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Celtic Hound
Hilton of cadboll stone Andrew Gibb 1856.jpg
Other names Irish Greyhound
Origin Ireland
Breed status Extinct
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
Denario de la Gens Postumia (74-73 a.C.)
The Corbridge Lanx, 4th century AD, from Corbridge, Northumberland, Roman Britain, British Museum (15524675676)

The Celtic hounds were a breed of dogs in Gaelic Ireland described in Irish legend. Hounds can be found in Celtic jewelry designs and paintings as far back as the 17th century.

In legends

The Irish word for "hound" derives from the Primitive Irish cuna, which is from Proto-Celtic * ("dog", "wolf"), which in turn derives from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwṓ, "dog."

Many Irish myths and legends include mentions of hounds. One of the most famous involves the Celtic hero Cúchulainn (the Hound of Ulster) or (the Hound of Culann) who killed a blacksmith's Celtic hound in self-defense. When Culann, the blacksmith, asked who would now guard his household, the young Setanta offered to take the dog's place for a year, while training a pup to replace the dead dog. This gained Setanta the nickname of 'the Hound of Culann' or Cú Chulainn. Cuchulainn went on to become one of the greatest warrior legends of that era.

Bran and Sceolan were the most famous dogs of the poet warrior, Fionn mac Cumhaill. The mother of Bran and Sceolan was Tuiren, Fionn Mac Cumhaill's aunt, transformed into a hound by a Sidhe woman Uct Dealbh, irritated by Tuiren's marriage with Uct Dealbh's husband.

In Welsh mythology, Gwyn ap Nudd was the ruler of Annwn (the Underworld) and escorted the souls of the dead there, leading a pack of supernatural hounds, called the Cŵn Annwn (Hounds of Annwn) (see also Wild Hunt). Another well-known Welsh legend is that of Prince Llewellyn 's hound Gelert, who was unjustly slain by his master after being wrongly thought to have killed a child.


The Galgo Espanol breed is thought to be descended from the Celtic hounds, as is the Tyrolean Hound.

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