Origin and Brief History

Irish terriers are considered one of the oldest terrier breeds, originally found in Country Cork, Ireland the exact descendants of this breed are unknown. The Irish terrier breed is expected to be around two-thousand years old, although the earliest image of an Irish terrier is a painting from the 1700’s.  Back then the Irish terrier was used to hunt den animals such as, otter and water rats, and was also used as a retriever and wartime messenger.

Specification of Breed

The Irish terrier is a medium sized breed, weighing about twenty five to twenty seven pounds and standing around eighteen inches tall. Irish terriers generally live between twelve and sixteen years, however some have been known to live longer.



Irish terriers are generally courageous, energetic and loyal companions. This breed has a strong protective instinct and would therefor make a great watch dog. They are often very good with small children, though play should be supervised to prevent any harm coming to the dog or the child. Irish terriers are very intelligent and training will be easy if instilled at an early age, also they will do well with cats if they are raised with them. However, this breed will not do well with other dogs as they can be very aggressive towards dogs of the same sex. The Irish terrier is an excellent competitor and will do very well in the sport of obedience and rally.


Grooming the Irish terrier is relatively easy, as they rarely shed and should only be bathed when necessary. However, grooming should start at a young age so that the dog will learn to accept it. Their coat should be brushed weekly with a natural bristled brush. Irish terriers should be hand stripped or hand plucked twice a year, an absolute must if it is a show dog. For companion dogs only it is often easier to clip the coat, but doing this will make the coat softer to the touch and lighten the color. Irish terriers nails should be trimmed as needed, usually only once every couple of weeks. Also, their ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness, if the terrier’s ears become dirty wipe them out with a cotton ball and a PH balanced cleanser recommended by your veterinarian.

Buyer Beware

Before buying this breed of dog, owners should know that these dogs are not for everyone. They require your undivided attention and training from day one. Irish terriers work best with experienced dog owners and will need obedience school, possibly more than once. Typical terriers will chew on things, including fingers and toes, so they must never be left alone with small children. This breed is also known to dig holes under fencing and run away when not leashed.


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