Animals

'The Size Of A Small Horse': Irish Guards Receive New Dog Mascot

The canine, who is named Turlough Mór after a 12th century Irish King, is an Irish Wolfhound - the tallest of all dog breeds.

The Irish Guards has received its new Regimental Mascot during a handover ceremony at Wellington Barracks, central London. 

Turlough Mór (pronounced Tur-Lock more), an Irish Wolfhound, is six months old and already "the size of a small horse".

He was formally handed over to 1st Battalion Irish Guards by Regimental Adjutant Major (Ret’d) Niall Hall.

Turlough Mór is the 17th Regimental Mascot of the Irish Guards and replaces Domhnall who retired last year.

Like the 16 mascots that preceded him, Turlough Mór is also an Irish Wolfhound and named after an ancient Irish King.

However, on a day-to-day basis, he will be known by his kennel name, Séamus.

Turlough Mór of Connaught lived from 1106–1156 and ruled as High King of Ireland from 1136-1156.

In the lead-up to the ceremony, the canine got acquainted with military music from the Regimental Band of the Irish Guards which he will lead on parade when the unit returns to ceremonial duties.

Turlough Mór will be permanently based with 1st Battalion in Hounslow, west London.

He will live alongside the Guardsmen and will have a major public-facing role in recruiting events and ceremonial occasions.

Turlough Mór's first formal engagement is expected to be on St Patrick's Day in March next year.

He was acquired from his breeder in North Yorkshire in late October and has spent four weeks with his new handler, Drummer Adam Walsh, from Dublin, at the Defence Animal Training Centre at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.

Turlough Mór’s first formal engagement is expected to be on St Patrick’s Day in March 2021, when a gift of shamrock from the Royal Family is distributed to the regiment.

Dog Handler, Drummer Adam Walsh, said: "It's been difficult training him, but he's coming along very, very well since the first time we got him.

"He has that puppy mentality. He's just growing out of it now at the minute.

"He's not very patient sometimes... but he's getting there."

The unit will return to full-time State Ceremonial and Public Duties early in 2022 by which time Turlough Mór will be fully-trained and ready to lead them on parade.

Many members of the Irish Guards will have to wait to meet their new mascot as they are currently deployed in Liverpool providing support to the community COVID-19 testing programme.

The Irish Guards has spent most of the spring supporting the NHS on the Isle of Wight and in the south of England.