The Most Popular Irish Dog Breeds

Ireland: a country with a rich history and a strong sense of national pride. If you are thinking of booking a dog model for filming or a photo shoot for your brand in Ireland, then you can’t go wrong with any dog that reflects this patriotism. Some dog breeds have lived in Ireland for centuries and are well and truly an excellent representation of the Emerald Isle, whereas other dogs are adopted Irish and have become extremely popular more recently. Here are some of the most popular Irish dog breeds in 2023!  

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier is about as Irish as you can get – it is in fact the national dog of Ireland! This breed has a history in Ireland that dates back to at least 150 years ago in Kerry but, like with most of our fantastical histories, we have stories about the origins of the Kerry Blue Terrier that go back much, much further. What we know for certain is that these gorgeous, pale blue, wavy-coated terriers were used as working dogs on farms where their loyal, bullish, and game behaviour made them perfect for catching vermin. When groomed to the breed standard, these dogs have long, brick-shaped heads that leave a real lasting impression on anyone to lay their eyes on them. One stellar feature of Kerry Blue Terriers is the fact that their colour changes as they grow. They are born black and don’t develop their trademark blue colouring until they enter adulthood. While other breeds of dogs may have Irish in their name, you can’t get more Irish than this stellar terrier from Kerry. kerry-blue-terrier-in-woods

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniels are so named because of their excellent swimming ability and innate love of the water! They have a very distinctive appearance when compared to their spaniel compatriots:
  • They are the tallest of the spaniels
  • Their tail is skinny and ‘rat-like’ (this helps them swim!)
  • They have a poodle-esque haircut that grows on top of their head and between their eyes
  • Their curly liver coat is naturally water repellent
Today, you can trace the heritage of these dogs back to the South and North Country Water Spaniel breeds, of which the Irish Water Spaniel resembles the South Country breed. An Irish Water Spaniel on your set would be a delight! They can be very energetic but, in the right hands, this makes them easy to train. The ideal set for them would involve water, where they can show off their natural swimming ability and love of water sports like dock diving. irish-water-terrier-in-field

Irish Setter

One of the most beautiful dog breeds to exist, the Irish Setter is a very recognisable Irish dog. While its long, silky chestnut coat needs regular maintenance and grooming, it gives the Irish Setter a stunning appearance that has that real ‘wow’ factor. This makes the Irish Setter a natural-born show dog – but it may come as a surprise to know that they were historically gundogs, using their nose and retrieving skills to help their handlers when out hunting! Nowadays, these dogs more commonly have their place in the home, where their friendly demeanour makes them great for active families with kids. An Irish Setter would be a great choice of dog model for any set due to their diverse usage throughout history, and would also be a beautiful red-headed representation of Ireland! irish-setters-in-fields

Irish Terrier

While first recognised as a dog breed in Scotland in 1875, the Irish Terrier is a distinctly Irish dog. This fierce little (but not little among terriers!) daredevil has an attitude as fiery as its coat and is known as the daredevil of the Emerald Isle. Although, they are loving family companions too when at home. They have rather long legs for terriers, and this helps them run fast and far. It also helps them live excellent lives as farm dogs. If your brand needs a vivacious and spirited mascot, and you want to honour your Irish roots, then an Irish Terrier should be one of the breeds at the top of your list! irish-terrier-in-field

Irish Wolfhound

Ask anyone around the world to picture an Irish dog and there’s a strong possibility that they will think of an Irish Wolfhound. This is for good reason as they are one of Ireland’s oldest dog breeds. They are tied to Irish mythology that dates back to 200BC through the legend of Cú Chulainn. These dogs are some of the most impressive canines on the planet, and stand taller than any other breed of dog – even Great Danes! Don’t let their gigantic size and history of hunting down wolves put you off hiring them for your set – today they are very loving and calm family companions. If you want an Irish dog to reflect your Irish values, then you can’t go wrong with an Irish Wolfhound. irish-wolfhounds-in-field

Honourable mentions

As we mentioned, some dogs have been adopted into the Irish way of life. Here are some examples of popular dogs today that don’t have Irish history.  

Springer Spaniel

A more recent addition to the Irish dog family, Springer Spaniels are one of the classic breeds of gundogs. While they are technically English Springer Spaniels, they have become incredibly popular in Ireland over the years and are now one of the more populous dogs in the country. They may have been brought over and used due to their ability as a gundog, but it was their loveable demeanour and people-pleasing attitude that kept them around. A long, luscious coat that almost touches the floor is the typical characteristic look of this breed. That and huge, wavy ears! These are highly intelligent dogs and are capable of high-level obedience training that makes them excellent dogs for use on set. Photography, videography – you name it and the Springer Spaniel is made for it! springer-spaniel-in-field

Border Collie

What animal is better suited to Ireland’s rural landscape than a Border Collie? One of the most intelligent dogs in the world, they are capable of learning a whole host of commands just by whistling at a different pitch! If you are into your dogs then you really must make the effort to see a Border Collie at work. The relationship between a Border Collie and its handler is unmatched. A well-trained Border Collie would be one of the most versatile animals that you could have on set, and would be a very smart investment if you required an active dog to do a few memorable tricks for the camera. border-collie-in-field

Cocker Spaniel

Like the Springer Spaniel, the Cocker Spaniel is historically an English dog – but that didn’t stop the Cocker Spaniel being crowned as the most popular dog in Ireland! And it’s not just in Ireland that the Cocker Spaniel is so popular, they have been one of the most popular dog breeds in America too. Cocker Spaniels can be found in a number of coats like black, gold, red, or tan. You can also find Cocker Spaniels with merle markings which are stunningly distinctive dogs. They have a long, luxurious coat all over and beautifully fluffy ears. Everyone recognises Cocker Spaniels as Lady from Lady and the Tramp! If you want a dog to represent your brand that will captivate Irish audiences, then the Cocker Spaniel is an excellent choice. cocker-spaniel-in-field

Irish dog models at Urban Paws Ireland

As an animal talent agency, we can source any type of dog breed (or animal for that matter) that you could require for your production set – whether you need an iconic Irish dog or anything else. Get in touch with our team and we would be more than happy to help you find your dream model or influencer!