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Adopt an Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen



Area of origin:


Original function:

hunting fox, otter, and other vermin

Average size of male:

Ht: 18, Wt: 27

Average size of female:

Ht: 18, Wt: 25

Other names:

Irish red terrier

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Irish Terrier Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Irish Terrier dogs available on Petfinder

Irish Terrier Dog Temperament

Called the daredevil of dogdom, the Irish terrier is brash, bold, assertive, playful, inquisitive, independent, strong-willed and ever ready for action and adventure. He likes to chase and run and hunt and explore; he needs daily physical and mental exercise in a safe area. Given sufficient exercise, he is surprisingly well-mannered and dignified indoors. He is a loyal and entertaining companion.

Irish Terrier Dog Care

This is a dog with an active mind and body. He needs daily entertainment and exercise. He makes a good walking and jogging companion, as well as hiking or hunting partner. His needs can also be met with a rigorous play session. His wire coat needs combing one or two times weekly, plus scissoring and shaping two to four times yearly.

Irish Terrier Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: urolithiasis
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: none
Life span: 12-15 years

Interested in the history of the Irish Terrier dog breed?

The quintessential long-legged terrier, the Irish terrier is also one of the oldest terrier breeds. His creation is not documented, but he may have descended from the old black and tan terrier and a larger but racier solid wheaten-colored terrier, both of which were found in Ireland and used for hunting fox, otter and vermin. His similarity to the Irish wolfhound has led to conjecture that he may have descended at least in part from that breed. The Irish terrier is the raciest member of the terrier group, with a longer body and longer legs than the other terriers. Early Irish terriers came in a variety of colors, including black and tan, gray and brindle; only near the end of the 19th century did the solid red color become a fixture of the breed. The first Irish terrier was shown in 1875. By the 1880s, the breed was the fourth-most popular in England. At that time, it was fashionable to crop the ears of many terriers, but in 1889 the Irish Terrier Club of England banned ear cropping in the breed. The ruling was to have far-reaching implications for all dogs because it instigated the debate about ear cropping and eventually led to the abolition of cropped ears in all breeds shown in England. The breed also became quite popular in America, ranking 13th of all breeds in the late 1920s. He was a dominant force in the show rings of the day. In World War I, the breed proved his mettle by serving as a messenger and sentinel. With such an auspicious beginning, the Irish terrier seemed certain to remain one of the most popular terriers, but he didn't. Today the Irish is one of the rarer terriers, an uncommon sight in either the show ring or home.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Irish Terrier Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Irish Terriers ready for adoption:

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