Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier (Glen of Imaal Terrier)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
max 35,5
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
wheaten (from a light wheaten colour to a golden reddish shade), blue brindle
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great watchdog
  • wonderful family companion                    
  • sheds very little
  • versatile
  • bold
  • independent
  • requires a considerable amount of daily exercises
  • needs regular grooming
  • not ideal for families with small children

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is an indefatigable, brave and tough little dog with temperament of a true terrier. For centuries it has served as a hunting dog, a ratter and mouser, and even as a turnspit dog. This breed is also prized for its communicability, which makes it a wonderful family pet.

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier was granted its name in honour of the place of its origin, the Glen of Imaal Valley, which is obviously situated in Ireland. The breed came to existence in the XVI century when Queen Elizabeth I gave up the territories in the Valley to Hessian and Flemish soldiers as a reward for their service. Soldiers arrived to their new dominions with their local hounds. It’s commonly thought that these wirehaired and short dogs were of the French origin and looked much like the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen or the Basset Fauve de Bretagne. Naturally they were interbred with local dogs and greatly evolved over time. At the same time the settlers began to intentionally develop the terrier-type of dog with a particular number of talents that would answer the needs of new life conditions.

Throughout its history the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier was responsible for performing several tasks including hunting, keeping homes free of vermin and operating the turnspit. The turnspit was a household device, which resembled a wheel. This wheel was fastened to the floor or hung from the ceiling and was linked to a spit over the household hearth by a sheave. The dog was put inside the wheel to move and turn the spit so that the meat would be evenly fried. The breed kept working hard as a vermin exterminator and turnspit operator well into the XIX century. By the end of this century the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier became known worldwide and participated in number of dog’s show.

With the technological advance chores of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier lost their former meaning though it remained highly effective as vermin eradicator. The First World War pretty badly affected breeding practices as well as many dogs were left behind by their owners due to the lack of funds or to some other reasons. The breed’s number fell in such a way that it was threatened by a complete extinction. Post-war years were marked with revival of interest to the breed but the Second World War interfered with this process. So the Glen of Imaal Terrier was once again in the imminent danger of disappearance. Its rehabilitation began in the 70s of the XX century partially thanks to English breeders who actively participated in its fate after the war.

Presently the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is an internationally recognised breed, which has approval of such reputable dog’s organisations as the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and the American Kennel Club. The breed remains exceedingly rare but its small but loyal following is determined to make sure its long-term survival.

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier was characterised with irrepressible courage in performing its hunting assignments and it still retains much of its working drive. Nonetheless it has all necessary qualities for becoming a wonderful family dog. A well-socialised member is quite alright with courteous children. This typical terrier possesses rather hot temper and therefore its interaction with small children should never go unsupervised.

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier displays suspiciousness in the presence of unfamiliar people. It doesn’t tolerate caress from strangers and may respond to it aggressively. The dog has deep booming voice so behind the closed door it can be easily mistaken for much larger canine. Actually without timely training its uncontrolled barking can turn into a very unwelcomed habit that will bother your neighbours. The combination of natural vigilance and formidable bark makes it highly useful as a watchdog. But due to its rather modest size this breed won’t become an effective guardian of the house.

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier has mixed reputation with other dogs. It isn’t apt to initiate a fight first but it definitely won’t avoid confrontation if other canine is acting aggressively. This dog won’t stop its assault even if its adversary exceeds it considerably in size and power. That’s why its introduction to an unfamiliar dog should always be closely supervised. The breed is a true hunter in heart and poses visible danger for non-canine animals. Furthermore some individual specimens should never be left alone even with a home cat with which they have been brought up since their puppyhood.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• aortic stenosis;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• skin conditions and irritations;
• allergies;
• eye problems;
• tendency to overeat, leading to excessive weight gain.

The grooming of the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is not as time-consuming as it may seem at the first glance at this dog. Its coat should be brushed once a week to keep it free of dead hair. The breed sheds minimally.

To maintain its natural rustic appearance the dog’s hair require regular plucking once or twice a year. This procedure doesn’t bring any discomfort for the dogs and can be conducted by its owner himself. Thanks to its dense coat the breed adapts well to all kind of weather. Moreover it doesn’t prone to tangling or getting dirty so the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier requires only occasional bath.


The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is a strong-willed and independent dog whose training can be quite a challenge. Be mindful that this dog will obey only to a strong and calm handler, which should always keep control over the situation. Patient and consistent attitude is essential in the work with it since majority of its specimens retains its puppy light-heartedness and mischievousness much longer than it usually happens with other dogs.

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is sensitive to harshness in your tone or harsh corrective methods of training and reacts to them either with a grudge or with defensive behaviour. That’s why you should motivate your dog to work with its favourite treats and gentle encouraging words.

Despite its moderate size the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is very vigorous and mobile dog, which requires intensive physical activity on a daily basis to feel itself content and happy. The dog should receive at least an hour walk every single day but it would be glad to have an opportunity to spend its exuberant energy in playing and running in a securely enclosed area.

The Irish Glen of Imaal is apt to digging so your bed flowers can suffer from this nasty habit. It’s wise to remember that under-exercised dog will demonstrate its frustration with life by destroying your possessions, being unreasonably nervous, aggressive and disobedient.