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Dog breeds of the Celtic countries

Looking for a pet? Before you get a dog, take a look at the following Scottish breeds / Irish breeds / Welsh breeds / Galician breeds / Breton breeds. (All sizes and weights are approximate).



Scottish breeds


Scottish Deerhound...»
Height at withers
: 71-76 cm. Weight: 35-50 kg.
Scottish DeerhoundAppearance: The Deerhound has a thick, rough coat. The usual coat colour ranges from dark to light grey. The tail is long, straight, and reaching almost to the ground.
History: Originally, Deerhounds were bred for deer hunting.
Temperament: Deerhounds are very docile and make good family dogs. The average adult Deerhound spends much of the day stretched out on the floor, sleeping. However, it is a large dog that needs quite a bit of exercise to keep it healthy.


Gordon Setter...»
Height at withers
: 58-68 cm. Weight: 25-35 kg.
Gordon SetterAppearance: The Gordon Setter has a long and silky coat. The coat colour is coal-black with tan features on their feet and lower legs, vents, and muzzles, and two distinctive tan spots on their chests.
History: The modern breed as we know it was developed by the Duke of Gordon in the early 1800s. It is the only gundog among the native breeds of Scotland.
Temperament: Gordon setters are relativelly passive when compared to other members of the Setter family. They make good companions and guards.


Smooth Collie...» (also known as Smooth Coat Collie)
Height at withers
: 52-60 cm. Weight: 25-30 kg.
Smooth Coat CollieAppearance: Smooth Collies come in four basic coat colours: sable and white, white, tricolour, and blue merle. All come with white chest, legs, and tail tip and many have white blazes on their faces.
History: In 1860, while at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Queen Victoria became interested in the shepherds' dogs and purchased some for her own kennel. With the Queen's interest, it became fashionable to own Smooth Collies.
Temperament: Smooth Collies are friendly dogs and are used both as family pets and in obedience competition, agility, and other dog sports. They are also useful as service animals for the disabled and blind.


Rough Collie...» (also known as Rough Coat Collie)
Height at withers
: 52-60 cm. Weight: 25-30 kg.
Rough Coat CollieAppearance: Rough Collies come in four basic coat colours: sable and white, white, tricolour, and blue merle. All come with white chest, legs, and tail tip and many have white blazes on their faces. The coat needs to be brushed frequently to keep it in a good condition.
History: Both Rough and Smooth Collies are descended from a localised variety of herding dog originating in Scotland.
Temperament: The Rough Collie is a sociable, easily trained family dog. They get along well with children and sometimes other animals.


Bearded Collie...» (also known as Beardie, Highland Collie, Mountain Collie)
Height at wither
s: 50-60 cm. Weight: 20-25 kg.
Bearded Collie / Beardie / Highland Collie / Mountain CollieAppearance: The Bearded Collie has a long coat that can be black, blue, brown or fawn. The colour of the coat changes several times over the life of the dog. The coat needs to be brushed frequently to keep it in a good condition.
History: The Bearded Collie was used to herd both sheep and cattle. It is essentially a working dog, able to stand up to the harshest conditions.
Temperament: Bearded Collies are very happy and playful, and make good family pets. Due to the breed's need for frequent activity, this is an inappropriate dog for inactive families or apartment dwellers.


Border Collie...»
Height at withers
: 45-50 cm. Weight: 15-20 kg.
Border CollieAppearance: Their coat is most commonly black and white, with other common colours being red and white, blue merle, and tricolour black-tan-white.
History: Border Collies are a hard-working herding breed of dog that originated in the border of Scotland and England.
Temperament: Border Collies are highly intelligent, extremely energetic, and require a considerable amount of daily exercise, both physical and mental. Like most working dogs, they have a tendency towards destructive behaviour if not given enough to do.


Border Terrier...»
Height at withers
: 25-30 cm. Weight: 5-7 kg.
Border TerrierAppearance: The Border Terrier has a harsh, wiry coat that can be grizzle and tan, blue and tan, red grizzle, and, less commonly, wheaten.
History: The breed was developed in the border of Scotland and England for fox hunting.
Temperament: Border Terriers are very energetic and playful, and can make good family pets. However, due to their hunting instinct, they are unsuitable for homes where there are other small pets like cats or rabbits.


Cairn Terrier...»
Height at withers
: 25-30 cm. Weight: 6-8 kg.
Cairn TerrierAppearance: The Cairn Terrier has a harsh, weather-resistant coat that can be cream, wheaten, red, sandy, grey, or brindled in any of these colours. Brindled Cairns frequently change colour throughout their lifetime.
History: The Cairn is one of Scotland's original Terriers. They are named after the piles of small stones used to mark Scottish hills and land borders.
Temperament: Cairn Terriers are intelligent and fearless. Like most terriers, they are stubborn and love to dig after real or imagined prey.


West Highland White Terrier...» (also known as Westie)
West Highland White Terrier / WestieHeight at withers: 25-30 cm. Weight: 7-10 kg.
Appearance: West Highland White Terriers are known for their brilliant white coat.
History: Westies are descended from Cairn Terriers and Scottish Terriers. The modern breed as we know it was developed in the 1800s.
Temperament: Westies are intelligent, friendly with children, but they are independent thinkers and have plenty of attitude for a dog their size.


Scottish Terrier...» (also known as Scottie, Aberdeen Terrier)
Height at withers
: 25-28 cm. Weight: 8-10 kg.
Scottish Terrier / Scottie / Aberdeen TerrierAppearance: The usual coat colour ranges from dark grey to jet black. Scotties with Wheaten coats sometimes occur.
History: Scotties were originally bred in Scotland about 1700 but achieved their final size and shape by 1890.
Temperament: Like other terriers, they are stubborn and love to dig after real or imagined prey.


Skye Terrier...»
Height at withers
: about 25 cm. Weight: 10-11 kg.
Skye TerrierAppearance: Skye Terriers are twice as long as they are tall. The breed comes in five coat colours: fawn, blue, dark or light grey, cream, and black with black points (ears, tail, muzzle).
History: First bred on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides, the Skye Terrier was popularised when Queen Victoria began breeding the dogs in the 1840s.
Temperament: Skye Terrier is a dog breed of strong personal character. They are loyal and sensitive, but never submissive. They are reserved to strangers and prefer to spend their time with one calm person.




Irish breeds


Irish Wolfhound...»
Height at withers
: 75-90 cm. Weight: 40-65.
Irish WolfhoundAppearance: The Wolfhound is officially the tallest dog in the world. They have a rough coat that can be grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, or fawn.
History: Wolfhounds could have been bred as war dogs by the Irish Celts, who called them Cú Faoil. Their astonishing size, speed, intelligence and amiable nature made them ideal hunting animals for deer and wolves, hence the name of the breed.
Temperament: Despite their great size and sometimes intimidating appearance Irish Wolfhounds are gentle and friendly, very calm in the house, enjoying long sleeps but energetic when taken for walks.


Irish Setter...» (also known as Red Setter)
Height at withers
: 62-67 cm. Weight: 25-35 kg.
Irish Setters / Red SetterAppearance: The coat is moderately long and silky and of a deep red colour. They are similar to other members of the Setter family.
History: Originally, the Irish Setter was bred for hunting, specifically for pointing gamebirds. The breed was developed in the 1700s from the Old Spanish Pointer, setting spaniels, and early Scottish setters.
Temperament: Irish Setters are friendly, playful, and very active. They enjoy human company and are excellent with children. Due to the breed's need for frequent activity, this is an inappropriate dog for inactive families or apartment dwellers.


Irish Red and White Setter...»
Height at withers
: 57-66 cm. Weight: 25-35 kg.
Irish Red and White SetterAppearance: The coat is long and silky, mostly white, with deep red patches.
History: Originally all Irish Setters were mostly red, or red and white, but for many years breeders developed only the red varieties. Consequently, the breed came close to extinction.
Temperament: The Irish Red and White Setter is virtually identical in use and temperament to its cousin, the Irish Setter, but is more often found as a working gundog.


Kerry Beagle...»
Height at withers
: 55-63 cm. Weight: 25-30 kg.
Kerry BeagleAppearance: The coat colour can be black and tan, blue mottled and tan, white and tan, tan and whitem and white.
History: The Kerry Beagle is one of the most ancient breeds of Irish dog and is thought to have descended from a dog known vaguely as The Old Southern Hound.
Temperament: A vibrant hound built for hunting and endurance. They are also noted for their astonishing speed and independence.


Irish Water Spaniel..» (also known as Shannon Spaniel, Rat Tail Spaniel)
Height at withers
: 52-59 cm. Weight: 25-30 kg.
Irish Water Spaniel / Shannon Spaniel / Rat Tail SpanielAppearance: The coat consists of dense curls and is a solid liver colour. The breed is strongly built, and a bit taller and more squarish than other spaniels. The most distinguishing characteristic of these dogs is their long rat-like tails, which are a striking contrast to their otherwise curly coats.
History: Irish Water Spaniels share a common lineage with the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, and Barbet, but the ultimate origin of the breed is unknown. The modern breed as we know it was developed in Ireland in the 1830s.
Temperament: Irish Water Spaniels are intelligent, quick to learn, alert, and inquisitive. They are often shy around strangers. This is an active breed that requires lots of exercise.


Wheaten Terrier..» (also known as Irish Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier)
Height at withers
: 45-50 cm. Weight: 14-20 kg.
Wheaten Terrier / Irish Soft Coat Wheaten TerrierAppearance: Wheaten Terriers have a wheat-coloured coat with occasional black, white, or darker brown guard hairs. The coat needs regular trimming.
History: The Wheaten were originally bred in Ireland to be an all-purpose farm dog whose duties would have included herding, watching livestock, and hunting. They are believed to be related to the Kerry Blue Terrier.
Temperament: Irish Wheaten Terriers are known to be less aggressive and stubborn in nature than that of other terrier breeds. Their temperament is curious, friendly, and very sociable.


Kerry Blue...»
Height at withers
: 45-50 cm. Weight: 15-17 kg.
Kerry BlueAppearance: Puppies are born black; the blue appears gradually as the puppy grows older, usually up to 2 years of age.
History: The breed was used for hunting, cattle herding, dog fights, and guarding. Today, the Kerry is a companion and working dog.
Temperament: Like other terriers, they are very active, intelligent, friendly, stubborn, and love hunting.


Irish Terrier...» (also known as Irish Red Terrier)
Irish Terrier / Irish Red TerrierHeight at withers: 45 cm approximately. Weight: 11-12 kg.
Appearance: Squarely built, he resembles the Fox Terrier but is taller and racier.
History: Irish Terriers are believed to have descended from the rough haired Fox Terrier. The modern breed as we know it was developed in 1870.
Temperament: Like other terriers, they are very active, intelligent, friendly, stubborn, and love hunting.


Glen of Imaal Terrier...» (also known as "Glen")
Height at withers
: 35 cm approximately. Weight: 15-16 kg.
Glen of Imaal TerrierAppearance: The breed has a medium-length coat that is usually wheaten, from a light wheaten colour to a golden reddish shade.
History: The breed originates in Wicklow, Ireland, and was developed as a working terrier, proficient in hunting badger and fox.
Temperament: Glens adore human contact and are very friendly with children. Like other terriers, they are intelligent, inquisitive, and stubborn.




Welsh breeds


Welsh Springer SpanielWelsh Springer Spaniel...»
Height at withers: 42-47 cm. Weight: 16-20 kg.
Appearance: The coat is naturally straight, flat and soft to the touch. The colour is rich red and white only.
Temperament: Welsh Springer Spaniels are intelligent, alert and very active. Although they are often reserved around strangers, they enjoy human company and are very loyal.


Welsh Sheepdog...»
Height at withers
: 45 cm approximately. Weight: 15-20 kg.
Welsh SheepdogAppearance: Welsh Sheepdogs can be black, black and tan, black and white, blue, red, or roan.
History: The Welsh Sheepdog is part of Welsh Folklore. They were used for farm work and also for the protection of their masters' flocks from robbers and wolves.
Temperament: Welsh Sheepdogs are first and foremost working animals. Bred for hardiness and constant work, this is an inappropriate dog for inactive families or apartment dwellers.


Cardigan Welsh Corgi...» (also known as Cardigan)
Height at withers
: 25-30 cm. Weight: 12-15 kg.
Cardigan Welsh CorgiAppearance: Cardigans can be red, sable, brindle, or black with or without tan brindle. They usually have white on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, underneath, tip of the tail, and as a blaze on the head. Unlike the similar Pembroke Welsh Corg, the Cardigan's tail is never docked.
History: Welsh Corgis are believed to be descended from Swedish Vallhund dogs that came to Wales with the Vikings. They are also believed to be related to the Galician Quisquelo.
Temperament: Originally bred for herding sheep and cattle, Corgis have proven themselves as excellent companion animals and are outstanding competitors in sheepdog trials and dog agility.


Pembroke Welsh Corgi...» (also known as Pembroke)
Height at withere
: 25-30 cm. Weight: 12-15 kg.
Pembroke Welsh CorgiAppearance: Pembrokes can be red, sable, fawn, or black and tan with or without white markings on the legs, chest, neck, muzzle, underneath, and as a narrow blaze on the head. The breed has larger rounded ears and a foxy, flowing tail.
History: Welsh Corgis are believed to be descended from Swedish Vallhund dogs that came to Wales with the Vikings. The Pembroke was made popular by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, who keeps four at all times.
Temperament: Originally bred for herding sheep and cattle, Corgis are active and athletic dogs despite their short legs. They are very intelligent, happy, loving, and eager to please.


Welsh Terrier...» (also known as Welshie)
Welsh Terrier / WelshieHeight at withers: 40 cm approximately. Weight: 9 kg.
Appearance: The coat colour is red-brown with black marks.
History: Welsh Terriers are descended from the Old English Black and Tan Terriers. The modern breed as we know it was developed in the 1800s.
Temperament: Welshies are intelligent and friendly with children. Like other terriers, they are active dogs and need a lot of intellectual stimulation to stay agreeable.


Sealyham Terrier...»
Height at withers
: 27 cm approximately. Weight: 10.5 kg.
Sealyham TerrierAppearance: The coat colour is all white, or with lemon, tan, or badger markings, on head and ears.
History: The Sealyham Terrier was created in the 1850s by crossing Basset Hounds, Bull Terriers, the Fox Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier.
Temperament: Sealyham Terriers are energetic and playful, and can make good family pets. Like other terriers, they can be stubborn and may not be suitable for homes where there are other small pets.




Galician breeds


Galician Barn Dog / Palleiro..» (also known as 'Pastor Celta' / Celtic Shepherd)
Galician Barn Dog (Palleiro) / Celtic Shepherd (Pastor Celta)Height at withers: 57-65 cm. Weight: 25-35 kg.
Appearance: Palleiros are wolf-like type and strongly built. They come in four basic coat colours: wheaten, cinnamon, chestnut and black.
History: Celtic Shepherds would have been bred by the Galician Celts as an all-purpose farm dog. They were used for herding, watching livestock, and hunting.
Temperament: They are intelligent, calm, and reserved to strangers. They are also gentle and loyal, and they get along well with children and sometimes other animals.


Galician Pointer / Perdigueiro Galego...»
Height at withers
: 50-60 cm. Weight: 25-30 kg.
Galician Pointer (Perdigueiro Galego)Appearance: They have a short, rough coat that can be white, brindled, orange, or black, in any of these colours.
History: Galician Pointers share a common lineage with English, Portuguese, and Spanish Pointers. The modern breed as we know it was developed in the 1970s through crossbreeding with English and German Pointers.
Temperament: They are friendly, playful, and quick to learn. This is an active breed that requires lots of exercise.


Galician Hound / Podengo Galego...»
Galician Hound (Podengo Galego)Height at withers: 42 cm approximately. Weight: about 15 kg.
Appearance: The usual coat colour ranges from reddish to sandy, with white patches on the chest, forehead, tail, and paws.
History: The Galician Hound was saved from extinction in 1999 following a government plan to promote Galicia’s native dog breeds.


Galician Quisquelo / Quisquelo...» (also known as "Guicho")
Height at withers
: 34-42 cm. Weight: 20 kg approximately.
Quisquelo / GuichoAppearance: The usual coat colour ranges from brown to cinnamon.
History: The breed is very old, and is believed to share a common lineage with the Welsh Corgi and the Swedish Vallhund.
Temperament: Originally bred for hunting rabits, foxes and boars, Quisquelos are active and athletic dogs despite their short legs.




Breton breeds


Brittany Spaniel / Epagneul Breton...»
Brittany Spaniel (Epagneul Breton)Height at withers: 44-52 cm. Weight: 13-18 kg.
Appearance: The coat is of moderate length, flat, or wavy, with slight feathering on the ears and legs. The coat colour is mostly white with orange or liver spots.
History: Originally, the Epagneul Breton was bred for bird hunting. The breed was developed in Brittany in the 1800s.
Temperament: Brittanies are very outgoing, lively, and good with children. This is an active breed that requires lots of exercise.


Brittany Fawn Griffon / Griffon Fauve de Bretagne...»
Height at withers
: 47-55 cm. Weight: 25-30.
Brittany Fawn Griffon (Griffon Fauve de Bretagne)Appearance: The coat colour ranges from fawn to red.
History: Brittany Fawns are a very old breed, possibly from the 14th century or earlier. Fawns were used up to the 19th century to hunt wolves.
Temperament: The Griffon is a hunting dog, bred to be hardy and reliable, able to stand up to the harshest conditions. They are very friendly and adore human contact.


Fawn Brittany Basset / Basset Fauve de Bretagne...»
Height at withers
: 32-38 cm approximately. Weight: 25-30.
Fawn Brittany Basset (Basset Fauve de Bretagne)Appearance: Bassets are short legged dogs. The coat is short, dense, and wity. The coat colour fawn wheaten to deep red wheaten.
History: The breed was developed as a hunting dog from the larger Grand Fauve de Bretagne, a breed that is now extinct.
Temperament: Bassets are very loving and make good family dogs.



Submitted by Shona Anderson, July 2005


Are you looking for dog breeders in the Celtic countries?

» The Irish Kennel Club -
The IKC provides a register of purebred dogs in Ireland and issues export licenses and pedigree certificates. Membership, show dates, and newsletter.

» The Scottish Kennel Club - The SKC is the leading canine authority in Scotland, existing for the main purpose of promoting and encouraging the improvement and well being of dogs.

» The Welsh Kennel Club

»
Sociedade Canina Galega / The Galician Kennel Club

» Société Canine Bretonne / The Breton Kennel Club

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