Many legends surround St. Patrick, the iconic 5th century figure who gave us reason to celebrate fiddle music, pub crawls, and all things green on March 17th. One is that he loved dogs. As a young teen he was enslaved as a shepherd. He had only lonely, open fields and a devoted sheepdog for company. After escaping to the coast, Patrick was refused passage on a ship, until they noticed his ability to calm the ship’s lively cargo--it was packed with Irish Wolfhounds. His subsequent miracles and sainthood involved dogs on more than one occasion. Today Ireland boasts claim to nine native dog breeds, an impressive contribution for an island that’s just 174 miles wide.
Like a lucky Irish clover, let’s look at four of these special breeds:
1. Irish Wolfhound
Tallest of all canines, the Irish Wolfhound can reach 7 feet tall on its hind legs. Weight can be up to 175 pounds. These enormous sight hounds were once used on Roman battlefields as war dogs, then later to hunt its namesake, wolves. Now, thankfully, these dogs are gentle giants known to be intelligent, highly trainable, and family friendly. Aside from needing a pasture-like space to move, and having a life span of only 6-8 years, the Irish Wolfhound is a unique breed that makes a loyal, kind companion despite its intimidating presence.
The original “party hound,” Irish Setters are known for playful, energetic personalities, often maintaining a happy–go–lucky attitude long past puppy hood. Originally bred in the 1700’s as a birding dog, the Irish Setter uses a superior nose to locate birds in the air and can retrieve them using nimble speed. Today these noble redheads are used less to hunt and more as an affectionate, fun, family pet that possesses beauty along with brains.
This spitfire of a pooch has a true terrier disposition and is described as “spirited, active, and courageous”. Named for the location of origin, the Glen of Imaal Terrier is an old breed from the 1600’s. It was valued for protecting a home from rats and other vermin. It was also trained in the chore of “spit turning”; ensuring meat over a fire was rotated consistently. Since modern kitchen ovens don’t need a dog to assist in operation, this little canine today makes a lively family pet that does best with a “determined” owner who appreciates a terrier’s take on the world.
True to Irish roots, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is known as “sturdy and fun loving”. Relatively easy going for a terrier, these dogs are popular for their friendly personalities along with their hypoallergenic coat. This breed has been developed over hundreds of years, originally used on farms for herding, guarding livestock, and hunting vermin. It was often referred to as “the poor man’s wolfhound." Nicknamed “Wheatens” or “Wheaties”, these dogs weren’t common in the United States until the 1970’s and now are used both in Ireland and the U.S. for agility, obedience, therapy, and of course, as a loving, vibrant family pet.
The Emerald Isle, Ireland and the Emerald City, Seattle are both great places to own a dog. They also are known for beer! Next time come join Seattle Pup Magazine as we take a look at some of Seattle’s pet-friendly pubs!
Don’t forget your green for St. Patrick’s Day!
Live, Love, Wag!
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Get your Green On! @ these locations
(Sat March 17) Selfie Photo Booth!
Greenway 12pm-3pm Lakeway 11am-5pm
Tumwater 9am-4pm University Place 12pm-3pm