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The Curious History of Irish Dogs (PB)

The Curious History of Irish Dogs (PB)


There are nine breeds of dog that are native to Ireland: four terriers, three gun dogs, and two hounds. In The Curious History of Irish Dogs, David Blake Knox tells the remarkable stories of each of the nine breeds, and reveals how they have become inextricably linked to the human beings with whom they share the island.


Irish Wolfhounds stalked through ancient Celtic mythology, while Kerry Beagles were among the victims of the Land War in the 1880s. Charles Stewart Parnell insisted that his Red Setter stay with him when he was on his death bed. During World War One, hundreds of Irish Terriers served on the front lines of the trenches. Michael Collins wanted to make the Kerry Blue the National dog of Ireland. The Glen of Imaal Terrier was deliberately bred to have a genetic defect, while the Irish Water Spaniel was reputed to be descended from the dobhar-chú – a Celtic spirit.

Six of Ireland’s nine native breeds of dog are now considered vulnerable to extinction, but they are an integral part of our cultural narrative and have added both to our social history – and to our happiness.


‘As well as being well nigh on comprehensive and dispassionate in its approach to Irish canine history, Blake Knox’s book is full of surprising snippets of information… and every facet of canine appreciation in Ireland is efficiently tackled in this lively account. Moreover, the area in which canine and social history intersect makes for an original appraisal.’ – The Irish Times

‘To be absolutely clear, this is not merely a book for the dog lovers but an insightful study of Ireland’s social and cultural history as viewed through the prism of our nine native breeds. The Curious History of Irish Dogs is a work that bears the weight of its considerable research and learning lightly and Mr Blake Knox’s lucid prose is as entertaining as it is informative.’ – The Doggie Do

An interesting and quirky examination of the role that dogs have played in Ireland’s social and political history over the last few hundred years’. – The Irish News

About the Author

David Blake Knox received his PhD at Cambridge University. He worked as a TV producer for RTÉ in Dublin, the BBC in London and the HBO in New York. While at RTÉ, he devised and produced the cult Nighthawks TVseries, and was a director of TV production. He founded Blueprint Pictures in 2002, which specialises in Arts and Entertainment programmes. He is the author of two other books, Ireland and the Eurovision and Hitler’s Irish Slaves (New Island, April 2017).



David Blake Knox


C-Format, Paperback





Release Date

September 2018

Additional Information

Weight .350 g
Dimensions .215 × .135 × .18 mm


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