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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 really 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 that never wants to take a nap and never wants to 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 you don’t intend to spend a great deal of time at home with your dog or taking him or her 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 actually own an Irish Terrier so that you might gain a better understanding if this particular “type” of dog is going to be “right” for you.  Because the last thing that we would like to see happen is for you to decide to adopt one of these little guys and come to regret it 2 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, otter 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 of all terrier breeds and as such means that his “ancestry” is always up for debate.  That said however, these little guys probably come from the same ancestor as the Soft 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 like we mentioned earlier, these guys have the heart of a lion which is probably because they were originally bred by Irish farmers for getting rid of the vermin and hunting foxes and otter.  Not an easy task for a dog that is just about the same size as these other animals.

And while…

The Irish Terrier has been around for several hundred years, they didn’t become really famous until around the late 1880’s when they became the fourth most popular breed in the UK. Back then ear cropping of dogs was in fashion, but 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. Where he soon became very famous because of his amazing performances in dog shows across the country.

And while…

They might have stopped being used for their original purpose of hunting small animals, these little guys never lost their courage, which was proven in bulk during the World War I, when these guys were used as messenger 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 very lightweight at 25 to 27 pounds. Regardless, he is very healthy dog, strong and sturdy and has an impressive physique.

One could say that…

These little guys have killer good looks and means business. He has a sleek, wiry, moderately long body. He is a very fast and athletic dog, blessed with lots of power, agility, speed and stamina.

His coat is…

Dense and wiry, somewhat coarse, and comes in colors 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 of an Irish Terrier

The Irish Terrier packs in a whole 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 do like to bark quite a bit and they are not afraid to challenge dogs that are much bigger than him. In fact, it is safe to say that he is not one to back out from a challenge.

Which is probably why…

He is such a loyal dog and loves his family to death. He is protective of the children and is happy to play with them all day long.

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.

Also, he has to get his daily exercise. When you don’t take him out for a long walk, he can get irritable.

The good news is…

These little guys are looking for you to entertain them, rather they crave the spotlight and want to entertain you!  As you will learn as he demonstrates a lot of spunk 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 pretends to be aggressive at times.  But remember Irish Setters can be a little reserved around strangers, but aggressive 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 right, but if having a high energy dog doesn’t scare you, then you’d be hard pressed to find a finer dog breed out there.

Irish Terrier Dog Breed Health Problems

The Irish Terrier is one of the healthiest of all dog breeds. It is very rare for him to get sick, unless he suffers from food poisoning or is actually injured in some type of accident which is probably why he has a very good life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.

That said however…

They do seem to be prone to developing cataracts which is why you should definitely your Irish Terrier breeder is this is an issue with the puppy’s parents you’re are considering adopting.

And while…

Suffering from cataracts may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with 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 right 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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