Irish Terrier

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24-26 lbs
16-18"
Ireland
Irish Red Terrier, Daredevil

The bold and adventurous Irish Terrier is considered the oldest breed of all Terriers, although its beginnings are something of a mystery. What we do know is that by the 17th century, Ireland enjoyed the Irish Terrier as a vermin hunter and guard dog on its many country farms. By the next century, the breed gained popularity in the show ring in Ireland, England, Scotland, and even across the ocean in the United States. Today, this wiry coated, medium sized dog has become a loyal, cheerful, and active family dog. Needing little in the way of grooming, this willful breed does require vigorous daily exercise, as well as early socialization and training.

Purpose
hunting fox, otter, and other vermin
Date of Origin
1700s
Ancestry
terrier, irish wolfhound

Irish Terrier Health

Average Size
Height: 17-18 inches Weight: 25-27 lbs
Height: 16-18 inches Weight: 24-26 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Urolithiasis Irish Terrier
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Hyperkeratosis
Occasional Tests
  • Blood Test
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination

Irish Terrier Breed History

Though the Irish Terrier is considered the oldest of all Terrier breeds, its ancestry is not well documented. The earliest recordings of this lively breed come from 17th century paintings. Believed to originate in Ireland, this Terrier may have been descended from the Black and Tan Terrier, or even the Irish Wolfhound. Some have even speculated that it may be a castoff from the lowland Scottish Terrier. Early dogs sported gray and brindle or black and tan coats. The red coat the breed is known for today only became common in the 19th century. The color change may have lent to its nickname of “Daredevil,” but more likely this is owing to its bold and courageous nature. This Terrier was used in Ireland for farm work, to hunt vermin, and as a guard dog. During World War I, this adventurous breed was employed as messengers and sentinels. The Irish Terrier gained popularity in late 1800s England, where it became the style to crop its ears. In 1875, Scotland records the first showing of this Terrier as a recognized breed. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Irish Terrier in 1885. Four years later in 1889, the Terrier Club of England banned the cropping of the breed’s ears, which eventually led to a ban for all show breeds in the country. The popularity of this spunky little dog continued to rise, and by the late 1920s, it was ranked the 13th most popular breed in the United States.

Irish Terrier Breed Appearance

The Irish Terrier is regarded as the raciest Terrier, with longer legs and bodies than other Terrier breeds. This gives themn a sturdy and athletic appearance. He is evenly proportioned with a longer back than other Terriers as well. The long and narrow head boasts a flat skull. A long whiskered, bearded muzzle hides a powerful jaw. Bushy eyebrows and small, dark eyes give this dog an intense expression. V-shaped ears are folded forward, and feature darker, shorter hair than the rest of this Terrier’s body. The tail is set high and is carried erect. Traditionally, the tail has a quarter of its length docked in the United States. The coat is composed of dense, wiry hair that is thick on the outside, and is often referred to as broken, that is, neither curly nor straight. Underneath this coat hides a soft lining of fur. The Irish Terrier is generally seen in a solid color of wheat, gold, or the most popular, red. 

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Fawn
Cream
Red
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Irish Terrier Breed Maintenance

This is an easy breed to maintain, as the short coat needs only a weekly brushing. Though thick, the coat is not prone to shed. Stripping or clipping may be beneficial and is recommended two to four times a year. Stripping pulls out only the dead hairs. Clipping may be easier, but can leave the coat too soft to receive good marks in the show ring. An occasional bath is recommended only when needed. This Terrier has fast growing nails that should be clipped regularly to avoid splits and cracks. Regular maintenance for ears and teeth also keeps this dog looking its best. The Irish Terrier is an active and intelligent breed, and needs daily exercise to thrive. Though this dog can be happy in an apartment, he will need mental and physical stimulation to keep boredom and bad behavior away. A fenced in yard and leashed walks keep his roaming nature and chase instinct under control.

Brushes for Irish Terrier
Pin Brush
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Irish Terrier Temperament

This cheerful and smart dog is a wonderful addition to an active family. Nicknamed a “daredevil” due to its bold and explorative tendencies, he needs lots of activity or he may decide to seek out his own adventures by digging his way out of the yard. This dog is sweet and playful, loyal to his owner, and loves to play with children. He may become protective and bark at strangers in an effort to keep his family safe. The Irish Terrier dog is full of fire, and will often not back down when confronted. This can make him aggressive towards other animals. Coupled with his need to defend his territory, and his strong prey drive, it may prove challenging to make the Irish Terrier get along with other pets. He can overcome this with cats if he is raised with them, but he generally does best as an only dog. Consistent and firm training is needed in this too smart for his own good dog, but it may also prove challenging. This breed needs firm boundaries and good socialization from the start to allow him to relax with strangers. Above all, the rambunctious Irish Terrier needs lots of attention from his family, and plenty of activity. While he is well-mannered indoors, he needs daily exercise and playtimes, or else he can be very mischievous.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Irish Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.8 - $2.3
Monthly Cost
$52.5 - $67.5

Irish Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 15 inches Weight: 17 lbs
Height: 13 inches Weight: 15 lbs
12 Months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 22 lbs
Height: 14 inches Weight: 20 lbs
18 Months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 26 lbs
Height: 17 inches Weight: 25 lbs

Top Irish Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Irish Terrier breeders of 2017.
Stone Wall Farm
Ava, Missouri
Irish Rose Kennels
Chester, Pennsylvania
Redhawk terriers.com
Gillette, Wyoming
Rockledge Kennels
Ava, Missouri
Red branch terriers
Fremont, California
Diamond irish terries
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Irish Meadow Kennels
Fair Play, South Carolina

Irish Terrier Owner Experiences