Irish Terrier
(Irish Red Terrier)

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Irish Terrier


This medium-sized, well-proportioned terrier looks very similar to the Wirehaired Fox Terrier, though somewhat longer and taller. He has a flat skull, long whiskers and bearded muzzle with powerful jaws. The stop is only really noticeable in profile. The nose is black. The ears are v-shaped and fold forward. The hair on the ears is shorter and often darker than on the rest of the dog. Bushy eyebrows top the small, dark, fiery eyes. The front legs are long, straight and muscular. The tail is docked 3/4 of its original length and carried erect. The rough looking wiry outer jacket is lined with a softer undercoat. The Irish Terrier is solid colored and may be red, golden, or wheaten.


The Irish Terrier is hot-tempered, reckless and exceptionally courageous. These animated, spirited and loyal dogs are affectionately called "Daredevils" by their fanciers. The Irish Terrier plays hard and is a good friend for active children. Bold, inquisitive and ready for action and adventure. Intelligent and trainable, but somewhat wilful. Can be quite a handful. Train firmly right from the beginning. Very affectionate and kind with humans, but quiet combative with other dogs and should not be trusted with non-canine pets. The Irish Terrier has a strong protective instinct, so he should be socialized well with people at an early age. They can be difficult to housebreak. The Irish Terrier likes to dig, explore and chase things. They should be kept on a leash except in a safe enclosed space. This is truly a loyal and entertaining companion.

Height, Weight

Height: about 18 inches (43 cm.)
Weight: 25-27 pounds (11-12 kg.)       

Health Problems

This is a very healthy breed and is not prone to any major hereditary disorders.

Living Conditions

The Irish Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised, and a small yard will do. If given sufficient exercise, it is surprisingly well-mannered and dignified indoors.


Since Irish Terriers were bred for active work, these dogs need plenty of regular exercise. When walking in public, always keep the dog firmly under control on a leash so that it doesn't fight with other dogs.

Life Expectancy

About 12-15 years.


The hard double coat is easy to groom and rarely sheds. Brush regularly with a stiff bristle brush and remove the dead hair with a fine-tooth comb. Bathe only when necessary.


The Irish Terrier, originally from Country Cork, Ireland, is probably one of the oldest terrier breeds. It is two thousand years old, but the earliest images we have of it is in a painting of the 1700's. He is a feisty hunter and exterminator of den animals, otter, and water rats. The breed has also been used as a retriever and wartime messenger. The Irish Terrier became very popular in England during the late 1800's. The United States' breed club was started in 1896. Today the Irish Terrier serves mainly as a companion dog and sturdy, loyal guardian of home and family, though he still retains his vermin hunting prowess. Some of the Irish Terrier's talents include: hunting, tracking, retrieving, watchdogging, guarding, police work, and military work.


Terrier, AKC Terrier




FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
AKC = American Kennel Club
UKC = United Kennel Club
KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
NKC = National Kennel Club
NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
CET = Club Español de Terriers (Spanish Terrier Club)
CKC = Continental Kennel Club


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 Last updated 18 July, 2001