Irish Blue Terrier, was the first dog breed to be recognized by the Irish Kennel Club. Born with a black coat of soft wavy hair, it turns blue-grey around two years old. Unlike many of its cousins, the Kerry Blue does not shed.

The Glen of Imaal Terrier, often just called the “Glen”, originated in the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland. About the same size as the Kerry Blue (about 35-to-40 pounds), it is affectionate and great with kids, but not so much with other dogs – or cats.

Dogs are not the only Irish pets. The Manx cat originally came from the Isle of Man off the coast of Ireland. A Manx has a very recognizable feature, its tail, which is usually very short or non-existent.

Even if your furry friend doesn’t seem to have any family ties to the Emerald Isle, you could always give it an Irish name. One of my clever friends, who loves all things Irish, named her feline companion “St. Catrick”. She said in her house, every day is St. Catrick’s day!

Whether your pet is really Irish, or just claims to be Irish, it’s always a good time to celebrate the special animals that share our lives all year long. They may be very different from each other, but they all have one thing in common – they are our best friends, when we’re speaking of pets.

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