Irish Terrier

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Is the Irish Terrier right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Irish Red Terrier

The basics:
The Irish Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds and Ireland's first recognized native terrier. An old Irish saying refers to this energetic dog as the "poor man's sentinel, the farmer's friend, and the gentleman's favorite." According to the Irish Terrier Association (ITA), they were originally developed to be courageous vermin killers, without much concern for their appearance as long as they got the job done. They proved their courage during World War I by delivering messages to soldiers on the battlefield and become known as daredevil dogs.

If you understand the terrier personality, you already know that you should be ready for an energetic and athletic animal who can chase and even jump fences. An active owner who can give this dog plenty of time and training will bring out the best in the Irish Terrier. Because of their strong drive to destroy smaller animals, they should probably only be placed in homes where they are the only pet.

Appearance / health:
The Irish Terrier is a large dog in a small body. The lean, wedge-shaped, and flat head of the Irish Terrier is seven and a half to eight inches from the back of the skull to the tip of the nose. The jaws must be strong and muscular. The dark hazel eyes have an intelligent expression.

The small V-shaped ears are set high on the head. The tail is set straight on the back.

Adults do not shed much. They require plenty of brushing, with an occasional plucking or stripping, to remove the dead hair. Bathing and shampooing is done rarely. Puppies shed more and may require their coats to be plucked and stripped.

Irish Terriers enjoy walks and jogging. Light to moderate exercise every day is necessary to keep the dog healthy and happy.

Irish Terriers are less prone to several diseases than many other breeds. However, cancer, eye and thyroid problems, and ear infections may occur in some dogs.

Behavior / temperament:
Irish terriers excel in vermin-killing, and are capable of hunting small game in land and on water. Owners need to remember that these small dogs have enormous energy, courage, and strength. They may need to be prepared for jumping, digging, tearing the newspapers to shreds, stealing food, and barking at every passerby. Yet, unlike many terriers, they are not hyperactive. Bored dogs may indulge in destructive behavior. Though they do not demand for attention and affection, they are happiest in the company of their owners and families. They have a good nose.

Socializing the puppy may begin after they are 7 weeks old. Consistency, patience, and firmness are necessary with Irish Terrier. Owing to their high intelligence, they are fast learners that love to be part of most activities with their owners and families. Trainers may need to avoid routines to keep the dog engaged. Irish Terriers may be stubborn at times. However, harsh treatment will result in a dog with a broken spirit.

They usually only bark if there is something wrong. They may bark to announce the presence of a stranger at the door.

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