View All Breeds
Buy the Irish Terrier
Complete Guide Book Here!
About Irish Terriers? Click Here for the Kennel.com
Irish Terriers are medium-sized, compact dogs
with a distinctive proud appearance. They're
very courageous, feisty and bold. Irish Terriers
were bred to be working dogs to kill vermin
(a "ratter at heart"), hunt small
animals and they were even used as a messenger
and sentinel in WWI.
The breed's exact origin is debatable, however,
there is evidence suggesting the Irish Terrier
is certainly one of the oldest of the terrier
breeds. There is a reference to the breed
in Vero Shaw's The Illustrated Book of
the Dog written in 1881 where George
R. Krehl wrote, ""The Irish Terrier
is a true and distinct breed, indigenous to
Ireland and no man can trace its origin which
is lost in antiquity . . . "
Irish Terriers were very popular - especially
in England in the 1880s. The breed made its
way to the US in the late 19th century and
quickly became popular there as well. Today
Irish Terriers make a good family pet, just
as they did for Irish families long before
they were ever officially recognized as a
The ideal height of an Irish Terrier is approximately
18 inches (46cm) when measured at the top
of the shoulder.
Weight: The weight for an
Irish Terrier is 27 lbs (12kg) for the dog
and 25 lbs (11kg) for the bitch.
Irish Terriers have a double coat. The outer
coat is wiry, harsh and dense which helps
protect against environmental elements. The
under coat is soft and has a fine texture.
Regular brushing and hand stripping (a few
times a year) helps to maintain the Irish
The color of the Irish Terrier's coat
is red - however the coat can also be red
wheaten or wheaten.
Temperament: Irish Terriers have a
lively spirit. They're very courageous and
bold - to the point of possibly being reckless.
This loyal and sensitive breed does well with
children and they need to be a part of the
family, not just an observer. Irish Terriers
are intelligent and learn quickly. Training
should be firm and consistent, but never in
a harsh manner. Early socialization is very
important (they can be aggressive with other
dogs). Irish Terriers are energetic and need
regular, daily exercise such as a brisk walks
or jogging. Free play where they can run is
equally as important, but should only be in
secure areas. Irish Terriers have a natural
hunting instinct and will chase, so it's important
to always keep them on a leash if not in a
secure area. Irish Terriers make great watch
dogs - they do not bark unnecessarily.
Irish Terriers are generally a very
healthy breed, although a few health concerns
have been noted - hypothyroidism, cataracts,
hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin) and
cystinuria (autosomal recessive metabolic
disorder). The life expectancy of an Irish
Terrier is between 12 - 15 years.
• Irish Terriers are known to
• The Irish Terrier
Club of America was founded in 1896.
• The Irish Terrier was the fourth most
popular breed in England in the 1880s.
• Irish Terrier puppies are sometimes
born with black hair, however, this color
should disappear before they are full grown.
AKC: Terrier Group
ANKC: Group 2 - Terriers
CKC: Group 4 - Terrier
FCI: Group 3 Section 1: Large & medium-sized