Irish Terrier

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red, red-wheaten, yellow-red
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Pros Cons

  • buoyant and playful

  • adapts well to any kind of living condition

  • becomes an excellent friend for well-behaved children

  • alert watcher

  • prone to be very noisy

  • doesn’t get along well with other dogs and street animals

  • needs sizeable amount of regular physical exercise


The Irish Terrier is reputed to be almost 2000 years old and the only sad fact in its history is that it was the first breed experienced the ears cropping. This breed of terriers is the rarest and most expensive one, pedigree puppies of which are not this easy to find. Many admirers assert that this expense is worth it, since this dog could be the dog of your dream.


The Irish Terrier’s first paintings, in spite of the fact, that the breed’s so ancient, are dated 1700. It was found in Cork of Ireland and named after this country. This breed is probably originated from an extinct Black-and-Tan Terrier and a bigger wheaten-coloured one.

This dog was used as a hunting, guarding, ratter, and military dog. The Irish Terrier was appreciated for its versatility and have served as a laborious farm dog for many centuries. This dog was famed for its resoluteness and determination in pursuit of the quarry as well as for its almost imprudent bravery in fighting such dangerous creatures as foxes. Apart from this predator, it was also utilised in hunting rats, rabbits, otters and badgers. The vast majority of these dogs combined the role of a hard worker with the life of a gentle and faithful companion animal.

Initially the Irish Terrier entered the conformation ring under its present name in 1875 at a Dog Show held in Glasgow. In 1879 Erin and Killney Boy initiated a breeding program that produced lots of high-quality breed members. They contributed a great deal in its development and promotion so in the 80s of XIX century this dog ranked 4th among the most popular breeds in England.

At first the Irish Terrier existed in a few colours, including grey, black and tan, brindle, but by the early XX century its specimens with all-red coat prevailed.

The breed earned lots of fanciers in the US as well. It was presented at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1881, then, already in 1885, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered it.

The fearlessness of this dog made it an effective messenger and sentinel on the battlefronts of the World War I. It’s funny that the Irish Terrier has slowly lost its popularity in dog shows, but still is beloved among dog lovers, performing its natural functions in the present-day world. It also retains most of its working attainments and it’s still perfectly able of carrying out its initial hunting and guarding duties.


The Irish Terrier was created to be a ratter and a watchdog, and as such, it is spirited, curious, devoted and smart. The dog likes riveting the attention of its masters with its clever pranks and can experience a real stress if left without their company for any significant time interval. This breed is prone to be yappy so make sure to learn your pet to quite down on command.

Naturally such a dog is a true guardian, but often a well-socialized member treats strangers friendly. However the hotheaded Irish Terrier commonly has difficult times controlling its explosive temper and can become unpredictably aggressive towards unfamiliar people (especially its under socialised specimens). In general it can be turned into a very reliable watcher, given its unfailing vigilance and sensitivity.

The Irish Terrier loves living in a big family with active kids, but there’s a limit to everything. In other words, the pet must be respected and, for example, not pulled by its tail and ears. However it adores children and perfectly suits a family, where someone’s home during the most day.

The Irish Terrier doesn’t like mice, hamsters or other dogs, especially of the same sex, but they can get along well with familiar cats. Nonetheless this fact doesn’t exclude its utmost belligerence towards street cats and any prey-like moving object that comes in its way. This dog should never be trusted around strange dogs as it won’t hesitate to start a fight with other canine that is twice (or more) of its size.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· elbow dysplasia

· hip dysplasia

· hypothyroidism

· Willebrand’s disease


The Irish Terrier has to be well groomed. This grooming isn’t very difficult but requires time and patience. Its double coat sheds seldom but needs to be brushed regularly with a natural bristle brush.

Its hair needs manual stripping in order to preserve the natural texture and slightly unkempt look. Of course lots of owners of these dogs, who don’t intend to show them, actually prefer to regularly trim their pets.

Wash your Irish Terrier when it’s necessary. Trim nails every month and brush teeth three times a week. Proper amount of attention should be paid to care of the dog’s ears that should be periodically examined and cleaned (if needed).


The Irish Terrier is extremely intelligent and learns fast and easily. Those character traits of the breed sound great, and they are, but still genius is not born but made. Early training and socialization bear fruit: you’ll become the owner of a healthy, strong and wonderful life companion.

Just be sure your trainings are not boring and consistent. Be nice and at the same time firm. Show the dog your priority and don’t let it barking without any reason. The Irish Terrier usually responds to maltreatment with reciprocal aggression and so its training should be based solely on positive reinforcement.


It goes without saying that the Irish Terrier asks for much activity outside, because it’s not a homebird. One hour of walking every other day and romping should be your routine. The Irish Terrier as a hunter adores seeking out something, so you can suggest such command like «search a toy». Most likely your ideas will be exhausted, but the dog won’t get tired.

It’s worth to notice though that this dog adjusts well to any living situation and will make a wonderful companion animal for an apartment dweller. However, if it’s deprived of chances to expand its excessive energy the Irish Terrier will find its own way to amuse itself by destroying your furniture and other possessions.