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Irish Terrier

Quick facts

Irish Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: 17 - 19 inches
Weight: 25-27 pounds
Colors: Red (golden red, red wheaten, wheaten)
AKC recognized in: 1885

Two of the things you’ll love about the Irish Terrier are its beautiful red coat and its trim outline. The texture of this double coat is straight and wiry but never soft and silky. Neither is it woolly or wavy. It’s the type of coat which protects a dog from any kind of weather. Compact in size, this dog is ideal for an active lifestyle in both urban and rural settings.

True to its name, this breed of Terrier hails from Ireland. It could be one of the oldest Terrier breeds around, probably dating back to two thousand years ago. Although it’s not exactly known from which breeds it descended from, they were originally discovered in Country Cork, Ireland.

Terrier and hunter in one, this Irish dog works to hunt badgers, otters, rats, and other den animals. It also used to be a retriever and messenger during the war times. Today, its work extends to police and military jobs as a guard and watchdog.

In line with breed, the Irish terrier can be described as red, racy, and rectangular. Red refers to the color of its coat, while racy means strong and powerful without being heavy. Rectangular tells how its outline uniquely differs from the rest of the terriers.


Irish Terrier Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training three paws
Energy level four paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals two paws
Friendliness: Other Pets two paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance four paws
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability four paws

Another thing you’ll like about the Irish Terrier is that its eyes carry an alert yet kind expression. When it is active and energetic, the eyes will shine fierce. These are framed by bushy eyebrows and a beard less lush than that of a Schnauzer.

Irish Terriers are generally good with people. Because they love children and favor their attention, they will tolerate being teased and rough-handled to a point. But when faced with aggression, they will not be sympathetic at all. Their instinct to fight and survive will prevail.

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that they may be difficult to train. That’s because these dogs have less of an eagerness to charm people and please you. Strong-willed and energetic dogs, it will only challenge you to motivate this dog to learn and obey. They will respond well to authority and leadership in a firm, consistent manner.

Despite the challenge of training and housebreaking them, Irish Terriers will prove to be talented not only in hunting, coursing, and search-and-rescue, but also in show and competition. Nowadays, most of them are groomed to be show dogs. This is all on account of their remarkable coat and attractive outline.

They are also designed for your home as pets. A well trained Irish Terrier will settle comfortably into your household. Active and energetic as it is, it is full of life but not at all hyperactive. It can also be quickly roused into an active state by the idea of exercise. Allow it to relax within your home, but keep it on a leash outdoors.


The average lifespan of the Irish Terrier is 13 to 14 years.

While the Irish Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Elbow Dysplasia - A condition involving several developmental anomalies of the elbow joint in the dog. This keeps the three bones that make up the joint to fit together imperfectly, causing irritation and pain.
  • Hypothyroidism - An under-active thyroid gland, which can result in obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, and skin conditions.
  • Cataracts - A cloudiness in the lens of the eye, with varying degrees of opacity. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of opacity.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease - This is a blood disease that causes a deficiency in clotting glycoproteins. This disease is similar to hemophilia in humans.
  • Thrombocytopathy - This is a clotting disorder caused by abnormal functioning of the platelets. This can cause spontaneous or excessive bleeding, since the platelets do not bond together to cause the clot.


Irish Terriers are known escape artists, so a high fence is a must, as well as a method to keep them from digging their way out.

Two or three walks each day, each one between 20 and 30 minutes is needed to satisfy the energy level of the Irish Terrier. A good fenced in yard can satisfy some of that need, but it should be at least five feet high, or she might just jump out!

Irish Terriers have been called hypoallergenic, since they shed so little. A good brushing once a week is all that is required. If you want to keep the hard texture to her coat, hand stripping twice a year is required. If you are not up to that, clipping is fine, but the hair will become softer to the touch.

Visitor Comments

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