Some terriers are known for their feistiness … but the bold yet sweet Irish Terrier is an agreeable companion perfect for active families. Find out what caring for an Irish Terrier is like, as well as health problems to look out for with this breed.
RELATED: Read about other Irish dog breeds …
Irish Terrier Breed Characteristics
With a history as a family guard dog, Irish Terriers are famous for being brave and loyal. This is one of the oldest terrier breeds, and it is known as a trainable, protective, and intelligent dog.
Irish Terrier size is small to medium, reaching a shoulder height of 18 inches and a full-grown weight of 25 to 27 pounds. They have a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your time with this companion.
Irish Terriers have a wiry medium-length double hypoallergenic coat that is relatively easy to maintain. Weekly brushing to remove dirt and loose hair helps maintain his coat. But the short coat also requires regular stripping, and trimming so you may need to find a groomer familiar with the breed. The outer coat should be hand-stripped rather than clipped.
The Irish Terrier is smart and wants to please … but he can be independent and strong-willed. So irish terrier training can be a challenge and must be started early and consistently.
Irish Terrier Breed Standard
Here’s how the official breed standard describes the Irish Terrier’s General Appearance …
“The overall appearance of the Irish Terrier is important. In conformation he must be more than a sum of his parts. He must be all-of-a piece, a balanced vital picture of symmetry, proportion and harmony. Furthermore, he must convey character. This terrier must be active, lithe and wiry in movement, with great animation; sturdy and strong in substance and bone structure, but at the same time free from clumsiness, for speed, power and endurance are most essential. The Irish Terrier must be neither “cobby” nor “cloddy,” but should be built on lines of speed with a graceful, racing outline.”
The Irish Terrier has a long head and strong, straight back with a dense, wiry coat. The color should be uniform, ranging from bright red or golden red to red wheaten or wheaten. Character is an important part of the breed standard, with a graceful, active, and animated appearance.
Best Lifestyle for Irish Terriers
Irish Terriers were historically family and farm dogs. They were bred to chase vermin and act as protectors. This makes them affectionate and alert family pets, and they’re good with children as long as they’re raised with them.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to make sure he’s socialized at a young age to help him get along with other dogs.
This breed is very adaptable but will do best with at least an hour of daily exercise. A small backyard to enjoy is a plus. This is a clever breed that requires mental stimulation to thrive. Be sure to give your Irish Terrier jobs or activities to do regularly!
Irish Terrier Health Problems
Irish Terriers come from a small gene pool and many breeders opt not to test their stock for inherited diseases. Here are common Irish Terrier health issues to be aware of.
Irish Terriers are prone to developing bladder stones formed from minerals in the bladder. Signs that your Irish Terrier has bladder stones may include blood in the urine and difficulty urinating.
Conventional treatment often involves surgery. But you can also manage bladder stones naturally, by feeding the right diet for the type of stones your dog has.
Digital hyperkeratosis is a condition in which your dog produces too much keratin. This can build up and lead to infection. This appears as a rough, crusty patch on the paws and can crack, making your dog vulnerable to invading bacteria and toxins.
Your dog may be suffering from hyperkeratosis if you see dry crusty build-up on the paws with cracks or bleeding. He may limp, and you could see frequent licking, pain or sensitivity of the paws. These symptoms can be managed with home remedies, including apple cider vinegar foot soaks and moisturizing treatments with aloe and honey.
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How To Find Irish Terrier Puppies
Here’s where to start your search for your new family member.
Irish Terrier Parent Breed Clubs
The most reputable place to find purebred Irish Terrier puppies is the parent breed club in your country. Here are some places to look:
In the US: Irish Terrier Club of America
In Canada: Irish Terrier Association Of Canada
In the UK: The Irish Terrier Association (UK)
Beware Of Fake Irish Terriers
If you come across a breeder offering a “Miniature Irish Terrier,” it is probably not a purebred Irish Terrier. Be sure to ask for health certificates and credentials.
Adopt or Foster an Irish Terrier or Irish Terrier Mix?
You can find Irish Terriers looking for new or temporary homes by contacting the Irish Terrier Rescue Network.
Now that you know more about Irish Terriers’ needs, you’re all set to give your dog a happy, healthy life with you!