Irish Terrier

Irish Terriers, nicknamed “Daredevils,” are courageous dogs with a tight, wiry red coat covering their bodies. They are believed to be prototypes of a long-legged terrier and stand at the height of 18 inches. These dogs have a beautifully balanced appearance that will catch anyone’s eyes.

Irish Terriers are known to be excellent people dogs, but they are not fit for anyone. They are best suited for those who are often home as they make great indoor companion dogs. These dogs are active and versatile, who will watch over you and your family for a long time.

Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupTerrier
Breed SizeMedium
Height18 inches
Weight27 pounds (male); 25 pounds (female)
Lifespan13-15 years

Irish Terrier Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Playfulness
Trainability
Shedding
Grooming
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Irish Terrier History

Irish Terriers are well-known red-headed dogs from Ireland. They are known to be one of the oldest terrier breeds, so their exact origin is unknown. But they are referred by many as “the poor man’s sentinel,” “the farmer’s friend,” and “the gentleman’s favorite.”

It is believed that Irish Terriers are descendants of the now-extinct black and tan Terrier and wheaten-coated Terrier. They were first recognized as a breed at a dog show in Glasgow in 1875. Four years later, two Irish Terriers started producing litters and are considered the foundation of the breed.

It was in the 1880s when the Irish Terriers rose to popularity in Britain. They became the source of controversies that led to significant changes in the British dogs’ appearance – ear cropping was banned by 1889.

When the dogs reached the United States, they immediately rose to popularity. The first Irish Terrier was shown in the Westminster dog show in 1881. It was only after four years that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1885.

Sadly, after World War I, the dog’s popularity slowly faded away. Now, it only ranks the 116th in popularity in the US. They are uncommon, but for those who own them, they are undeniably loving dogs.

Irish Terrier Breed

Irish Terrier Temperament

Irish Terriers are known to be bold, dashing, and tender-hearted dogs. There’s a reason why they’re called “Daredevils” – because of how animated and fearless these dogs can be.

These dogs are created to be companions, guard dogs, and hunters, making them very versatile. They can be good-tempered, alert, and adaptable, but are also reckless and curious dogs.

They are not the best dogs to get for first-time owners. Their independent personalities require lots of training accompanied by a firm and consistent leadership. If you aren’t able to control them, they’ll likely choose activities of their own, which can be very destructive.

It’s essential to give them exercise, so they become well-behaved inside the household. They are also good dogs for families with children and are known to be very loyal family members.

Irish Terriers are better in one-dog households. They are not friendly with other pets and have tendencies to become aggressive, especially towards dogs of the same sex. Their temperament towards strangers can range to polite and reserved.

Early socialization is vital to make them more well-rounded. This will also help encourage a stable temperament, especially when introduced to anything new.

Irish Terrier Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Irish Terriers require a high-quality and well-balanced meal to keep them healthy and happy. There are no special dietary requirements, as long as you feed them high-quality ingredients or dog food. You should ensure that their meals consist of the right balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Common sources of these are animal meat, fish oil, chicken oils, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and vitamins. If you’re feeding him dog food, choose those that are of premium quality. You should ensure that these don’t contain fillers, additives, and by-products that can be harmful to your dog. Overfeeding is something that you need to watch out, too. You can ask you vet for advice regarding this, so you know how much to feed him in a day.
  • Grooming: Irish Terriers have short coats that require very minimal maintenance. It requires occasional brushing, stripping, and trimming to keep it in good condition. Brushing the coat weekly will help remove dirt and loose hair, and at the same time, keep it soft and free from mats and tangles. Baths can be given occasionally, depending on your dog’s activities. However, make sure you clean the ears regularly to avoid ear infection. Nails should be trimmed regularly, too, to prevent pain and discomfort to your dog.
  • Exercise: Irish Terriers are playful and outgoing dogs that need regular exercise. Daily walks should suffice, but make sure to always keep them on-leash. You can also let them run around your backyard, as long as there is a secured fence. It’s also best to create activities that you can do together as this makes him happier. You can also let him participate in dog shows where he may be able to showcase his skills.
  • Health: Irish Terriers are generally healthy dogs. However, just like any dog breed, they can suffer from potential health problems, particularly the hereditary ones. Some diseases you need to watch out for are muscular dystrophy, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and hyperkeratosis. You can let your dog take some screening tests if you wish to detect some diseases early. We recommend meeting at least one of your dog’s parents to be aware of possible genetic conditions. Don’t forget to continuously monitor your dog’s behavior and report to your vet any changes.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Irish Terriers is 13-15 years.

Irish Terrier Dog

Famous Irish Terriers

  • Killiney Boy: Referred to as the father of present-day Irish terriers
  • Erin: Irish Terrier who produced many Irish Terrier champions
  • Aileen: the first registered Irish Terrier

Fun Facts about Irish Terriers

  • Irish Terriers, as their name implies, originated in Ireland.
  • Although an ancient dog breed, they were first shown in 1875 in a Glasgow Dog Show.
  • They are nicknamed as Daredevils because of their courageous personalities.
  • They are called in many other names – Racy Terrier and Irish Red Terrier.
  • They were first shown in the Westminster Dog Show in 1881.
  • They were messenger dogs and sentinels during World War I.
  • These dogs were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
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