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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Irish Terrier


Irish Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 18" tall
  • Weight
  • 25-27 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Red
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Irish red terrier, daredevil,


The Irish terrier originated in Ireland.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the 1700's.


This is probably the oldest, native terrier in Ireland. Bred for small game and to control vermin, it is also a good retriever and will retrieve both from water and land. It has been used to hunt big game and has served as a military dog in World War I.


This is a medium sized dog that is powerful and agile. Its head is long and the skull is flat and narrow and free of wrinkles. The skull and muzzle is equal in length and the jaw is strong. The small, dark brown eyes are often described as fiery. There is a black nose and small, v-shaped ears that are semi-erect, folding forward. The tail is docked at about a quarter of its length and held high. There is a soft undercoat and a wiry, broken, medium-short outer coat that fits close to the body. The face has a beard and whiskers. The coat can be bright red, red wheaten, or wheaten.


This is a good tempered dog that is affectionate and loyal to its family but fiery and courageous in the field. It is very protective, sometimes overprotective, making an excellent guard. It is somewhat difficult to train as it can be mischievous.


It has been used to penetrate the dens of small animals, as a retriever, as a hunter in water of otters and water rats, and as a messenger in times of war. A medal was conferred on the breed in 1918 for, among other things, "its boldness and complete scorn for danger". Today the Irish terrier is much appreciated as a companion dog. It lives well in the city and in any climate.

Health Concerns

Bladder stones

Additional Information

This dog requires hand stripping by a professional groomer.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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