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7 British and Irish dog breeds you might not have heard of

Dogs make up 65% of Ireland’s pet population. And if we’re to review dogs’ share in Britain’s pet population, that’d be about 34 percent.

Evidently, Britain and Ireland both love dogs. So much so, they’ve got breeds specific to their land only!

In this post, we’ll share some of the most beautiful dog breeds that originated in Britain or Ireland. And also, they happen to be pretty rare even within these lands. So, you probably might not have heard of them before…

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier originated from Bedlington – a mining town in Northumberland in Northeast England. It was bred, raised, and used as a hunting dog back then. Hence, you’re likely to observe excellent chasing skills in this breed. It’s super energetic and always on the lookout for small things it can catch.

Back in the early 1800s, the miners also used these dogs for entertainment purposes. They would bet their money and arrange Bedlington Terrier fights. Since ‘fight’ is a do-or-die situation for this breed, it gives quite a show.

Later on, the appearance of this breed caught the attention of the nobles and royals. It’s knotted coat and slender body complimented its luxurious lifestyle. This led to greater exposure of the Bedlington Terrier and they were first recognized by the formation of England’s National Bedlington Terrier Club in 1877. The American Kennel Club registered this breed only nine years later.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier, also recognized as Irish Blue Terrier, has the most unique appearance of all rare dogs on this list. You’ll see a bush of hair right over its mouth, making it appear like a beard. Sometimes the overgrown hair might even cover its eyes.

Have a look for yourself:

The mop of this hair basically helps the dog wick away water when swimming (yep, it loves swimming!).

As for its beautiful Irish blue color, it isn’t typically born with it. The pups have black coat. It eventually fades to the beautiful Irish Blue shade. Apart from that, these dogs have soulful deep eyes, which reflect their wisdom and smartness. They are highly energetic and prove to be loving pets.

Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Next, we have the stunning Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This breed is a cross between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the White English Terrier. Hence, you can see this pup carrying a blue-gray coat. There are small patches of white on its chest, feet, neck, and tip of the tail. Generally, it’s a medium-sized and muscular dog.

These dogs were bred with the intent of acquiring an even more powerful and agile dog. The idea was to produce a stronger solution for protection and dog fight entertainment. However, these dogs turned out to be strong and sweet. They possess a very loving nature and are excellent to keep around kids. 

Since this breed has a very friendly, protective, and loving nature, it’s one of the most popular family dogs in the UK. Owing to its nature and nationwide acceptance as a typical house dog, it’s also nicknamed ‘Staffy’.

Irish Wolfhound

The name of this breed says a lot about its origins. In ancient times (about 2000 years ago), this dog was bred to chase away the wolves that threatened Irish livestock.

Currently, it is one of the largest dog breeds to exist. The male Irish wolfhounds grow up to 32 – 36 inches, while females grow up to 30-35 inches. These dogs are naturally heavier and achieve their full height in two years.

Owing to their large size, they also have a massive diet. You can expect an Irish wolfhound to consume 4-8 cups of dry food every single day to meet their body’s needs. This is twice as much as a medium-sized dog. They also require greater monitoring of their feed as they are likely to overeat. Given that, they are also prone to certain genetic diseases like liver shunts, seizures, and bloating.

In terms of nature, they are gentle and easygoing. They make great household pets! But we do not recommend keeping them near children because when the dog gets playful, children may not be able to handle its strength. Plus, it’s also advisable to give enough outdoor time to these wolfhounds. They need lots of physical activity!

Irish Setter

The Irish setter sports a lavish red-brown coat and possesses a truly elegant appearance.

At heart, this dog breed is highly energetic and playful. They also make excellent hunters. However, their size is not as large as Irish wolfhounds, nor are they bulky like the Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Hence, they are safe to keep around pets. But if you have really small pets, like hamsters or mice, avoid keeping this dog around. 

Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terriers are toy dogs. They grow up to only 10 inches. But their temperament wins them over large dogs.

The Norwich terriers are extremely hyper and intelligent. They can deal with almost any problem you throw at them, which also makes them stubborn and fearless at times. Despite being small and having a minimal diet, they also require high levels of physical activity.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland sheepdogs possess a very elegant build. These dogs have a height of up to 13 – 16 inches, so they’re typically low profile. But they have pointed ears, which balance out their low height.

Their coat is long and straight. It is denser towards the neck, which gives a mane-like look. So, in terms of appearance, the Shetland Sheepdogs are true royalty.

But a long coat also means greater maintenance. They require proper grooming sessions every 4-8 weeks and shed a lot of hair, so you’ll need to brush them almost daily. The lower coat is usually a single color, but the top coat features a combination of colors including brown, fawn, gray, black, and white.

Moreover, Shetland Sheepdogs are extremely obedient and serve as excellent watchdogs. You can also keep them as a family pet. They are very affectionate, friendly, and gentle.

Final Words

If you’re planning to get a doggo for yourself, we highly recommend picking from this list. These dogs are not only head-turners but also great companions. You won’t regret your decision. And if you have more to add to this list, please let us know!


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