Irish Terrier Dog Breed Information Guide


The Irish Terrier is a very old and well established breed. Hailing from the Emerald Isle, this Irish Terrier was first bred as a hunter dog but today he is better known as a beloved pet.

Few breeds can lay claim to sweeping changes to standards in the show ring, but the Irish Terrier and the Irish Terrier Club England of pioneered the abolishment of ear cropping in England. This practice, now set into law ultimately set the British standards for ear cropping that persist today.

Irish Terrier History

It is known that the Irish Terrier is one of the world’s oldest terrier breeds, but his exact lineage is unclear. Experts speculate that the Irish Terrier may have descended from the old Black and Tan Terrier and a larger, undetermined breed. There is speculation that a Wheaton Terrier and even an Irish Wolfhound played some part in the early creation of the Irish Terrier.

The Irish Terrier originated in Ireland during the 1700’s. There, the Irish Terrier was well known as a hunter of foxes, otter and vermin. He worked virtually unnoticed for nearly two hundred until suddenly the Irish Terrier became the focus of a debate and eventual legislation.

By the 1880’s the Irish Terrier had come into fashion and fanciers throughout Ireland and England welcomed the breed into their homes. Many Irish Terriers were groomed for the show ring, complete with docked tails and cropped ears. But in 1889, the Irish Terrier Club of England banned the practice of ear cropping and so began years of debate and eventual legislation. Eventually, ear cropping in all breeds was abolished and today, show dogs throughout England are disqualified for cropped ears.

Irish Terrier Appearance

The Irish Terrier is a mid-sized and graceful breed. He has a longer back than do other terriers and has a sturdy gait. The Irish Terrier’s broken coat is clipped close to his muscular body with longer, distinguishing whiskers framing his face. The Irish Terrier has a long and narrow face with small, intense eyes and V-shaped ears that drop forward. The expression on the Irish Terrier is serious and businesslike, even though his true temperament is jovial.

Irish Terrier Temperament

The Irish Terrier is a bit of a daredevil and is ever ready for action and adventure. He will willingly play for hours particularly if the game involves an element of hunting. The Irish Terrier is somewhat unusual in that he is exceedingly playful but not especially affectionate. And, this breed is not easy to train so sometimes fetching games become seek and destroy.

The Irish Terrier is not typically friendly towards other family pets (including children), and especially towards strangers. In fact, the Irish Terrier can show aggression toward other dogs, so be certain to keep him on his leash during walks. Off-leash doggie parks may not be prudent.

Indoors, the well trained and socialized Irish Terrier is polite and dignified. He will keep a respectful distance from his family but will not show aggression.

Irish Terrier Exercise Info

The Irish Terrier has an active mind and body. He needs daily vigorous exercise to keep him from becoming bored. Your Irish Terrier will make an excellent jogging or walking partner and skilful hunting or hiking companion. Optimally, these outings should range in the neighbourhood of five kilometres. In addition to his daily walk, the Irish Terrier will appreciate rigorous yard play.

The Irish Terrier and his owner will benefit greatly from committing to this exercise routine. Nothing but trouble comes from a bored Irish Terrier and if you can avoid his boredom, you may also avoid the destruction of your treasured Jimmy Choo sling-backs. Clearly, exercise is a must.

Irish Terrier Grooming Info

There are surprisingly high grooming demands for the Irish Terrier. To keep his coat in tip-top condition, his coat needs regular brushing, perhaps two or three times per week. As well, the Irish Terrier’s thick, wiry coat will need to be groomed every few months. How the coat is groomed depends largely on whether your Irish Terrier is a show dog. Typically, Irish Terriers that are ring-bound are professionally stripped two to four times yearly. Less glamorous Irish Terriers will need to be clipped on about the same schedule, but to a different effect. Either way, grooming the fur softens the Irish Terrier’s wiry coat and the glossiness will soon follow. Finally, your Irish Terrier’s ears will need to be trained to fall properly over his forehead. Without this, his ears can settle in an embarrassingly wonky position.

Irish Terrier Training Info

Perhaps he just couldn’t be bothered, but the Irish Terrier is typically resistant to training. This scrappy and independent breed will challenge his owner throughout his life unless the owner commits to proper early training of this Terrier. There are a few tips on training your Irish Terrier yourself, but there is no shame in hiring a professional trainer.

Typically, the Irish Terrier will respond to training with treats or toys, just be certain to reward your Irish Terrier immediately after a command is obeyed. Keep the sessions short, perhaps ten minutes will do and end them before your Irish Terrier becomes bored. As the owner, it is important to establish that you have control over when the sessions end. Finally, never use harsh methods on your Irish Terrier. Leash yanking, nose slapping and the like will do little to garner respect and obedience from your Irish Terrier.

Irish Terrier Health Info

The Irish Terrier is one of the healthiest breeds in the Terrier Group. There are no common major health concerns. Minor health concerns for your Irish Terrier include urinary stones and rare related complications.

Irish Terrier Right Breed Info

The Irish Terrier is an independent daredevil with a bit of a stubborn streak. His penchant for indoor relaxation can shift into high gear in seconds if raucous play is on offer. The Irish Terrier makes a wonderful pet, but first time dog owners may find the Irish Terriers more than they bargained for. Similarly, people who want a dog undemanding of their attention may find the Irish Terrier inexplicably destructive. However, for active families with children beyond the toddler age, the Irish Terrier makes an excellent pet.

When purchasing your Irish Terrier, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.

More Information about the Irish Terrier Dog Breed

Irish Terrier on Wikipedia