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Irish Terrier


The Irish Terrier is known as the world’s oldest Terrier breed.  It is said to have descended from the Black and Tan Terrier, also mixed with a larger and more streamlined wheaten colored Terrier. There is no official documentation to list this ancestry, but researchers are pretty confident with this estimation. Other information leads us to believe that the Irish Terrier may also have roots from the Irish Wolfhound dog breed.

Irish Terriers dogs are considered to be the raciest of the Terrier Group. It has a longer body with legs that extend further than most other Terriers. The solid red color of the Irish Terrier became a standard for the breed around the end of the 19th century.  Before that time, early Irish Terriers were seen in a variety of other colors, including gray, brindle, and black/tan.

The very first Irish Terrier was shown in the year 1875. They became so popular that by the middle of the 1880s, the Irish Terrier was rated as the fourth most popular dog breed in England. During that time, it was fashionably stylish to crop the ears of the Irish Terrier. However, this practice was banned in 1889 by the Irish Terrier Club Of England. This banning led to the abolition of cropping ears for all dog breeds that were shown in England.

The Irish Terrier soon became quite popular in America.  During the late 1920s, they were ranked #13 of all breeds listed at that time. With such fame and a great beginning, you would assume that the Irish Terrier would maintain its popularity. However, it is considered to be one of the more rare Terriers of today.


Irish Terrier dogs are extremely bold, dashing, assertive, and independent. Often said to be one of the most strong-willed of dog breeds, these animals can be a bit aggressive towards other dogs and smaller animals, and tend to be reserved when around strangers.  On the other hand, when it comes to its family, the Irish Terrier is top-rated for its playfulness.  It loves adventure and is also a first-class watchdog. So long as it gets plenty of daily exercise, this dog will maintain a well-mannered personality.

Taking Care Of Your Irish Terrier

This is one dog that not only needs physical exercise on a daily basis, but it also requires a lot of mental stimulation as well.  Daily entertainment and vigorous playtime is a requirement if you plan on raising an Irish Terrier. They make great jogging partners and are often the desired pet for active people. When it comes to grooming, it has a very wiry coat that will need a thorough combing two to three times per week.

Health Information

Irish Terriers are one of the most healthiest dog breeds in existence.  They have a lifespan of up to 16 years, with 13 to 14 years being the average.  There are absolutely no major health concerns to worry about and the only minor issue that occasionally springs up are urinary stones.


Documentation of the Irish Terrier’s origin is lacking. Most likely, it is descended from the the archaic terriers of England. It could be a descendant of the black and tan terrier, perhaps the Irish Wolfhound. It was developed for hunting foxes and pests.

Irish Terriers had coats colored brindle, gray, red, and black and tan. During the latter 1800′s, the red coat became commonplace and this breed gained popularity in England. In the latter 1920′s, the Irish Terrier was popular in the U.S.A. Around 1930, this breeds popular dwindled. These days it is rare.

It has been a farm, guard, and messenger dog. It was exhibited first in Glasgow in 1875. The AKC recognized it in 1885. In 1897, the Irish Terrier Club of American was established.

General Looks

The body and legs of this breed are longer than other terriers. It looks lithe and robust. The head is long and flat. Its eyes are small and dark. The muzzle is bearded. The v-shaped ears, fold, set high, and are small. The back is long and straight. The tail rides high and is docked.

Is This Your Breed?

It can do well living in an apartment, but needs enough exercise each day like walking and running around. It needs brushing twice each week. It needs stripping at three to four month intervals. It shouldn’t sleep outdoors.


The coat is dense, wiry, and is rougher on the dog’s back. The undercoat is soft cottony and thick.


The coat is solid; the colors are mahogany red, golden red, and wheaten.


The front reach is superior and the back drive extension is first-rate. The movement is free and fluid.


It is playful, animated, bold, loyal, protective, and independent. It’s smart, but sometimes stubborn. It needs firm and consistent training. It’s usually antagonistic to other dogs and petite pets. To get along with them it needs socialization from a pup. It may be hard to housebreak. It likes exploring and rambling; a fenced yard is advised.


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