March 17, 2012 St. Patrick's Day is a time when we celebrate all things Irish. For pet lovers, the best way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day may be to spend it with your Irish dog or cat.
Probably the most popular Irish dog breed is the Irish Setter, a gorgeous dark reddish-brown dog with a flowing feathery coat and fringed tail. At 60 to 70 pounds, they are not small dogs, but they have a sweet disposition and a playful nature that makes them great family pets.
The Irish Wolfhound, at 100-plus pounds, is the tallest of all dogs. This is not a good dog to keep in confined quarters – it needs room to stretch those long legs – but it, too makes a great family pet because of its intelligence and non-aggressive temperament.
The Irish Terrier is small at around 25 pounds, and full of energy. These spirited dogs served as messengers and sentinels in World War I. You may have seen them at half-time of the Notre Dame football games where they served as mascots for years.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is named for County Kerry in Ireland where it was bred for more than a hundred years. A medium-sized dog at 35-40 pounds, the pups are born black, but gradually fade to a blue-gray by the time they are around 18 months old. It's a great family pet, with lots of energy, but it was bred to be a herder so it may not be a great choice for a home with other pets.
And for you cat lovers, there's the Manx cat which originally came from the Isle of Man off the coast of Ireland. Most folks recognize Manx cats because of their tail, which is usually very short or non-existent. According to one legend the Manx lost its tail when boarding the ark – its tail got caught because Noah was in such a hurry to close the door.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day we acknowledge the contributions these special animals have made to our lives, along with all their cousins who have come to us from all around the globe. As different as each is from the other, they all have one thing in common – they have such a special relationship with us humans that we call them, as a group, our best friends, when we're speaking of pets