Meet the Breed: The Irish Terrier



  • Height: 18"
  • Weight: 25-27 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunter, retriever, vermin controller, war-time messenger
  • Modern function: Companion, watchdog, hunting
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Irish Terrier, sometimes known as the Irish Red Terrier is a medium-sized dog, slightly longer than tall. It has a long head that is flat between the ears and has a highly intelligent expression. The coat is thick, with a wirey topcoat and a softer undercoat. The coat can be solid bright red, golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten.  The tail is commonly docked, though this practice has been outlawed in Europe.

History of the Breed:

The Irish Terrier is believed to be the oldest Terrier with documentation in art around 1700. The contributing breeds to the development of the Irish Terrier are unknown. The Irish Terrier had several uses including hunting den animals such as otters, foxes, badgers, controlling vermin, and also being a sentinel and wartime messenger. They have also been used in police work and as a watchdog. 


The Irish Terrier is intelligent, courageous, active, and loyal. They are simultaneously sweet and entertaining as daredevils. They are good for active yet respectful children. Should not be trusted with non-canine pets unless raised with them due to their hunting instincts. Easy to train.

  • Best suited for: Active families that can meet this bright dog's mental and physical exercise needs. Good for allergy sufferers.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog does best with at least a moderate-sized securely fenced yard. Can do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat rarely sheds. Should be hand stripped twice a year.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long, brisk walk
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: A healthy breed with very few hereditary disorders.

Breed Club Links: Irish Terrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit

Have any stories about an Irish Terrier? Please share!

Customer photo of Henry Patterson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Whitney.

This entry was posted by Mary.
What do you think?

You are not logged in.
Post Comment >
Find Us On
Follow Me on Pinterest
Recent Articles
Watch This: Bears No Match For Feisty French Bulldog
This 20-pound Frenchie didn't care one lick if these bears were bigger. They were getting off her property NOW.
Continue Reading >
5 Risky Dog Breeds - Cute Doesn't Come Cheap
Some of the most popular and cutest dog breeds are also known to be prone to significant health issues. Are you ready to take on the risks?
Continue Reading >
Watch This: Sleepy Puppy Watches Over Baby As Diligently As He Can
This watchdog in training just can't help sleeping on the job. Who could resist such cozy cuteness?
Continue Reading >