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Facts About the Irish Terrier

Claudia Miclaus Jul 22, 2020
The Irish terrier is great with kids and very lovable. However, on encountering other dogs, it may show its 'fighting Irish spirit'. It is a great choice as a pet, and a trustworthy companion as well. There is no better watchdog than this.
The Irish terrier is also known as the 'Red Devil' and the 'Wild Irish'.


This breed originated in southern Ireland about 2,000 years ago. The oldest documentation of it is in paintings from the 1700s. By 1875, it started appearing in dog shows and was soon being shown all over Ireland. Its popularity couldn't go unnoticed and by the 1800s, it became one of the most popular dog breeds in all of England.
In England in the 1800s, cropping the ears of pure breed dogs was considered as something good and natural; it made the dog look sharp. However, in 1889, the Irish Terrier Club of England started a big debate about the cropping of this breed's ears.
They eventually got a law stating that cropping the ears of any breed of dog exhibited was illegal in England. This breed was and has been used for many purposes that include hunting, tracking, retrieving, and as a ratter, watchdog, and police dog.

Appearance and Grooming

This dog has the typical terrier head, long and rectangular, with a mustache, and bright eyes that glitter underneath big, bushy eyebrows. It is medium-sized, and is longer than it is tall. Eyes are small and dark-brown in color. The nose is black. The height of this breed is about 18 inches and the weight is between 25 to 27 pounds.
The coat is coarse, hard, and wiry. Coat colors include solid-red, red and gold, red and wheaten, or wheaten. It also has a softer undercoat. It has a well-balanced, well-muscled body, and a docked tail. This dog is a minimal shedder and does not need excessive grooming unless it's a show dog. Occasional brushing to remove dead hair is sufficient.


If you feed your dog grain-based food, change the diet step-by-step. Feed him/her lamb & rice-based dog food. Some dogs are allergic to grain-based food. Never feed your dog human food except when he/she is sick and you need to feed it some rice or chicken broth. A dog's stomach isn't made for human food and will eventually react negatively to it.
Also, never feed your dog chocolate or onions, as they are life-threatening. Also avoid garlic, as high doses can cause serious health problems. Learn to say no even when your dog asks for the food that you are eating. Also avoid raw bones, raw chicken, or raw eggs.


With a high-strung spirit that is eager to please, this breed can be easily trained. It is a brave dog that is loyal to its owners. It is great with kids and is an excellent watchdog. It is only a bit difficult to housebreak this breed. It needs an owner who can display consistent assertiveness and let the dog know who is boss.
This breed is prone to be intolerant of other dogs. It needs to be well-socialized from an early age. It has a protective streak. It should only be let free in a yard that has been fenced.


This is a generally-healthy breed. It is not highly prone to food allergies, any major eye or breathing problems, hip dysplasia, or any major hereditary illnesses. However, it is more susceptible to hypothyroidism and cataract. The lifespan of this breed is 13 to 14 years.
Once you get to know an Irish Terrier well enough to get acquainted with his personality, to recognize the depth of his love, to behold his proud, almost swaggering carriage, his catlike grace of movement and blinding speed and coordination of muscle...
...and his magnificent courage and heart, and to see his unnerving intelligence displayed again and again, you will be convinced that the Irish Terrier is one of the most magnificent of God's creations in the dog family.
~ Byron N. Martin