Irish Terrier | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The guard, hunting dog is the Irish Terrier. It is also called the “universal rural dog.” This name is justified by the unpretentiousness of the breed, their ability to survive in any conditions.

This is a born leader. He is infinitely loyal to his family, fearless, will not yield to any danger. Therefore, it can become a loyal companion and responsible guardian of property for its owner.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier is a very intelligent, bold and energetic breed, which turns out to be an excellent choice for people who get along well with physical activity. If you want to know more about this wonderful breed, in this article you will find information of great interest.

Breed history

The homeland of the Irish terrier is Ireland. This breed is one of the oldest on the globe. But officially it is believed that these dogs appeared in the mid-nineteenth century.

The history of the breed is not exactly known. There are different versions regarding its occurrence and regarding which types of dogs are the ancestors of the Irish terrier.

According to one version, the direct ancestor of the modern Irish terrier is a black and tan wire-haired terrier. It was bred two hundred years ago for small rodent hunting and fox hunting. Now, unfortunately, this breed is considered extinct.

Another version indicates that in the ancestors of the Irish terrier there is a large wheaten terrier. Inhabited the area of ​​the Irish county of Cork. He is also considered the progenitor of Welsh and Lakeland Terriers.

There is another version, but it is the most implausible and little confirmed by facts. According to it, the Irish Terrier came from the Irish Wolfhound. In other words, it is a small copy of the wolfhound. The relationship, of course, between these breeds exists, but it’s very distant.

The Irish Terrier was officially recognized as an independent breed in 1870. After that, for nine years, breeding was somewhat chaotic. Representatives of the breed were distinguished by a variety of sizes, colors and body types.

Seriously, the breeders engaged in breeding in 1879. The purpose of the breeding was to obtain standard Irish terriers with certain sizes and coat colors.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Physical characteristics of the Irish terrier

The Irish terrier is on the list of medium sized dogs. Representatives of the breed are distinguished by a strong physique with highly developed muscles. They can be called strong, massive, but not rude.

This terrier is not chunky and not clumsy. It is flexible, moves easily, one might say elegantly.

The growth of sexually mature individuals is 47-48 cm, weight is about 10-12 kg.

On a comparatively long neck, a medium-sized head is kept, elongated, without wrinkles. The skull is flat.

Small sized ears are triangular in shape. Hanging, hanging not from the side, like the hounds, but forward, close to the cheekbones. The shade of hair on the ears must be darker than on the rest of the body.

The eyes of the Irish terrier are relatively small, dark. Convex eyes are unacceptable, and light eye color is not welcome.

The nose is medium sized, black.

Cheekbones are not full. Jaws are powerful with excellent grasping length. The lips are black, not saggy. The teeth are strong. Scissor bite or straight.

The top line is flat, the back is strong. The chest is deep, powerful, but not wide.

The legs are smooth, with well-developed muscles, bony, quite long. Paws rounded, not large. Fingers are arched.

The tail is long, set high. Without suspension and tow. If docked, then three quarters.

The coat of the Irish terrier is medium-long, dense, very thick, hard to the touch. On the face is a beard and mustache, neat, not too lush.

The allowed color is monophonic. Many Irish terrier dogs with red and wheat, and small white marks on the legs and chest are not considered a defect. Ears are always a tone darker than the main color.

According to historical facts, once in Kerry there were only black or black-brown terriers, in Antrim – white, brown and black, and in Whiteley – red with all the existing shades.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Character and temperament of the Irish terrier

Most of the time, the Irish terrier is mobile, active and playful. But representatives of the breed are subject to sharp mood swings.

He does not show baseless aggression, he is resistant to stress, his behavior is adequate. But in order for the terrier to be obedient, faithful and meet the above characteristics, the owner must educate him correctly.

All members of the Irish terrier family are treated equally. It is not in his character to single out the main thing. Especially good for children.

Day and night, he’s ready to play with the kids, performing both the role of a partner in games and an alert guard.

The main character traits of the Irish Terrier are kindness, responsiveness, cheerfulness. He is able to quickly make friends with a stranger and start a game with him. But this does not mean that the dog cannot perform the functions of a watchdog.

If you attack the Irish terrier or give reason to doubt your good intentions, fearlessly rush to defend its territory and protect the owners, their property.

With other dogs and pets, the Irish terrier gets along, but, again, if there is no aggression on their part. In the house and in the yard where the Irish terrier is kept, there will never be rats, mice.

In the blood of breed representatives, the instinct of a rodent hunter and other small game has been developed from birth. It follows that it is not recommended to contain a Irish terrier and, for example, a ferret, decorative rat, rabbit, etc. in the same house.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier


The average life expectancy of the Irish Terrier is 14-15 years. If the owner conducts deworming, vaccination and treatment against skin parasites on time, the terrier will live the maximum number of years.

It is important to visit a veterinary clinic with your pet every year. Such preventive examinations with x-ray examination will help to detect health problems in time and begin treatment.

The Irish Terrier is predisposed to the following diseases:

  • Hypothyroidism – disorders of the thyroid gland.
  • Portosystemic shunt is an abnormal anastomosis between the portal system of the liver and the caudal vena cava, through which part of the blood, bypassing the liver, enters the general bloodstream.
  • Myopathy is a violation of the processes of development of muscle tissue.
  • Microphthalmos is a congenital malformation of the eye, in which one or both eyeballs are reduced in size.
  • Cryptorchidism – one or both testes in males did not descend from the abdominal cavity into the scrotum.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the ability of a terrier to see.
  • Cystinuria is a hereditary disease caused by a defect in the absorption of the cystine amino acid in the renal tubules.
  • Muscular dystrophy is a chronic disease characterized by progressive muscular degradation.
  • Joint dysplasia – leads to a pronounced violation of the musculoskeletal function of the limbs.
  • Von Willebrand disease – develops in the presence of a defective von Willebrand factor in the blood or its deficiency in the blood.
  • Thrombopathy – insufficient blood clotting, occurs due to an abnormality of red blood cells.
Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Basic care

You can keep the Irish Terrier both in the house and in the aviary with a warmed booth. This is a very agile dog, he needs room, but with the right upbringing and appropriate conditions of detention, the Irish Terrier can live without causing trouble to the owners, even in a not very large apartment.

The Irish Terrier is extremely curious by nature, especially in puppyhood. Therefore, having settled the pet in the house, be prepared that he will examine every corner of the new home and will try everything for the tooth.

You can avoid this behavior if you seriously start raising a puppy from the first day.

Also, the irrepressible energy of a Irish Terrier can be tamed if you walk it daily, loading it with workouts, active games. We walk a small puppy 4 times a day, a young dog 3 times, while the walk lasts about 1.5 hours.

Adult Irish Terrier dogs can be walked 2 times (morning and evening), with each walk lasting at least 2 hours. If there is no time in the morning, make evening walk longer.

Before buying a puppy, be sure to buy everything that is required for its maintenance. In this list in the first places: a collar, a leash, a stove bench, containers for water and food, care products (shampoo, combs, wipes, etc.)

Pay special attention to the Irish Terrier toys. It is recommended to purchase bones from pressed veins, latex, rag balls, and animals. The main thing is that the dog can chew them. Thus, household items will remain intact.

Care for the Irish Terrier should be carried out in accordance with all the rules. Listed below are all the necessary care procedures:

  • Hair combing out twice a week.
  • Twice in 10-12 months, trim and haircut.
  • Eye examination daily, if necessary, remove accumulated discharge from the eyes. Having found redness or purulent discharge, we turn to the veterinarian for help.
  • We bathe our dog twice a year, as the wool of the Irish Terrier does not absorb dust or dirt. If the dog is very smeared during the walk, an unplanned bath is required. Also, after walking, the paws and inspecting for the presence of splintering, cracks or other damage.
  • Cleaning and inspection of the ears 2-3 times in 7-8 days. During the inspection, we pay attention to the discharge, if there are too many of them and an unpleasant smell is felt, it is worth showing the terrier to a specialist for prevention.
  • Regular brushing using a special toothpaste and brush.
  • Claw trimming is required as they grow back.

You can feed the Irish Terrier with dry food and canned goods, as well as natural products.

The Irish Terrier is not prone to obesity, but the diet and norms must be observed. Feeding is important at the same time. Do not leave food in the bowl that the pet has not eaten. If the food remains regularly, it is worth reducing portions.

Water in the accessibility of the Irish Terrier should be constant. It is important that it is always clean, fresh and slightly cool.

It is necessary to introduce new products into the diet or change the brand of dry food gradually, observing whether the dog has an allergic reaction to innovations.

With a natural method of feeding, vitamin and mineral supplements are required. Which and in what quantities the veterinarian will tell you.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Training and education

If the Irish terrier is not brought up, if you do not take at least a general training course with him, the dog will ignore any commands of the owner, become uncontrollable, which will definitely lead to many problems.

Education should be consistent. Without rudeness and physical punishment. Plan your lessons so that the Irish terrier is not bored during training.

Use an active, playful form. Sedentary training can bore the pet, as a result of a positive learning outcome, you will have to wait longer.

It is not recommended to teach several new commands in one lesson. One lesson – one command. The lesson should consist of three parts: learning new things, repeating the old one and playing using learned commands.

Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Irish terrier Fun Facts

  • No dirt sticks to the fur of the Irish Terrier.
  • Irish terriers were used as messengers during the First World War.
  • An Irish terrier dog served on a Canadian destroyer, which could detect a hostile submarine, while it was not tapped even on ship’s devices. Sensing the enemy, the dog immediately gave a signal with a clear bark.
  • In his novels, Jack London repeatedly gave one of the main roles to the Irish Terrier.
  • The Irish terrier is called the chosen one of the gentleman and the farmer’s best friend.
Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier

Pros and cons of the breed

Irish terrier dogs are popular around the world as friendly and loyal pets. Such a dog is suitable for almost everyone, the main thing is that the owner provides activity, physical activity and, of course, care, love.

The main advantages of the Irish Terrier:

  1. Devotion.
  2. Playful, friendly disposition.
  3. The absence of unjustified aggression.
  4. Get along with the children.
  5. No complicated care.
  6. Not expensive maintenance.

The main disadvantages of the Irish Terrier:

  1. Requires daily long walks.
  2. The manifestation of the instinct of the hunter in the wrong places and situations.
  3. Likes to do digging.


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