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60 Tough Irish and Celtic Dog Names

Barbara Fitzgerald is an AKC Breeder of Merit and author of the column "Conversations with Champions" for the BCSA magazine, "Borderlines."

The Noble Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed, brought to Ireland around 7000 BC.

The Noble Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed, brought to Ireland around 7000 BC.

Strong Male Irish Dog Names

  • Aiden - The name is derived from "fire" and is typically represented by a stag. Aiden makes a lovely name for a big hunting dog like an Irish Wolfhound or Scottish Deerhound.
  • Braden - Derived from the Irish word for "salmon," the name comes from an ancient legend in which Fionn mac Cumhaill gains valuable knowledge from the "Salmon of Wisdom." This fish provides him with the knowledge he uses to lead a group of Irish mercenaries called the Fianna. Braden makes a great name for a powerful guard dog.
  • Brody - Means one who comes from a muddy place. A perfect name for a dog who enjoys splashing at the water’s edge or in his water bowl.
  • Colin - Means uproar or tumult; ideal for a high-energy dog breed like a Border Collie or Irish Setter.
  • Conall - Translates to “Powerful Wolf.” This also makes a great name for an Irish Wolfhound.
  • Conor – Modern spelling for High King of Irish legend, Conaire Mor.
  • Cormac - Name of the ancient High King Cormac Mac Airt, whose forty-year rule was marked by fairness and justice. Also spelled Cormack and Cormick.
  • Culkin - Means well-educated man, making it a clever name for an obedience prospect.
  • Declan - Means full of goodness. Elvis Costello fans may recognize his given name, Declan Patrick MacManus.
  • Dermott - Means without an enemy.
  • Dillan - Means a "flash of light" as well as a “faithful and loyal companion.”
  • Fergus – Means high energy; a good name for a high drive breed.
  • Finnian - Light or fair.
  • Gerard - Means spear carrier and brave with a spear, also a good hunting dog name.
  • Guinness - The most famous Irish Ale.
  • Kelly - Intelligent and bright.
  • Leary – Means the keeper of calves; a good name for a livestock guard dog.
  • Liam - Means strong-willed or tenacious.
  • Malachi - Strong angel and messenger from God.
  • Mannix – Means monk.
  • Padraig - Pronounced Paw-rik, means nobly born.
  • Pearse - Honors Patrick Pearse who helped earn Ireland's independence in 1916. Also, spelled Pierce and Piers.
  • Ronan - Means "sea." Legend has it that a seal child was swept to close to the shore and was captured in human, as the seal maiden. She is kept as the wife of a fisherman, and she bears him children, called the little Ronans. However, the seal maiden cannot contain her longing for the sea. In time, the seal maiden finds the "seal skin" that the fisherman has been hiding from her. She slips into the skin and returns to the sea, forever keeping close to the shore to keep an eye on her loved ones. Ronan makes an excellent name for any of the water-loving retrieving dogs.
The glamorous Irish Setter is a playful breed with a rollicking temperament that makes an ideal family companion.

The glamorous Irish Setter is a playful breed with a rollicking temperament that makes an ideal family companion.

Words That Mean Dog in The Irish Language

  • Madra
  • Gadhar
  • Rógaire
  • Alait
  • Zool, means "Male of the Species"

Irish Translation for Hound

  • Hunt
  • Spor
  • Zool


  • Brocaire

Gaelic Words for Puppy

  • Leaid
  • Buachaill
  • Cara - Means "Unnamed companion"
  • Dilis - Means "Loyal animal"
  • Lapa - Means "Paw"
  • Sealgaire - Means "Hunter"
  • Tafann - Means The verb "bark"
The Kerry Blue Terrier is an all around farm dog, performing herding, livestock protection and guard dog duties.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is an all around farm dog, performing herding, livestock protection and guard dog duties.

Famous Irish Surnames From History and the Arts

  • Beckett - Novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was the author of the play Waiting for Godot and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1969.
  • Bono - Born in Dublin, Ireland, the frontman of U2 was awarded Time Magazine's Person of the Year for his humanitarian efforts in 2005.
  • Cagney - James Cagney was an American actor, singer, and dancer. His career began in Vaudeville where he earned acclaim as a song-and-dance man. His early career in film typecast him as a gangster after roles in films like Public Enemy, where he famously ground a grapefruit in his moll's face. Staring as another great Irish American, George M. Cohan, Cagney made the leap back to singer and hoofer, earning a Best Actor Academy Award for the portrayal.
  • Geldof - Irish-born singer, songwriter and activist, Bob Geldof was the frontman of the Boomtown Rats and an organizer of Live Aid Concerts, which raised $48 million dollars. Additionally, he produced the single, Do They Know It's Christmas? which raised another $8 million for African famine victims.
  • Shaw - Famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, born in Dublin, Ireland, earned the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. Among his most famous works are Pygmalion, Caesar and Cleopatra and Man and Superman.
  • Stoker - Born Abraham Stoker, in Dublin Ireland, Bram is best remembered for his dark novel, Dracula.
  • Swift - Also born in Dublin, Ireland, author Jonathan Swift penned Gulliver's Travels in 1726.
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Lyrical Irish Cities and County Names

  • Cashel - The rock ruins of The Rock of Cashel, from which it gains its name, was known in pagan times as the Fairy Hill. It was the seat of the Kings of Munster, and it was here that St. Patrick is believed to have been baptized the Third King of Munster.
  • Cork - (Irish: Contae Chorcaí) The largest county in Ireland and the second-most populous, County Cork lies in the most Southern region of Ireland.
  • Dublin - Birthplace to many creative talents throughout the centuries.
  • Galway - A small town whose name means "Stoney River."
  • Kerry - County Kerry derives its name from the "people of Ciar." These people were known to be dark complected, perhaps the original dark Irish.
  • Kilkenny - Home of the "Kilkenny Cats," a term that refers to any tenacious fighter. An ideal name for a noble guard dog or a determined terrier.
  • Limerick - The fourth most populous city in Ireland, it was often considered the most beautiful in the country during the Renaissance. It lies at the head of the Shannon Estuary, where the river widens and flows into the Atlantic ocean.
The rare Irish Water Spaniel is also known as the Shannon Spaniel, and is one of the largest and oldest of the spaniel breeds.

The rare Irish Water Spaniel is also known as the Shannon Spaniel, and is one of the largest and oldest of the spaniel breeds.

Dog Names From Celtic Myth and Legend, the Fenian Cycle

Many Irish legends revolve around the adventures of Fionn (also written as Finn) and the Fianna of Ireland. The Fainna are an exemplary band of warriors and mercenaries whose tales (or kerns) with Fionn as their captain, make up the Fenian Cycle of Irish Legend.

Fionn is the son of Uail Mac Baiscne, captain of the Fianna, who is murdered by a rival band of warriors, the Clan-Morna. As Fionn is still a young boy at the time of his father's demise, Fionn is hidden away in the keeping of his aunt, a Druid called Bodhmall. His education was furthered by a warrior woman, Luaths Lurgann, who schooled him in the martial arts. Fionn was a good student, who, perhaps, learned his lessons too well, and accidentally killed his teacher, Lurgann. Under the tutelage of these women, Fionn becomes the swiftest runner and swimmer, possessed of superhuman qualities.

Fionn is then sent to live with the Druid, Finneces (also Finegas). Finneces has waited since Fionn's birth for the Salmon of Wisdom to rise up in his well, so that he might catch him and eat him, thus gaining his knowledge. The Salmon of Wisdom is actually the bard Fintan, who has lived through many incarnations and thusly gathered so much knowledge. Once the Salmon has been caught, Finneces sets it to roast on a spit, and asks Fionn to keep an eye on it. The roasting Salmon of Knowledge spits hot juices on Fionn's thumb, causing him to thrust his thumb in his mouth to cool his finger. In that instant, Fionn gains all of the Salmon's knowledge. In future tales, Fionn has only to suck on his thumb, when in need of a solution or information, and he is transported to an altered state, where he receives knowledge through mystical visions.

Fionn is a predecessor to King Arthur, the Once and Future King, through the concept of multiple incarnations, and is said to have divine strength and knowledge. Like Arthur his adventures gather round him a similar court of Knights of the Round Table. It is suggested that at Fionn's death, he rests and waits for return, as the need for Arthur arises.

Among Fionn's companions in the Fianna, his two most beloveds are his hunting dogs, Bran and Sceolan. Bran and Sceolan are actually Fionn's cousins. His mother's beautiful younger sister, Tuiren, is transformed into a dog by a vengeful fairy. During her life as a dog, Tuiren gives birth to two puppies, Bran and Sceolan. Tuiren is eventually rescued and returned to human form, and her get from her former life, become Fionn's most faithful companions.

© 2017 Barbara Fitzgerald


Nono on January 13, 2018:

Wow it is very help full thank you

craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on January 30, 2017:

Wonderful collection of names. I liked several of them! I would just love to see a similar collection of female names.

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