Glen of Imaal Terrier

September 23, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is probably one of the least known dog breeds. There’s nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to their looks. These dogs stand at a height of 15 inches, have sturdy bodies covered with wiry coats, and broadheads. However, there’s no denying how cute their appearance is.

Glen of Imaal Terriers or Glens, for short, are affectionate companion dogs for a family. But before getting one, you should consider their terrier side, which makes them quite a handful, especially for inexperienced dog owners.

If you happen to find yourself a perfect fit for these dogs, they’ll surely brighten up your day. Just give them lots of time and attention, which is what most dogs really need.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier Statistics

Dog Breed GroupTerrier
Breed SizeMedium
Height12.5-14 inches
Weight32-40 pounds
Lifespan10-15 years

Glen of Imaal Terrier Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive


Glen of Imaal Terriers originated from Ireland. They are one of the least popular Irish breeds and were developed around the 1570s.

As their name implies, these dogs were developed in the Glen of Imaal, a mountainous area. According to the story, the dogs descended from dogs brought by the settlers of the land. These dogs then mated with local terriers in the area, creating the Glen of Imaal Terriers.

The breed came out to be multi-purpose hunters. These dogs were then used for hunting foxes, badgers, and rodents. Some dog owners also let the dogs participate in dog fights. But one of their most famous jobs is as “Turnspit Dogs”.

This job requires them in the kitchen where they are asked to run in a hamster-wheel like contraption that turns meat over in an open fire. This is called the cooking spit; hence the nickname was given.

It is said that the dogs stayed in Ireland for hundreds of years without anyone from the outside knowing about them. Well, that was until the mid-19th century when dog shows started to become popular.

By 1933, the breed was finally recognized by the Irish Kennel Club. Forty-two years later, the breed was also recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1975, followed by the American Kennel Club twelve years later in 1987.

Today, the breed is still considered rare and ranks 174th as the most popular dog breed in the US. However, even if that’s the case, those who own the breed would know how excellent family companions these dogs are.


Glen of Imaal Terriers are gentle, spirited, and bold dogs. Like any other terrier dogs, they are often described as big dogs trapped in a small dog’s body.

This breed has a sturdy body built for work. In general, these dogs have strong working instincts and will always be happy with having something to do. They need to be exercised every day, but nothing too strenuous as this may damage their joints.

Indoors, Glens are usually calm. They love spending time with their owners, which most of the time means resting on your lap or feet to relax. This may seem strange for a terrier, but this sets these dogs apart.

As companion dogs, they are generally loyal, patient, and affectionate. They love being given attention, and they’ll return this with strong devotion.

They are usually polite with visitors, but not all Glens are like that. You can also expect them to bark at strange dogs who come in their territory, and they won’t back down if asked to fight. Their strong hunting instincts make them unsuitable for living in environments with cats, rabbits, or hamsters as they might try to chase them.

Early socialization is essential to make them more well-rounded dogs. This will also help them get accustomed to new people, animals, and situations, making it easier for them to handle their feelings.

Training might come to be a little challenging as these dogs can be stubborn and independent. However, this is something that consistency and being firm can handle. Positive reinforcements can also go a long way. Just make sure, though, that you’d never be harsh on them.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Glen of Imaal Terriers don’t have special dietary requirements. They only need to be fed with high-quality and well-balanced meals, so they stay healthy. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are essential nutrients. If you’re preparing home-cooked meals, make sure that you only buy high-quality ingredients. You can get proteins from high-quality animal meat, fats from fish oils, and carbohydrates from whole grains. Add some vegetables and fruits to your dog’s diet, too, for a great source of fiber and vitamins. Dog food and dog treats should be of premium quality, too. Check the label and make sure that no fillers, additives, and by-products are used to the product that may cause digestion problems for your dogs. Watch the number of calories you also feed your dog in a day. If possible, ask your vet for food requirements specific to your dog’s needs. Take note of any allergies your dog may have, too, and make sure to stay away from those ingredients.
  • Grooming: Glen of Imaal Terriers have double coats that shed occasionally. The coat is rough and would need weekly brushing to prevent mats from forming. This will also help keep the shedding to a minimum, especially during the shedding season. The coats would need to be stripped two or three times a year, so it stays neat. Baths can be given occasionally, depending on your dog’s needs. But ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent ear infection. Don’t forget to trim the nails regularly, too. Long nails can cause pain and discomfort to your dog, and you don’t want this for your little pup.
  • Exercise: Glen of Imaal Terriers are usually laid-back dogs that also need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. They don’t require strenuous exercises. Instead, you can take him out for short walks on a leash. Letting him run around freely inside the house or a fenced yard is also a great form of exercise. Do activities that both of you can enjoy together, like chasing toys or balls. Don’t let him get up or down the stairs for play, as this might strain their muscles.
  • Health: Glen of Imaal Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but as dog owners, it’s essential to be aware of certain diseases that might affect a certain dog breed. This will help you understand the condition and know what to do in case your dog acquires it. For Glens, have your dog checked for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and progressive retinal atrophy as these are common to the breed. A screening test would help detect diseases early. You can also be aware of any hereditary diseases that your dog may acquire by meeting at least one of his parents. We also recommend closely monitoring your dog’s behavior and if you notice any changes, take him immediately to the vet.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Glen of Imaal Terriers is 10-15 years.

Fun Facts about Glen of Imaal Terriers

  • Glen of Imaal Terriers originated from Ireland, in the remote valley of Glen of Imaal.
  • These dogs were bred as working dogs; mainly used to hunt small prey.
  • They were nicknamed “Turnspit Dog” for one of their jobs.
  • They have other names: Wicklow Terrier and Glen.
  • They almost went extinct during the World War.
  • They have the condition “achondroplasia,” which means they are a dwarf breed.
  • They were fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004.

Check Out Other Terrier Dog Breeds:
Airedale Terrier, American Hairless Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Cesky Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Irish Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Russell Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier

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