Why it should seem odd to someone that a language has more than
one word to call a dog is beyond me. In English, afterall, we
distinguish among many breeds. Would not the esteemed "ancient Irish" do
the same? You would have different names for dogs which did different
kinds of work. There are hundreds of breeds, about eight breeds local to
Ireland, as I recall, but some breeds are very specific, like the Glen of
Imaal Terrier, which is a dog, a terrier, and a Glen of Imaal Terrier.
Anyway, laughing at "ancient Irish" or alleging that a writer
used "dusty tomes of reference," does not answer the question.
A recent issue of ARCHAEOLOGY IRELAND (POBox 69, Bray, Eire)
Vol 5, #4 (Winter 1991) features a long article on "The Dog In
Prehistoric Ireland," which might help the scoffers to see what is being
discussed here. Or, for a complete 1,000 page treatise, go consult
Alfred DeQuoy's IRISH WOLFHOUND SAGA, or any of his earlier books on dogs
in Ireland, particularly THE IRISH WOLFHOUND IN LITERATURE AND LAW.
As an aside, there are listed in those "dusty tomes" the names
of nearly 300 individual Irish Wolfhounds, not simply Bran, Finn's
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