Irish Terrier

Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 6, 2009)

There was a time when it was thought that the Irish Terrier was a breed peculiar to the Emerald Isle. There is ample proof, however, that, like the Scottish and Welsh Terriers, it goes back to that good old ancestor of most Terriers, the wire-haired black and tan sporting dog of the Great Britain that existed over two centuries ago. The Irish Terrier's relationship to the Welsh Terrier is certain, but the fact remains that it was developed and kept in Ireland for many generations. Old Irish manuscripts refer to the Irish Sporting Terrier, where it was described as the poor man's sentinel, the farmer's friend, and the gentleman's favorite.

Early Irish Terriers were bred, like all the early Terriers, for their working qualities and hunting ability, rather than for appearance. The color range was wide and varied . . . black and tan, grey and brindle, wheaten of all shades, red being predominant. Size, too, did not matter if the dog was game and sturdy. In 1872, 1873, and 1874, when the Irish Terrier first gained attention, type was still a matter of opinion. At the Dublin Show in 1874, prizes were offered for Irish Terriers under 9 lbs. weight and over 9 lbs, weight. At the 1875 show a pure-bred "white" Irish Terrier won the class.

One of the proud boasts of the Irish Terrier fanciers is that the breed proved very successful as war dogs during both World Wars. Serving as messengers and sentinels with a spirit and disregard for danger that was outstanding, they attained fame and high praise for their work.

The most desirable weight in show condition is twenty-seven pounds for the male and twenty-five pounds for the female. The height at the shoulder should be approximately eighteen inches. The Irish Terrier must be active, lithe, and wiry in movement, with great animation. He should be sturdy and strong in substance and bone-structure, but at the same time free from clumsiness, for speed, power, and endurance are most essential.

The Irish Terrier is of good temper, most affectionate, and absolutely loyal to mankind. Tender and forbearing with those he loves, this rugged, stout-hearted Terrier will guard his master, his mistress, children in his charge, or their possessions, with unflinching courage and with utter contempt of danger or hurt. His life is one continuous and eager offering of loyal and faithful companionship, and devoted, loving service. He is ever on guard, and stands between his house and all that threatens.

Additional information on the Irish Terrier can be found at the website for the American Kennel Club.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


Keep Your Pet Cool When Traveling

Whenever you travel with your pet in the car, you need to consider some other pet owner responsibilities. Keeping your ...

Discover More

Raising Your Car on a Jack

If you get a flat tire out on the road, you need to get it changed. And that means getting out and using your trusty car ...

Discover More


Used primarily for racing today, the Greyhound was once a great forest hunter. He has keen eyesight and is known for his ...

Discover More
More Pet Tips

Boston Terrier

Once called the Pit Terrier, the Boston Terrier originates from America. He is lively, friendly, and very intelligent.

Discover More

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is primarily used as a working dog. He is active, strong and an avid fox hunter.

Discover More

Bull Terrier

Considered to be stronger than any other dog, the Bull Terrier was bred for fighting, ratting, badger and bull baiting. ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)