Dogs have been part of Irish history for centuries as working dogs, hunters, and loyal friends. So, it isn’t very surprising that they are still a big part of the Irish family. Like anywhere else in the world, some breeds are more popular than others in Ireland.
We’ve compiled a list of the nine most popular breeds in Ireland and also collected some interesting facts about each species, which may have something to do with why they’re so popular!
The 9 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Ireland
1. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are the most popular breeds in Ireland, and it’s no surprise this kind and intelligent breed comes out on top. They’re known for being friendly and used as therapy or guide dogs. They’re a fantastic family dog and fit in best with active humans because of their high energy levels.
The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland in the early 19th century, and is still popular in Scotland today. The breed does well with other pets thanks to their easy-going nature and is known to be calm and tolerant with children.
An interesting fact about the Golden Retriever is that because they were bred to fetch game, they have a naturally gentle grip called “soft mouth” so they don’t damage the birds they carry in their mouths.
2. Small Mongrel
Small mongrels, unlike “designer” breeds like Cockapoos or Golden Doodles, are the result of unintentional breeding and are usually a mix of several small breeds. Mongrels tend to be healthier than purebred dogs and are less expensive to buy.
Thanks to their mixed heritage, it’s more difficult to predict which traits they’ll have, and it’s important to research your options before adopting. Mongrels are a familiar sight at shelters, so if you’re thinking of adopting one, start there!
3. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are friendly, gentle, outgoing, and make wonderful pets. They are also particularly popular in the United States.
The Labrador Retriever is versatile, and while they make excellent family pets, they are also reliable working dogs. Thanks to their eagerness to please and intelligence, Labradors are invaluable in many professions. They’re a popular choice for service dogs, therapy work, search and rescue, and bomb and drug detection.
4. Medium Mongrel
The appearance and size of a mongrel are difficult to predict. A dog that starts off as medium in size could potentially end up larger than you were anticipating.
There are, however, many advantages to a mongrel. They tend to be cheaper than purebred dogs since they’re not as sought after, and they suffer from fewer health issues because inbreeding is less common than with purebred dogs.
Cockapoos are bred from two popular breeds: the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. They are intelligent, loyal, and the perfect mix of the outgoing Spaniel and low-shedding Poodle. Thanks to their low-shedding coat, they are also a good choice for people who suffer from allergies.
Cockapoos thrive on attention and are easy to train, which makes them an excellent choice for a family. They can become restless if they’re left alone for too long, but puzzles and stimulating dog toys will keep them entertained if you’re planning on being out of the house for a few hours.
6. Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russels are tenacious, full of energy, and are known for being wonderful pets but also incredibly mischievous when bored. Despite its size, the Jack Russell is fearless and has an appetite for adventure. However, thanks to their size and intelligence, they are manageable and easy to train, and they’re a perfect addition to a family of first-time dog parents.
7. Shih Tzu
The little Shih Tzu is known for its flowing locks and gentle, trusting nature. They’re easy to train and healthy, with a 15-year life span. They are amazing family pets known to be kind and patient with children. Shih Tzus don’t shed as much as similar breeds, making them an excellent choice for a dog lover with allergies.
8. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are a versatile breed known for their lovely temperament. Although they serve as hunting dogs, they are great with children. While they’re small, they are stuffed full of energy, and when they’re around your young children, you’ll need to be aware of when to step in.
Also, don’t rely on your Cocker Spaniel for protection. They’re very smart but love people and make terrible guard dogs.
9. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise are small and affectionate. Their fur is high maintenance and will need daily brushing and a trim every couple of months, or they can become matted. They don’t require much exercise and will be as excited about cuddles as they will about taking walks. They are happy and reserved around children, making them excellent additions to a young family with a small starter home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the National Dog of Ireland?
The National Dog of Ireland is the Irish Wolfhound; it was initially bred to hunt wolves. They weigh up to 150 pounds and are considered the tallest dog breed. They are gentle, dignified, and sweet-tempered.
Are Dogs Popular in Ireland?
The exact number of households with pets is unknown, but a study in 2016 that identified 61% of Irish households own a dog or a cat and 91% recognize that their dog or cat is a member of their family. It’s also estimated that there is a dog population of around 455,000 in 2020. That’s a lot of canines for a country that has an estimated population of just over 5 million.
Can I Travel to Ireland With My Dog?
Many countries have breed-specific legislation that prohibits certain breeds of dogs from entering. If you are considering taking your pup on vacation with you, start by checking if your canine is on the banned breeds list before setting your heart on a trip.
Restricted breeds are:
The dogs that are popular in Ireland all vary in size, appearance, and personality, but they all have one thing in common: they make brilliant family pets. Maybe a dog on this list sparked your interest, and if they did, remember to do your research to ensure you can give them the forever home they need and deserve!
Featured Image Credit: Ireland Remizov, Shutterstock