We are all a wee bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! That’s why we wanted to explore some of the most beautiful dog breeds from the Emerald Isle and the specific ways you can provide each of them enrichment.

Irish Wolfhound: “Cú Faoil”

This gentle giant is one of the largest, and oldest, breeds in existence. Originally bred to fight wolves, this breed has a long history of assisting in wars and being a favorite of royalty. They are called Cú Faoil which means “war” or “wolf” dog. Their long legs can cover lots of ground, so they need lots of room to roam.

Wolfhounds are actually a class of sighthounds, which means they are most engaged when vision is engaged. They are fascinated with puzzles, like interactive feeders, and they love to chase just about anything that moves. They love the hunt, so consider adding a lure course to your yard. They’ll also enjoy chasing after remote control toys. 

As they grow older, choose activities that are less intense. For example, a Bacon flavored bubble chasing toy is a low impact activity that preserves their joints but keeps them active and engaged.

5 Irish Dog Breeds & Enrichment They Love

Irish Setter: “Madra Rua”

This elegant red dog boasts superior hunting skills and the impulse to run miles each day. Their name in Gaelic is Madra Rua, which means “red dog”.  Durable, soft-mouth, waterproof squeaky toys are a favorite of this breed!

This beautiful breed is known for their hunting prowess, and are most often recognized as waterfowl retrievers. That is just one reason why it’s so important to keep him stimulated and active through enrichment, or you risk having a dog with a high prey drive and an art for escaping your yard.

These dogs need a lot of exercise if you don’t have a large property with regular access to lakes and ponds. Get these active dogs involved with field trials, agility, tracking and hunting exercise to keep them stimulated. You’ll also gain a lot more canine respect by using nutritional enrichment (like healthy treats in simple treat puzzles) for training and a healthy diet to keep their beautiful coats sleek and soft.

Glen of Imaal: “Brocaire Uí Mháil”

Their name in Irish is Brocaire Uí Mháil (meaning “Cairn of Imaal”). This enthusiastic breed of terrier was originally created to root out badgers from gardens and you’ll quickly discover they are just as fast and intelligent as their prey. They have a strong hunting instinct and need for thoughtful activity.

Enrichment for these active dogs should include digging activities. Consider adding a new dig pit into the backyard to keep them burrowing out an escape. If you have an indoor-only dog, make sure their walks include lots of sniffing and digging.

Consider adding interactive puzzles to feeding time and look at toys like the iDig Digging Toy from iFetch as a fun way to offset their digging instinct even in the home. Scent enrichment is the way to keep them engaged. Adding a dig pit to your yard will keep them from digging under the fence when you’re not home.

Irish Water Spaniel

Water games are a must when you have a spaniel! These sporting dogs are natural swimmers so be sure to have a lake or pond nearby that they can access. Sensory enrichment is a must or you may find yourself dealing with excessive barking and behavior problems.

Their double coat is water resistant and designed for retrieving fowl from the water. This makes them a natural for water games and retrieving just about anything. Their favorite toys will be waterproof and soft mouthed toys that float. Consider picking up some WaterWubba toys, which will quickly become their favorite!  

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Strong, but gentle, these terriers are love activities that get them active and outdoors. Agility is a natural fit since it allows them to use their physical strength as well as their smarts. These high-energy dogs require lots of stimulation and exercise; best provided when other dogs are not around, as they usually prefer to be the sole light of their owner’s eye.

They high-energy physical enrichment like lure coursing and agility. But in and around your home, you should provide them with lots of interesting things to do, like DogTV (which helps enrich all aspects of a dog’s life) or chasing over this an interactive robot mouse. 

Kelly Blue Terrier: “Brocaire Gorm”

The Kelly Blue Terrier was bred in the mountainous regions of Ireland. Brocaire Gorm is their Irish translation which means “blue terrier”.

These dogs are happiest when they don’t have to share you with a pack or other people. Nosework enrichment are a great way of keeping this intelligent dog out of trouble. Hide treats around the house or yard and let them hunt out the reward. Durable scented toys are great options for this breed.

Keep them out of trouble with new training and tricks – this intelligent dog needs lots of engagement with their owner, so teaching them new tricks is a great way to keep them active and engaged. They prefer one-on-one interaction with their favorite people.

Whichever breed of dog you choose, remember that sensory enrichment and exercise is the best way to alleviate any anxiety.

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