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Irish Terrier Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

He may be smallish in size….

….But has the heart of a lion.

Meet the Irish Terrier, a medium-sized dog with a wiry body who thinks he is much bigger than he is. This dog from Ireland is playful and funny…. But be careful because this little guy also likes to chase anything that moves!


He can be more than a handful at times. But for those who love the Irish Terrier, it is this abundance of energy that is probably what makes them so lovable! It’s also probably why kids adore the Irish Terrier. Having one is like having a sibling to play with who never wants to nap and steal their toys! These guys can spend hours chasing the ball in the yard, playing hide and seek, Frisbee, or other fun games. He excels at every dog sport, such as agility and obedience.

But is the Irish Terrier the One for you?

That is the real question. Because while the Irish Terrier is a perfect family dog and will be your friend for life, all that energy can be a bit to deal with. Especially if you don’t have kids or don’t intend to spend a great deal of time at home with your dog or take them to the dog park throughout the week.

This is why…

In this article, we hope to shed some light on what it would be like to own an Irish Terrier so that you might better understand that this particular “type” of dog will be “right” for you. The last thing we would like to see happen is for you to decide to adopt one of these little guys and regret it two months from now.

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

Irish Terrier Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Ireland

Original Purpose:  Hunting small game, including foxes, otters, and other vermin

Height: 18-20 inches

Weight: 25-27 lb

Lifespan: 12-16 years

Dog Breed Classification: AKC Terrier

Origin of the Irish Terrier Dog Breed

The Irish Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds, so his “ancestry” is always debatable. However, these little guys probably come from the same ancestor as the Coated Wheaten Terrier and the Black and Tan Terrier.


In a lot of ways, this dog resembles the Irish Wolfhound, except, of course, that he is smaller in size, but don’t tell him that because these, as we mentioned earlier, guys have the heart of a lion, which is probably because Irish farmers originally bred them for getting rid of the vermin and hunting foxes and otter. It is not an easy task for a dog about the same size as these other animals.

You see…

The Irish Terrier has been around for several hundred years; They didn’t become famous until around the late 1880s when they became the fourth most popular breed in the UK. Back then, ear cropping of dogs was in fashion. Still, fortunately, this inhumane practice was put to an end by the Irish Terrier Club of England in 1889, which is why many pictures and photos of these dogs from back then may look a little different from what the modern-day Irish Terrier looks like.


The Irish Terrier Dog was brought to the United States in the early 20th century. He soon became famous because of his outstanding performance in nationwide dog shows. While they might have stopped being used for their original purpose of hunting small animals, these little guys never lost their courage, proven in bulk during World War I when they were used as messengers and sentinel dogs under the line of fire. This is probably why this breed was one of the earliest dogs to be “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1929 and remains popular even today.

 Physical Characteristics

The Irish Terrier is only a medium-sized dog that reaches a height of 18 to 20 inches and is very lightweight at 25 to 27 pounds. Regardless, he is a very healthy dog, strong and sturdy, and has an impressive physique. One could say that these little guys have killer good looks and mean business. He has a sleek, wiry, moderately long body. He is a very athletic dog with loter, agility, speed, and stamina.

His coat is…

Dense and wiry, somewhat coarse, it comes in red wheaten, wheaten, bright red, or golden red. Irish Terrier Puppies have black hair at birth. And while the Irish Terriers coat may seem like it would be easy to deal with, you should be aware that it will require brushing several times a week and will also require “grooming” with scissors every couple of months; otherwise, you’re going to have a real mess on your hands!

Personality and Temperament

The Irish Terrier packs a lot of energy and personality into his sleek, lithe body. He is incredibly active and lively and is always on the move. But be warned, these little guys like to bark quite a bit and are not afraid to challenge dogs much more significantly than him. It is safe to say that he cannot withdraw from a challenge.

Which is probably why…

He is such a loyal dog and loves his family to death. He protects the children and is happy to play with them all day. He is also a sort of dog that craves attention. He wants you to include him in every activity. He gets attached to his human family and can get frustrated if and when he gets ignored by anyone. So you better bet that he’s going to demand his daily exercise. He can get irritable when you don’t take him out for a long walk.

The excellent news is…

These little guys want you to entertain them; instead, they crave the spotlight and want to entertain you! You will learn that he demonstrates a lot of grit and always talks back to you, happily barking and following you around. These guys are very affectionate dogs; he is a lover more than a fighter – although he sometimes pretends to be aggressive. But remember, Irish Setters can be reserved around strangers but bold with other animals. The Irish Terrier is very aggressive towards dogs of the same sex, seeing them as competition. And if this all sounds like a lot to handle, you could be correct, but if having a high-energy dog doesn’t scare you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a finer dog breed out there.

Potential Health Concerns

The Irish Terrier is one of the healthiest of all dog breeds. He rarely gets sick unless he suffers from food poisoning or is injured in an accident, which is probably why he has an excellent life expectancy of 12 to 16 years. That said, however, they seem prone to developing cataracts, which is why you should ask your Irish Terrier breeder if this is an issue with the puppy’s parents you are considering adopting.

And while…

Suffering from cataracts may not be life-threatening, but they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you 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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