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Small Dog Breeds

Information About The Irish Terrier Dog Breed


The Irish Terrier has a strong, leggy body, and a short, dense, wiry coat that sheds a little and resembles a small Airedale. He is alert, courageous, curious, spirited, active, a bit sensitive, a great ratter, and not as snappy as most terriers. He is a good watchdog, a loyal protector, and a wonderful family pet. Because of his sensitive nature, puppy training should not be rushed or overbearing. Consistent and patient training method along with early socialization is important. An adult Irish Terrier is more confident and slightly stubborn, therefore requiring a firmer training attitude. He may be suspicious of strangers and may show aggression toward other dogs. He is good with children if he was raised with children from puppy hood. This breed is an outstanding performer in obedience competitions.

Size: The Irish Terrier stands 17-18in at the shoulder and weighs between 25-30lb.

History and origin: This ancient Irish breed was used as a ratter and hunter of small game. He also worked as a retriever on land and in water. During wartime, this breed was used as a messenger dog. Irish sources claimed that this breed was established in the country even before the arrival of their patron saint St. Patrick. Some say that the Irish Terrier is a smaller version of another one of their national dogs, the Irish Wolfhound, though the relationship seems somewhat remote. The breed is more likely a descendant of the Black and Tan Wire-haired Terriers whose purpose was to hunt fox and destroy vermin in Britain some 200 years ago. However, the standard breeding of the Irish Terriers did not start until 1879. It was also in that year when a specialist Breed Club was formed.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Irish Terrier is 1-1 ½ cans of high-quality meat product (13.3oz size) with biscuit added in equal amount or 3 cupfuls of a complete, dry food.

Exercise: The Irish Terrier is a small, sporty dog which has been successfully trained to the gun and is excellent at destroying vermin. He is suitable for apartment living as long as he gets his daily exercise in order to stay healthy and well behaved. A bored and restless Irish Terrier may bark and dig incessantly. Given his trim and athletic body, this is a good dog to jog with.

Grooming: The Irish Terrier requires only periodic brushing and an occasional clipping. However, show dogs must be hand-stripped several times a year and is best when done professionally. Hand stripping is a time-consuming hair-plucking procedure that preserves the texture and luster of the coat.

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