On the 10th March 2016, An Post issued four stamps to celebrate four uniquely Irish dog breeds: An Irish Wolfhound, an Irish Red Setter, a Sheepdog and a Kerry Blue.
Dogs are amongst the most popular pets in the world, with a long history of providing companionship to humans around the world! The bond between humans and dogs is the most widespread form of inter-species bonding and keeping dogs as companions has a long history throughout the world.
The Irish Wolfhound (Irish: Cú Faoil) is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), specifically a very large sighthound from Ireland. The name originates from its purpose—wolf hunting with dogs—rather than from its appearance. Originally developed from war hounds to one used for hunting and guarding, Irish Wolfhounds can be an imposing sight due to their formidable size.
The breed is very old; there are suggestions it may have been brought to Ireland as early as 7000 BC. These dogs are mentioned, as cú (variously translated as hound, Irish hound, war dog, wolf dog, etc.) in Irish laws and in Irish literature which dates from the 5th century or, in the case of the Sagas, from the old Irish period – AD 600-900. The word “Cu” often became an added respected prefix on the names of warriors as well as kings denoting that they were worthy of the respect and loyalty of a Cu.
Irish Red Setter
The Irish Setter (Irish: sotar rua, literally “red setter“), is a setter, a breed of gun dog and family dog. The term Irish Setter is commonly used to encompass the show-bred dog recognised by the American Kennel Club as well as the field-bred Red Setter recognised by the Field Dog Stud Book.
One of the first references to the ‘Setter,’ or setting dog, in literature can be found in Caius’s De Canibus Britannicus, which was published in 1570 (with a revised version published in 1576). Irish Setters get along well with children, other dogs, and any household pets, and will enthusiastically greet visitors. Even though they do well with household pets, small animals may pose a problem for this breed, as they are a hunting breed.
The Border Collie (often just referred to as a sheepdog) is a working and herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep.
Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and some dog sports. They are often cited as the most intelligent of all domestic dogs. Border Collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the world.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is also known as the Irish Blue Terrier (Irish: An Brocaire Gorm).
Originally bred to control “vermin” including rats, rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters and hares, over time the Kerry became a general working dog used for a variety of jobs including herding cattle and sheep, and as a guard dog.
Despite a Kerry Blue winning Crufts (the most important UK dog show) in 2000, it remains an “unfashionable” breed, and is distinctly uncommon; however, it not as threatened as some of the other terrier breeds
Date of Issue: March 10, 2016
Value & Quantity: 4 x 70c block (208k)
Design: Detail.Design Studio
Stamp Size: 29.8mm x 40.6mm
Colour: Multicolour with phosphor tagging
Paper: TR PVA Gum 102gsm
Make – up: Sheetlets of 16
Perforations: 14.1 x 14.3
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Cartor Security Printing