The great hound of Ireland
has a long history dating back to 301 AD where the Romans soon learned to view him
with wonder. The Irish Wolfhound has been a war dog, trained to pull men from
horses or chariots. They were also used to hunt elk, boar and wolves. Irish
law stated that only kings and nobles could own these dogs, and the number
owned by an individual was a sign of his wealth. These noble dogs have had an
almost magical history, surrounded by tales and folk lore. When the elk and wolf
in Ireland were hunted to extinction, it seemed that the Wolfhound might be
next, but Major H.D Richardson became interested in them in the mid-1800s. He
began to breed them with the Highland Deerhound who were very similar in breed.
Other breeders initiated their own breeding programs and soon a Captain George
Augustus Graham revitalised the breed. The first Irish Wolfhounds recognised by
the American Kennel Club occurred in 1897. Today the breed continues its
quiet dignified progress and is winning hearts for its gentle companionship. The way the Miniature Schnauzer acts you would think that he too came from
noble descent. But this feisty small dog was bred to hunt the rats that
infested homes and stables around the mid-19th Century. They were developed
from the Standard Schnauzer and kept the character and integrity of the breed.
While historical data is limited, the first recorded birth of the breed was in
October 1888, when a black female named Findel was born. The World Wars were
hard on dogs and some breeds were almost lost. But dedicated breeders prevailed,
and the Miniature Schnauzer's popularity skyrocketed in the after years. While
the coat color has changed from red, black and tan and yellow to a
distinguished silver and black, the small dog with the big attitude has
remained a popular breed.