April 9, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Glen of Imaal Terrier

Overview:

  • Height: 14”
  • Weight: 34-36 pounds
  • Historical function: Vermin, badger, and fox hunter. Turnspit operator (dog-propelled rotiserie cooker.)
  • Modern function: Companion.
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is considered to be a big dog on short legs because they are very hardy, tough, quiet, stoic dogs. Their ears are half-pricked, and their expression is alert. The short legs are bowed and sturdy. The tail is docked or left natural. The harsh coat is medium length with a soft undercoat. Coat colors include wheaten from cream silver to blue and brindle.

History of the Breed:

The Glen of Imaal Terrier is sometimes called the Wicklow Terrier, for the county in Ireland where they originated. During the reign of Elizabeth I, French and Hessian mercenaries were hired to put down civil unrest. These soldiers settled in the Glen of Imaal with their low-to-the-ground hounds that were crossed with local terriers. The resulting dogs were very sturdy terriers that were employed in vermin control, hunting badgers, foxes, and otters. Irish lore says that these dogs were also put to work on some sort of treadmill, walking for hours to turn a spit of roasting meat. Today, the breed is quite rare with only about 1,000 registered here in the U.S.

Temperament:

The Glen is tough and tenacious when hunting but tends to be relaxed around the home. This is a bright dog, but is also a slow developer, so patience and calm, confident leadership is required for this dog. Use caution around rodent pets and even cats with this breed as they were bred to have a high prey drive. These dogs rarely bark, but when they do, it is a deep bark suggestive of a much larger breed. Glens like to dig and chase.

  • Best suited for: Any family with a secure yard. Also may be suitable for people with allergies as they shed very little.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog can be suitable to apartment living but prefers at least a small yard to explore.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The coat is easy to brush, but will have to be professionally stripped twice yearly. Trimming around the paws and under the tail will keep things tidy. The groomer should pluck hairs in the ears and remove hair between the foot pads as well.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk will ensure a well-behaved pup.
  • Life expectancy: 13-14 years.
  • Health concerns: Considered to be quite healthy but may be slightly prone to hip dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Some also have flea allergies.

Breed Club Links: Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Plush Skinneeez Fox

Have any stories about a Glen of Imaal Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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