The Irish Terrier is affectionate, lively and good-tempered. Irish Terriers are great with children but can be quite eager to fight when other dogs are present. They need to be socialized at a young age with cats so they will not chase them. Irish Terriers become very dependent upon their family and bond so closely that they consider it punishment to be left alone for long periods of time.
The grooming demands of Irish Terriers varies depending on the condition of the coat. But they will need the hairs hand-plucked (stripped) at least twice a year. This can be done by a dog groomer or the owner can learn to do it themselves. The coat is relatively easy to keep looking neat and tidy. The excess hair between the pads of the feet needs to be trimmed and the ears need to be kept clean.
The Irish Terrier enjoys playing and romping about in the backyard or open spaces. They need a reasonable amount of exercise and should be taken out regularly. They love going with their family everywhere and travelling in the car.
This breed arrived in Ireland in the pre Christian era - probably with the Phoenician trading ships. There were a variety of dogs in England back in those times, some were burrowing types and others were capable of hunting large animals. It is presumed that with those early breeds they were crossed freely with one another until distinctive types evolved. Due to this ancestry the Irish Terrier is slightly longer in the body than most of the English Terriers and is also capable of both hunting and retrieving.
General Appearance: Plucky, sturdy and racy.
Color: Red, red/wheaten or yellow/red. A Small white marking is permitted on the chest.
Coat: The outercoat is wiry and harsh and the undercoat is soft.
Tail: Commonly docked, set high and carried erect.
Ears: High set, moderately thick, V-shaped with the tips dropping forward.
Body: The shoulders are long and well laid back with a moderately long body. The chest is deep and muscular and the back is strong and straight. The ribs are well sprung and the loin is muscular and slightly arched.
- The Irish Terrier has earned the nickname "Daredevil" from it's trait of being aggressive towards other dogs.
- In the 1880s Irish Terriers were the fourth most popular breed in England.
- The female Irish Terriers tend to be calmer and less aggressive towards other dogs than the males.