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Irish Terrier Dog Breed Profile

Irish Terrier

Other Names
Irish Red Terrier 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Irish Terrier is a member of the terrier group. They were originally bred as watchdogs and for hunting vermin. Today they are used for coursing, hunting vermin, companions and also seen in the show ring.  
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
The average cost of feeding will be around £4.00 per week. 
Other Expenses
The average cost of a puppy is £500 - £550. 
9 - 15 years
Irish Terriers usually live 12 - 14 years. 
Average Litter Size
The average litter is 7 or 8 puppies. 
General Physical Description
The graceful, racy outline of the Irish Terrier is unmistakable. Head held high on a long, graceful neck, this breed stands out in a crowd. The outer coat is very hard and wry, the undercoat being softer and finer.

Height Min Max
Bitch 46cm (18") 46cm (18")
Dog 48cm (19") 48cm (19")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 11kg (24lbs) 11kg (24lbs)
Dog 12kg (26lbs) 12kg (26lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs should measure 48cms and weigh around 12kgs. Bitches should ideally measure 46cms and weigh around 11kgs. 
A healthy, robust breed which has very few documented genetic problems.  
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
The Irish Terrier is believed to be one of the oldest Irish breeds originating from the districts around Cork in Southern Ireland. Very little history is documented although it is believed the breed is probably descended from old black and tan and wheaten terriers. The breed was used as messenger dogs in the first World War, which attributed to their fearless reputation.  
Having a good memory and wanting to please, this breed is easy to train as long as training is done in a consistent manner. Plenty of variety should be given during the training routine.< 
Show Characteristics
The head should be long with a flat skull and narrow between the ears. The stop should be hardly visible except in the profile. The lips should be well fitting and almost black on the outside and the nose should be black. The small, dark eyes should not be prominent and a light or yellow eye is highly undesirable. The ears should be v-shaped and small, set will on the head and drop forward close to the cheek. The top of the folded ear should sit well above the level of the skull. The ears should be free of fringing and the hair should be shorter and darker in colour than that of the body. The teeth should be even, the jaws strong. With a perfect, level scissor bite. The neck should be a fair length and gradually widen towards the shoulders. It should be carried well and free from throatiness. The shoulders should be fine, long and well laid back. The front legs should be moderately long and perfectly straight with plenty of bone and muscle. The pasterns should be short and straight and hardly noticeable. The hind legs should be strong and muscular with well let down hocks and moderately bent stifles. The hair on the hind legs should be dense and crisp. The chest should be deep and muscular but not full or wide. The body should be moderately long with a straight, strong back. The feet should be strong, moderately small, round with arched toes. Black toe nails are desired. If docked, the tail is customarily docked to three quarters and should be free of fringing or feathering but still be well covered with rough hair. It should be set on fairly high and carried gaily but not over the back or curled. If undocked, the same as above but should be in overall balance with the rest of the dog. Both fore and hind legs should be carried straight and parallel in movement. The coat should be harsh and wiry and have a broken appearance with no shagginess or curl. At the base of these hairs, there should be a growth of finer, softer hair. The most preferable colours are ‘whole-coloured’ red, red/wheaten or yellow/wheaten. A small amount of white hair on the chest is acceptable, but white on the feet is highly undesirable. Black shading through the coat is also highly undesirable. 
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
40 - 60 minutes per day.
Irish Terriers can be boisterous and very energetic, therefore plenty of exercise is a must. However, due to their over-boisterous natures with other dogs, care must be taken when allowed off the lead. They are prone to digging.  
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
Courageous and feisty little dogs who have truly earned the nickname 'The Daredevil'. Affectionate and friendly with people – particularly children – this breed will be loyal and devoted to the family. However, that said, great care should be taken in the presence of other dogs as the males of the breed are known to be fearless and will, if antagonised, fight to win.  
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
< Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
Hand plucking is required 2 or 3 times a year. The hair between the pads of the feet should be regularly trimmed and the ears must be kept clean. 
Irish Terriers come in solid colours of red, red/wheaten or yellow/red. White hair can be seen on the chest and some adult dogs will have black shading.  
Suffers From Allergies

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