The Spirited Charm of the Irish Terrier

Irish Terrier

Last Updated on August 13, 2023 by Fumipets

The Spirited Charm of the Irish Terrier


The Irish Terrier is a breed that embodies a unique blend of tenacity, loyalty, and affection. With their distinctive appearance and spirited personality, these dogs have captured the hearts of many. From their rich history as working companions to their role as beloved family members, the Irish Terrier’s story is one of resilience, intelligence, and unwavering devotion.

The Irish Terrier is a breed with a rich heritage and a distinct character. Known for their fiery red coat, expressive eyes, and spirited demeanor, Irish Terriers have a long history as versatile working dogs and loyal companions.

Their intelligent and affectionate nature, coupled with their boundless energy, make them ideal for active families. Whether chasing a ball in the backyard or curling up for cuddles indoors, the Irish Terrier leaves an indelible mark on the lives of those fortunate enough to share their journey.

Irish Terrier

Irish terriers are active, playful, outgoing dogs who want to please their owners while having a tendency to be stubborn sometimes. They are devoted and devoted to their family, which is one of the reasons the breed received the moniker “Daredevil,” despite standing barely 18 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 25 and 27 pounds. 

Irish terriers like having their own room to burn off energy, and they have a lot of it to burn! They appreciate activities that keep their wits bright and their sleek but robust bodies moving, whether it be running, hiking, or even simply taking a long stroll around the neighborhood.

(Anyone for agility?) Irish terriers are a somewhat uncommon breed, so it’s likely that your dog will be the only one of its kind in the neighborhood dog park.


An Irish terrier’s coat will catch your eye right away: The Irish setter, another breed of ginger from the Emerald Isle, has the same flaming red standard color. The similarities between the coats of the two breeds, however, stop there.

The Irish terrier’s coat is dense, wiry, thick, and seldom sheds, in contrast to the Irish setter’s flowing long hair, so you won’t have to spend all your time cleaning up after her. She may have red, golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten fur that is all one color.

The Irish terrier’s body is svelte, strong, and transmits “a balanced vital picture of symmetry, proportion, and harmony,” according to the Irish Terrier Club of America (ITCA), standing 18 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 25 and 27 pounds.

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She may have characteristics in common with other Irish, Welsh, and British terriers (Kerry Blue Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, and Airedale Terrier), but don’t worry; she’s her own dog.

She has dark brown eyes that are “full of life, fire, and intelligence,” as the breed standard puts it. They have a strong expression. Her skull is long, with billy goat-like scruff on one end and V-shaped ears that elegantly fold over on the other.


An Irish terrier’s demeanor is just as strong as her eyes. She has excellent judgment, is loving, devoted, and intellectual.

According to Linda Honey, president of the Irish Terrier Club of Southern California, “Irish terriers absolutely love children, and they will [watch over] their families.” She has spent 60 years living with and working with the breed. “They have been known to be wary of strangers, but they are equally great with welcome guests and love the attention.”

To develop into adaptable adults, Irish terrier pups require early socialization with unfamiliar people and animals. According to Honey, Irish terriers get along well with other dogs and cats as long as they’ve grown up together. In addition, she notes that “they are not always friendly with other dogs and they definitely don’t like cats that aren’t family members.”

They are a breed that responds well to training because of their large minds, devotion to their owners, and short learning curve. Bring on the food and affection—Irish terriers, like other dogs, react strongly to positive reinforcement.

However, according to Honey, Irish terriers may not be suitable for everyone. They need care since they are bright, she claims. Before purchasing an Irish terrier, a person should have previous dog ownership experience.

Living Needs

The Irish terrier dog was raised as a family pet, a protector, and a hunter, and she still enjoys participating in activities with her owners.

Irish terriers benefit from active families and a fenced backyard since they need to exercise for their mental and physical health (as well as to burn off all their excess energy), however, they can also live in apartments, according to Honey.

According to Doug Rapport, president of the Chesapeake Irish Terrier Club, AKC Breeder of Merit, and AKC Breeder with H.E.A.R.T., the Irish terrier is remarkably adaptable to practically any living circumstance. “Walks and playtime are essential because they do enjoy exercise.”

When appropriately introduced to water, Irish terriers often like swimming and perform well on half-day treks. Like many dogs, if these puppies are left alone for an extended period of time, they could amuse themselves by chewing on furniture, ripping up tissues, or removing the stuffing from pillows.

An active and interested Irish terrier is less prone to misbehave. Once they are thoroughly house-trained, they may often be left alone for four or five hours at a stretch, according to Rapport.


It’s as simple as 1-2-3 to maintain an Irish terrier’s appearance: frequent brushing, stripping, and trimming. Her coat will be cleaned at home once a week to eliminate filth. She’ll look good with a monthly shampoo and frequent trimming.

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“Many terrier breeds have coats that need to be stripped, and the Irish terrier is one of them,” Honey adds. They must be stripped in order to develop the thick, wiry coat that is expected of them; it must be rich in quality.

As with other dogs, make time at home to check your Irish terrier’s ears for infections and to provide her with regular dental care.

A lifelong program of consistent positive reinforcement training will assist an Irish terrier become obedient and pleasant. According to Rapport, the best method to educate an Irish terrier puppy is to be very patient, consistent, and persistent.

According to Rapport, “consistent” indicates that everyone in the family must follow the same procedure. “For instance, we as humans understand that the words “Irish sit” and “sit Irish” are interchangeable. The dog, however, will not recognize the words as being the same since they sound completely different to them. Therefore, for the same command, everyone must use the same words.

“To be persistent is to persevere. Small doses of exercise, [such] five to 15 minutes spread throughout the day, are much preferable than one lengthy session, he continues. The Irish terrier is incredibly intelligent, but cunningly so. They determine what you want before deciding whether or not to comply.

Your Irish terrier may find agility training gratifying and difficult, making it the ideal exercise and training combination. A fun sport you can do with your dog to deepen your relationship is agility, in addition to everything else.


Irish terriers live between 13 and 15 years. They are almost entirely free of hereditary health issues, making them one of the healthiest purebred dogs.

However, hyperkeratosis, often known as hardened, cracked footpads, is an uncommon health condition to be cautious of. Although the illness is uncommon in North America, dogs of European ancestry may be affected.

According to the Irish Terrier Club of America, cystinuria, which results in bladder stones, is a second uncommon health condition that may affect Irish terriers. Even though these are both uncommon ailments in Irish terriers if you think your puppy may be showing signs of either, be sure to call your vet.

Besides these two uncommon ailments, your Irish terrier has to go to the vet every year for checkups and immunizations. Depending on where you live, you should also discuss flea and tick prevention with your veterinarian, either seasonally or year-round.


Given that early Irishmen were not renowned for keeping meticulous records, the Irish terrier dog’s origins are rather obscure. Although the breed as we know it now was founded in the 1870s, it is largely thought that she traces back to the 1800s.

George R. Krehl, a proponent of the breed at the time, said in The Illustrated Book of the Dog, which was published in 1881, “…the Irish Terrier is a true and distinct breed to Ireland and no man can trace its origin, which is lost in antiquity.”

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The Irish terrier was the fourth most popular dog in Ireland and England at the time the book was released. She initially traveled across the Atlantic before arriving in the US shortly after.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Irish terrier in 1885, only one year after the breed initially made its way to the United States. The Irish Terrier Club of America was established in 1896 as a result of the increasing popularity of the breed.

The Irish terrier served as a battlefield courier in World War I and earned the nickname “War Dog” for her bravery, grit, and devotion to her people. I can state with definite emphasis that the Irish Terriers of the army more than did their part, according to Lt. Col. E H Richardson of the British War Dog School, who wrote on the breed’s role during the war.

A lot of soldiers are still alive today because of one of these terriers. This Breed has earned great regard from me. Those of us who appreciate and admire the finer characteristics of the mind will find them fully represented in these terriers.

They are very sensitive, lively dogs of exquisite metal. They are very wise, dependable, and honest, and a guy who keeps one of them as a companion will never be without a genuine buddy.

Questions People Also Ask


What makes the Irish Terrier stand out from other breeds?

The Irish Terrier’s striking red coat, coupled with their courageous yet affectionate temperament, sets them apart. Their unwavering loyalty and intelligence make them exceptional companions.

Are Irish Terriers suitable for families with children?

Yes, Irish Terriers can be great family dogs. They are energetic and playful, which makes them excellent playmates for children. However, early socialization and training are essential to ensure a harmonious relationship.

Do Irish Terriers require a lot of grooming?

Irish Terriers have a wiry, dense coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. While they don’t shed much, occasional hand-stripping – a method of coat maintenance – helps maintain their unique texture.

Are Irish Terriers easy to train?

Irish Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them trainable. However, their strong-willed nature may require consistent and patient training techniques. Positive reinforcement and engaging activities work well.

Do Irish Terriers have specific exercise needs?

Yes, Irish Terriers are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive games are essential to prevent boredom and behavior issues.

Are Irish Terriers good watchdogs?

Absolutely! Irish Terriers have a keen sense of alertness and are known for their protective nature. They will not hesitate to sound the alarm if they sense something unusual.

Do Irish Terriers get along with other pets?

With proper socialization, Irish Terriers can coexist harmoniously with other pets. However, their terrier instincts might lead them to chase smaller animals. Early exposure and training can help mitigate this behavior.

The Irish Terrier’s charm lies in their combination of spunk and affection. With proper care, training, and plenty of love, they become cherished members of the family – a testament to their enduring spirit and the joy they bring to those who open their hearts to these spirited dogs.


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