Sunday 22 October 2017

Is yours on the list? Six native Irish dogs 'vulnerable to extinction'

Image: Getty
Image: Getty
Kerry Beagle
Glen of Imaal terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Irish terrier
Red and white setter
Irish Water Spaniel
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Six of Ireland's native dog breeds are now vulnerable to extinction, according to a new book.

In The Curious History of Irish Dogs, writer David Blake Knox details which Irish breeds are vulnerable to extinction: the Irish water spaniel, the Kerry beagle, the Kerry blue, the Irish red and white setter, the Glen of Imaal terrier and the Irish terrier.

According to Mr Blake Knox, the degrees to which each dog is considered vulnerable varies, as dogs' purpose has changed over the last number of centuries from one of function to one of companionship.

While one hundred years ago there were 20 or 30 different breeds of dogs in Ireland, "now there are probably a couple of hundred," said Mr Blake Knox.

Glen of Imaal terrier
Glen of Imaal terrier

Ireland now has one of the highest rates of dog ownership in Europe. Numerous breeds can be found on our small island, but only nine of them are native to this country.

There are four terriers: the Kerry Blue, the Glen of Imaal, the Irish Terrier and the Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten. There are three gun dogs: the Irish Red and White Setter, the Irish Red Setter and the Irish Water Spaniel. There are also two hounds: the Kerry Beagle and the Irish Wolfhound.

The Curious History of Irish Dogs, by David Blake Knox, is published by New Island, €20.

Red and white setter
Red and white setter

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