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Celebrate the Luck of the Irish!


Get out the green and bust out the shamrocks, it's almost St. Patrick's Day! In honor of the holiday, here are some fun facts of breeds of pets that herald from the Emerald Isle.

The Irish Setter, one of the more popular breeds to come from Ireland, has sporting in their blood. Their deep mahogany coats are full and silky, and their personalities are both tough and energetic. Popular in the 1970s in the U.S., they are still sought after for their beauty today. On the smaller size, there is the Glenn of Amall's, whose original job was to get rid of nuisance badgers, foxes, rats and other small animals. Also known as turnspit dogs, they were used to turn meat over a fire by running on a wheel. They are also sometimes referred to as the Wicklow Terrier, after the county that it originated from. They make great family pets due to the fact that they don't bark too much.

One of the largest breeds in the world, the Irish Wolfhound is a gentle giant in disguise. With a shaggy coat and stable temperament, they are built for speed, and make excellent family pets as long as their home is big enough. Another breed to come from Ireland is the Irish Water Spaniel. Legend has it that they are descents of a creature called the Dobhar-chu, a cross between an otter and a water hound. With its webbed feet and thick, curly coat it is certainly a unique but fun loving breed.

"The poor wolfhound," also known as the Wheaten Terrier, is not nearly as big as a wolfhound, but has the same gentle disposition. Lastly is the Kerry Blue Terrier, who has the distinction of being the first dog ever registered with the Irish Kennel Club. With their wavy blue/grey coats and appearance, they, like most of the other breeds mentioned above, are very good at hunting.

Surprisingly, there are also cat breeds that come from Ireland. The Manx, which was bred on the Isle of Mann and known as simply, "Stubbin," is born without a tail due to a genetic mutation. Still, the genetic mutation is not always present in each cat, meaning that some cats have no tail, while other might have a tail of different lengths. Only cats that have no sign of a tail or a "riser" of a tail are allowed to be shown at professional pet shows. With wide, round heads, long hind legs and short hair, they are valued as rodent hunters. While the breed of the Cymric cat has a different name, they are a long-haired variety of a Manx and share all the same traits.

So this St. Patrick's Day, as people celebrate the luck of the Irish, let's also celebrate all of the awesome breeds of pets that have come from the Emerald Isle.