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Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier dogs are sweet and entertaining medium sized dogs possessing a great deal of courage and energy. These dogs, also known as Irish Red Terrier dogs, were originally developed in Ireland. The exact ancestry of these dogs, however, is not known.

Earlier, these dogs were primarily used for the purpose of hunting otters, water rats and other animals living in dens. Nowadays, they are also used for tasks like guarding, retrieving, tracking and for police and military work. Irish Terrier dog breed is believed to be one of the oldest terrier dog breeds.

Physical Appearance

Irish Terrier breed dogs are quite similar to Airedale Terriers in appearance. The head is long but in proportion to the body and the muzzle is slightly rectangular. The small eyes bearing an intense expression are generally dark brown in color. The V-shaped ears are also small in size. They fold forwards towards the outside corner of the eyes. The hair coat tends to have a broken appearance but lies close to the body.

Color: Common Irish Terrier colors are bright red, golden red, red wheaten and wheaten.
Height: Both male as well as female Irish Terriers are generally about 18 inches in height.
Weight: The average weight of these dogs is usually 25 to 27 pounds.

Health Problems

Though not susceptible to any major hereditary diseases still, Irish Terrier dogs can develop thyroid disorders, cataracts and other eye related issues and skin problems. Apart from these, Irish Terrier dog breed is considered relatively healthy with less vulnerability to common dog diseases.

Life Expectancy: The average Irish Terrier life span is generally 12 to 15 years.
Litter Size: The average litter size is usually about 1 to 3 puppies.

Grooming Requirements

The wire hair coat of an Irish Terrier is easy to maintain. The double coat that sheds almost little to no hair consists of a soft, wooly undercoat, followed by a rough and wiry outer coat. It sheds water and dirt effectively and only needs to be brushed and combed about once or twice a week. A stiff bristle brush and a fine-tooth can be considered for this purpose.

Besides, these dogs need to be hand stripped two times in a year. Use of scissors is usually not recommended for this task as it tends to damage the texture of the hair coat. Other Irish Terrier grooming activities include trimming the toenails, cleaning the eyes and ears, brushing the teeth etc. These dogs need to be bathed only when necessary.


Irish Terrier temperament is intelligent, courageous, loyal, friendly, protective, energetic and highly affectionate. These dogs are active but not hyperactive. They are usually friendly and playful with children. Though, they generally do not get along well with other pets in the house. In fact, more often than not, Irish Terrier breed dogs tend to dominate other dogs.

In order to keep them disciplined and avoid dog behavior problems, these dogs need proper training and early socialization. In terms of training, Irish Terrier dogs are very trainable but some can be difficult to housebreak. Because of their natural protective instincts, these wonderful dogs make for excellent watchdogs.

Key Points

These dogs tend to do well in both warm as well as cold climates. As for their living conditions, as long as their physical activity needs are fulfilled on a regular basis, Irish Terriers can be kept in apartment situation, preferably with at least a properly fenced, small sized yard.

Mostly, they are moderately active indoors and love to spend more time outdoors for playing as well as analyzing the mysteries of nature. As these dogs can be quite stubborn at times, Irish Terrier dogs are usually not recommended for first time dog owners, particularly the ones with a sedentary lifestyle.