Irish Terrier

24-26 lbs
Irish Red Terrier, Daredevil

The bold and adventurous Irish Terrier is considered the oldest breed of all Terriers, although their 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 pet. Needing little in the way of grooming, this willful breed does require vigorous daily exercise, as well as early socialization and training.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Terrier, Irish Wolfhound

Irish Terrier Health

Sketch of Irish Terrier
Average Size
Male Irish Terrier size stats
Height: 17-18 inches Weight: 25-27 lbs
Female Irish Terrier size stats
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, their ancestry is not well documented. The earliest recordings of this lively breed come from 17th century paintings. Believed to originate in Ireland, they may have descended from the Black and Tan Terrier, or even the Irish Wolfhound. Some have even speculated that they 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 their nickname of “Daredevil,” but more likely this is owing to their 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 their 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, they were 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 them a sturdy and athletic appearance. They are evenly proportioned with a longer back 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 appealing dog'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. 

Appearance of Irish Terrier
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Irish Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Irish Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
red Irish Terrier coat
cream Irish Terrier coat
fawn Irish Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Irish Terrier wiry 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 their 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, they will need mental and physical stimulation to keep boredom and bad behavior away. A fenced in yard and leashed walks keep their roaming nature and chase instinct under control.

Brushes for Irish Terrier
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Irish Terrier requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Irish Terrier Temperament

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

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Irish Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.75 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$52.50 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Irish Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Irish Terrier at six months
Male Irish Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 17.0 lbs
Female Irish Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 13.0 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Irish Terrier at 12 months
Male Irish Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 22.0 lbs
Female Irish Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 14.5 inches Weight: 20.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Irish Terrier at 18 months
Male Irish Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 26.0 lbs
Female Irish Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs

Top Irish Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Irish Terrier breeders of 2023.
Top Irish Terrier breeder Stone Wall Farm
Stone Wall Farm
Ava, Missouri
Top Irish Terrier breeder Irish Rose Kennels
Irish Rose Kennels
Chester, Pennsylvania
Top Irish Terrier breeder Redhawk
Gillette, Wyoming
Top Irish Terrier breeder Rockledge Kennels
Rockledge Kennels
Ava, Missouri
Top Irish Terrier breeder Red branch terriers
Red branch terriers
Fremont, California
Top Irish Terrier breeder Diamond irish terries
Diamond irish terries
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Top Irish Terrier breeder Irish Meadow Kennels
Irish Meadow Kennels
Fair Play, South Carolina

Irish Terrier Owner Experiences

10 Years
3 People
House & Yard
So much energy! She has settled down in the past few years, but still can run like a tasmanian devil when we get to playing in the yard. She is sweet and loves attention.
2 years, 3 months ago
7 Months
2 People
I fell in love with her at birth.
2 years, 4 months ago
6 Months
2 People
She has broken out of our fenced yard several times, necessating The installation of an electric fence. She gets two 1 mile walks a day meeting on average of five dogs a day at the park.
5 years, 11 months ago
18 Months
4 People
Playing in the snow
smart, independent and cunning
5 years, 7 months ago
2 Years
2 People
High energy and intelligent. Avg weights listed seem a bit on the light side. Most of the average female weights for a adult female about 30-33lbs. Males 35-37. Love my IT’s❤️☘️🐕🐾
5 years, 2 months ago
4 Years
1 People
Dog and Water Park, Walking
Very loyal, protector
5 years, 2 months ago
14 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Go to Beach
Go Camping
Great family dogs with sweet, playful personalities, although stubborn at times. Strong prey drive, especially in pairs! She has slowed down a bit with age but is more affectionate than ever to her family and strangers alike.
4 years, 11 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd