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Glen of Imaal Terrier Dog Breed… Everything That You Need to Know at a Glance!

Now, if you’ve never heard of a Glen of Imaal Terrier, we can’t fault you all that much, considering these guys are one of the “lesser known” terriers from Ireland mainly because these guys are often compared/confused with a wide variety of other dog breeds with similar characteristics. Species include the Soft-Coated Wheaten, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Irish Terrier, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, etc…

But just because…

They may not be as “popular” as some of the other terriers of the region, but that doesn’t mean he is any less cute. This is why we wanted to take a moment and introduce the breed so that if you’re ever allowed to own one of these little guys, you’ll know for sure if it’s a good idea.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Glen of Imaal Terrier Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Ireland

Original Purpose:  Turnspit dog, hunter of rodents and vermin

Height: 12.5 to 14 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 32 to 40 pounds

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Terrier group

Glen of Imaal Terrier Origin

As the old saying goes…

“Never judge a book by its cover.”

The same holds for the little Glen of Imaal Terrier. This is because these little guys were built tough and, for a very long time, were never really all that appreciated. The Irish Glen of Imaal was initially bred by Flemish mercenaries who fought for Queen Elizabeth the 1st during the mid to late 1500s. During this time, these little guys were used to control the vermin population and hunt badgers and foxes.

These guys were…

They were also used as fighting dogs for entertainment and turned into dogs. And imagine a hamster running for a while only for those unfamiliar with what a “turnspit” is. In this case, the wheel was used to mechanically turn a rotary within an open fire. So basically, these little guys would be enclosed in a cage and forced to run for hours while the food was being prepared in a kitchen. And some might think they were the lucky ones!

Needless to say…

These little guys don’t have the most glamorous of origins. Because these conditions were so harsh, very few“Turnspit” breeds were able to survive this period, which is why so few of them are around today.


The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier was one of the lucky few to fight another day, so we can now appreciate the breed in modern times and give them all the respect and love they deserve. Ironically, even though the species has been around for centuries and the Irish Kennel Club officially recognized the breed way back in 1934, it wasn’t until 2004 that the breed received its well-earned recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which, in our opinion was long overdue.

Physical Characteristics

The Irish Glen has a rectangular body typically weighing 32 to 40 pounds. They are also relatively short, reaching up to a height of only about 14 inches. These guys will have a distinctive medium-length double coat of blue, brindle, or wheaten topped off with a uniquely shaped head and ears that fold over and a docked tail.

All of which will make identifying this breed less complicated; however, if you ask us, the one thing that sets these guys apart from many other similar species is their soulful brown eyes that let you know precisely what they are thinking.

Personality and Temperament

If you adopt an Irish Glen, you will find it a brilliant animal with a great sense of humor and curiosity. Two traits that often make training them both easy and a bit challenging at the same time because, while they are brilliant, they also tend to be a bit of a “goofball” with their playful antics.

And while…

They may not be as excitable as most terriers; these guys will still have a ton of energy and can, occasionally, be somewhat aggressive towards other dogs. This is why it’s always important to begin obedience training early with these guys and ensure they are well-socialized with other animals as puppies.

When done right, the Glen of Imaal dog breed can be a perfect family dog and will typically behave gently and lovingly with children. They are making for a wonderful playmate that will protect the kids in the family. These guys are also very loyal to his family and stick with you until the end. He is your friend for life. But be warned, they tend to bark a lot and can be nosy sometimes!

Potential Health Concerns

The Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier is a very healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. But he is susceptible to specific health conditions such as:

While none of these conditions may be life-threatening, it is safe to say that they can become rather expensive to treat, mainly if they present themselves as a recurring problem. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.,

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