Irish Terrier

Breed History

Irish Terrier side shot

Irish Terrier is a small size dog with from Ireland and is a part of the large Terrier family. Intelligent dog that is full of energy and ready to learn or play any time.

All Terriers, with few exceptions, were bred to hunt down vermin on farmland and they are notorious for being expert ratters. A pack of Irish Terriers can kill hundreds of rats in a period of a few hours.

Farmers that were experiencing issues with rodents would get a nice size of terriers and they would kill rats with a strong bite and a few shakes. Speed and agility allows them to catch small rodents quickly.

They separate themselves from the other Terriers in a few ways. Longer legs and a longer body shows a difference in body type. Older than the other Terriers and come in an exclusive red coat unlike the others.

Their name comes from the native land which is Ireland. Being a Terrier comes from the word in their country that means earth due to their ability to dig up rodents and kill them.

Hunting other animals such as foxes, rabbits, and other small animals makes them excellent hunters. Bigger hunters can’t catch these smaller animals due to their size, but Irish Terrier don’t have any issues.

During World War I, they were a significant part of sending messages to others and kept many people from dying. It is well noted how instrumental they were in the communication process.


In 1885, they would receive official recognition and registration from the American Kennel Club. Irish Terriers have the honor of being in the second wave of dogs to enter the club after 1878.

Top 120 in registration they don’t show any signs of becoming more popular in the upcoming decades. Remaining a fixture in their current popularity will continue to happen.

Terrier Group by all major kennel clubs when they put them into any category. Here are the major kennel clubs and their breed standards.


Male Height: 18 inches

Female Height: 18 inches

Male Weight: 27 pounds

Female Weight: 25 pounds

Litter Size

4 puppies are the average litter size for this breed. Breeders should be aware of how many puppies to expect to take care of for eight weeks before placing them in the possession of a responsible owner. Mothers don’t have any known procedures they need to give birth and the process is natural without human interference.


  • Red
  • Wheaten
  • Red and Wheaten
  • Different shades are acceptable, but no other colors will be. Solid colors only.


$1,000-$4,000 is the average price for an Irish Terrier. Prices vary depending on location, currency, supply, demand and other factors that can change the price.

Registration is more expensive because of the strict breed standards and rigid breeding process professional breeders follow. Both parents must qualify for papers in other for the puppy to receive them.

Without papers there are many issues you can run into. Bloodline will not have a trace from Ireland up until the kennel club you purchase the dog from. Parents at some point lost the ability to receive papers.

Most likely due to crossbreeding with other dogs. Understanding the colors and all other aspects of the breed standards will ensure that your new puppies and their parents fit the standards.


Make sure you take the dog on a long exercise session consisting of a run or a walk before grooming. Set you and the Irish Terrier up for success before grooming ever starts. Properly getting this sequence right every time will make it easier and enjoyable to groom this breed.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing should happen at least once per week to keep the coat in great condition. Getting a tool that can reach the skin will give you the best results.

Combing should occur at least once per week as well but is not going to have adverse effects on the coat if not. Tools that can reach the skin will deliver the best results.

Bathe the dog after a long exercise session and keep a leash on to communicate how you want the dog to stand still. After a long run or walk the dog will love the hose when you let me them drink and you use it for baths when they need to cool off.

Ears are going to get infections unless you clean them routinely. I would suggest two to three times per month minimum to avoid preventable vet bills.

Trimming the nails should happen during exercise, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise the dog, which we don’t recommend, trim them with nail clippers or take them to a professional.

We don’t recommend professional grooming for most dog owners.

Life Span

14-15 years is the average lifespan for an Irish Terrier. That’s a long time for any owner to own a dog and it is an above average lifespan for any dog. Irish Terriers live a long time and owners be aware of the time commitment they are making when owning one of them. A great dog to adopt as an adult because you have the potential to own them for over a decade even after they are full grown.

Health Issues

Hyperkeratosis – a terrible condition where the skin of a dog paws gets hard and there is no treatment available currently. Once the skin gets hard it is susceptible to cracking and infections will develop. Paws are instrumental to the health of the dog and this problem is unfortunate.

Cystinuria – disorder that causes the Irish Terrier to lose their ability to filter cystine out of their urine in a natural manner. Genetically they receive this through their parents who got it from their parents. Only a few breeds are prone to this issue.

Hemangiosarcoma – cancer tumors that affect the cells in the body. One of the few conditions that will cause the dog to die much earlier than usual. Losing blood flow in varies veins and inside of the tissue proves to be deadly if left without treatment.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Terrier Group. These dogs are strong hunters and they specialize in hunting down smaller animals and rodents. Known as ratters they are legends on the farmlands in Europe and all over the world.

Intelligence, agility, and incredible speed has led them into becoming a dog that most small prey can’t outrun or hide from in tiny space. Here are some of the dogs in the Terrier Group

Exercise Needs

Irish Terrier needs a lot of exercise and a great owner will them exercise every single day. Failure to give them daily exercise will result in unfavorable behavior. Lack of exercise and bad behavior have strong connections to each other.

Whenever a dog isn’t getting their proper exercise, they begin to exercise themselves in ways that are destructive. Digging, biting nipping, excessive barking and many other behaviors will all start becoming the norm.

You need to learn how much exercise is enough for your dog. I have no idea how much is enough without exercising your dog, but I can tell you their behavior is what will tell it all.

Start by giving them more exercise daily and evaluate how they have been acting. If they are the same, you haven’t done enough per day. When it stops halfway you need to continue to give more exercise.

Here is basic recommendation we suggest you start with

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: 30 mins (run, walk or treadmill)

Younger dogs need more runs and we like to do that on a bike. Two sessions per day consisting of any method of exercise will give you the best results and immediate relief.

Adult dogs should be less energetic, if you have been exercising them, and will need a balance of runs and walks. Not exercising a dog and it is an adult will result in you exercising them like they’re younger dogs for a while.

Senior dogs don’t need any runs and a short walk will be all they need. No two session days and all your hard work up until this point will have paid huge dividends for many years already.

Regardless of age take the time to always look at behavior and determine how much or little you need to give your Irish Terrier.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Solid foundations should be built for any training program and no foundation is more solid than a daily exercise program. Benefits include lower energy, better command response, and excellent state of mind for socialization. Imagine exercising the dog for 365-720 hours per year? How much would that change the way your dog acts right now? Expect to spend most of your time in this area bonding with the dog while having them follow your directions while walking this many hours a year.

Commands will be important but less time-consuming than the exercise portion. You want to have full control over your dog on and off leash. A game of repetition will enable you to teach your dog basic commands within a few days. All dogs are different, but you should use a mixture of treats, toys, and the most important are life rewards. Sit before they eat, drink, come out the kennel and more are the best methods.

Socialize the dog after long exercise sessions. Before you go to the vet, park, dog park, visiting family, hang out with the kids, road trips and any other event take them on a long run or walk before and watch the results improve.

Correct the dog verbally, on or off leash it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you understand timing should be consistent with prevention and making them sit or lay after each correction. Doing this consistently is the best way to correct your dog while communicating perfectly.

Are Irish Terriers Good Family Dogs?

Yes, Irish Terriers are great for the family, kids, and other dogs that live inside of the house. Trainability isn’t an issue because this is one of the most intelligent and affectionate dogs you can own.

Owners should focus their attention on the large amount of exercise they need every day and training. Are you willing to commit to those activities? If the answer is yes you have no worries about owning this dog and it being a great pet from day one.

People who want to own dogs and not take care of their physical and mental needs of exercising for one to two hours per day are going to always experience a dog that doesn’t respect them and will listen less often.

Blueprint is simple in that regard exercise and train the dog for the walk, house, backyard, and social settings and you will not run into any problems.

Additional Resources