Irish Terrier


A small to medium sized Irish Terrier
Irish Terrier Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)16-19in (40-48cm)
Weight24-28lbs (11-13kg)
Hair Colour(s)Red, wheaten
Lifespan13-16 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size4-7
Barking TendencyMedium-high
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftMedium

The Irish Terrier is a small to medium sized dog with a sturdy build. The body has a level topline with a slight arch over the loin, a deep chest set off by a noticable stomach tuck, muscular front legs and an erect tail that is normally docked. The flattish head has a long and slightly rectangular bearded muzzle with long whiskers, a black nose, forward folding ears, and small fiery eyes framed by bushy eyebrows. The coat is wiry and harsh with a softer undercoat, and the colouring is normally is shades of red or wheaten.


Irish Terriers are spirited and couragous dogs that can be rather hot-tempered and reckless at times. Friendly, loyal and animated, they can also be very determined and territorial, and will be protective of their families. With great agility and boundless energy, they need plenty of physical stimulation and attention, and if neglected will often become bored, which can lead to destructive behavior. Although entertaining, these dogs can be a handful as they love to jump, dig, chase and often bark, and so should be trained firmly from the start and socialised from an early age in order to promote a more stable temperament. On that note they are intelligent and trainable but can be somewhat willful, stubborn and over-confident, which can make training difficult and they can also be difficult to housebreak. As a result they are more suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. Irish Terriers get along well with older, more considerate children, but can be both dominant and aggressive over other pets. In particualr they cannot be trusted with non-canine pets and will challenge unfmiliar animals. And being very territorial dogs, they can be very wary around strangers, which makes them ideal watchdogs.

History & Skills

Irish Terriers originate from Ireland, as their name suggests, and in particular from County Cork. Although their exact origins are unclear, these are probably one of the the oldest of the terrier breeds and may have descended from old Black and Tan and Wheaten Terriers. A multi-talented breed, they have been used to hunt and exterminate vermin, otters and water rats, to retrieve messages during wartime, for retrieving, tracking, guarding and in farm and police work. These days they are popular as family pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Irish Terriers tend to live between 13-16 years and are a hardy breed with very few health problems. Some of the few health problems that have been noted include skin problems and allergies, eye problems and urinary stones.


Irish Terriers are low shedders, which makes them suitable for those with allergies. They are low maintenance with regards to grooming, and the coat will need brushing once a week to remove dead hair and keep it in good condition. Their coat may need clipping every few months, and show dogs will need to have their dead coat stripped several times a year. Bathing should be undertaken only when necessary, and the ears and teeth should be checked regularly for cleanliness and to reduce the chances of infections.

Exercise & Environment

Irish Terriers are active dogs and can be fine in small homes, such as apartments, as long as they receive enough exercise. As they were bred for active work they need a lot of exercise, and will need a long daily walk on the leash and access to a yard or garden for play. The leash should be held firmly to prevent them from fighting with other dogs, especially when walking in public.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

Coming soon!

Owners Gallery

Pretty empy right now. If you would like to see you dog here please email a photo to BFD Photos along with your name, your dog's name & age, breed and rough location (please keep image file sizes reasonable!).