Kerry blue terriers, Irish terriers, and soft-coated wheaten terriers are all multipurpose working dogs. They will also herd, if that’s what’s required of them.
Kerry blues or “Irish blues” are actually the unoffiical national dog of Ireland. Irish patriot Mick Collins was a great patron of the breed.
These dogs had always been kept by the common people of Ireland. They were known to the average Irish family far more than dogs like wolfhounds, water spaniels, and setters. Those breeds were the dogs of the nobility, which in some epochs of Ireland’s history meant that these were were the dogs of the Anglo-Saxon colonizers.
It would make more sense for the Irish people to adopt a breed that was less associated with the nobility and more symbolic of the new Irish nation.
Mick Collins supported a resolution in Irish parliament to elevate his beloved blue terriers to this national symbol, and it is difficult to be sure if this resolution even appeared before the body. According to the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation’s webite:
The Dail Eireann, (The new Irish Parliament), was formed for the “new state,” and there is record of Michael Collins sponsoring an Act of Oireachtas (Act of Parliament) to elevate the Irish Blue to the status of National Dog of Ireland, however there is no record of this act being heard or legislation passed. This is not to say that it was not heard, just that there are no official records, even after extensive research. Records of this period are sketchy to say the least, and sometimes distorted or destroyed by forces loyal to the old regime. But one would imagine that with the formation of a new “State” and all the ensuing and associated instability, the passing of legislation on a National Dog was not a priority. After the death of General Michael Collins no other person “championed” the breed in the Dail and the initiative was lost.
Many people think that the national dog of Ireland is the wolfhound. I am not sure where this comes from.
There have never been any official national dog of Ireland. The closest any breed has ever come to receiving this distinction is the Kerry blue terrier.
Maybe the resolution actually passed, but record of its passage didn’t survive.
So it is not technically inaccurate to call this breed the national dog of Ireland.
We just don’t know. Maybe the evidence will be more forthcoming.
I hope you know by now that I always do a Kerry blue terrier post on St. Patrick’s Day.