Irish Terrier

 

Irish Terriers are one of the oldest of the Terrier breeds; some say they have been in Ireland for at least 2,000 years. Or in the words of Mr. Ridgway of Waterford (one of the breed’s early proponents) they have been in Ireland “as long as that country has been an island.” Ancient manuscripts, housed in the Dublin Museum, attest to the existence of Irish Terriers for many centuries, although no images of them have been found prior to the 1700s. These dogs also lay claim to being the first of the Terrier Group to be recognized as a native breed of Ireland by the Kennel Club (KC).

 

Breed Information

Breed Basics

Country of Origin: 
Size: 
Medium 15-35 lb
LifeSpan: 
12 to 15 Years
Trainability: 
Moderate Effort Required
Energy Level: 
High Energy
Grooming: 
A Couple Times a Week
Professional Grooming May Be Required
Protective Ability: 
Good Watchdog
Hypoallergenic Breed: 
No
Space Requirements: 
Apartment Ok
Compatibility With Other Pets: 
Generally Good With Other Pets If Raised Together
May Have Issues With Other Dogs
Not Recommended For Homes With Small Animals
Litter Size: 
5-8 puppies
Names: 
Irish Red Terrier

Height/Weight

Males: 
25-27 lbs, about 18 inches
Females: 
23-25 lbs, about 18 inches

Kennel Clubs and Recognition

American Kennel Club: 
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): 
CKC(Canadian Kennel Club): 
FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale): 
KC (The Kennel Club): 
NZKC (New Zealand Kennel Club): 
UKC (United Kennel Club): 
History: 

 

Long before they entered dog show competition, Irish Terriers could be found spread far and wide throughout all of Ireland; this included Northern Ireland where many families or villages kept their own strain for generations. A number of the prominent breeders of the 1800s, such as Mr. George Jamison, Mr. E.F. Despard, Mr. William Graham, and Mr. Thomas Erwin (in addition to Irish Setters, for which he was most well known) had strains of Irish Terriers for decades, some even close to a half century, before starting the dog show circuit. County Wicklow on the east coast, south of Dublin, was known since the 1700s for its high quality strain of Terriers. Ballymena and the surrounding area, in what is Northern Ireland today, was reputed to produce most of the best bred specimens in the early dog show days, as well as boasting more dogs exhibited from their region than any other. County Cork in the southeastern part of the country was another area known for having a long history of Irish Terriers.

 

Irish Terriers probably descended from the rough, black and tan Terriers of Great Britain and were developed on Irish soil to suit the climate and geography. Not only were they great companions and guard dogs for their humans, but these hardy creatures were excellent ratters and hunters, both on land and in the water. William Graham quipped, regarding both their ancient origins and their skill in the water: “… the only reason they were not itemized in Noah’s list of the cargo of the Ark was that it was quite unnecessary to take a pair of Irish Terriers aboard. They could swim alongside so well.”

 

Dr. J.S. Niven wrote in The American Book of the Dog (ed. G.O. Shields, 1891) that before Irish Terriers became an official breed and show dog contestant, they were bred to be “…good hard workers…able to endure a great amount of fatigue and exposure to severe weather [because]…in olden days [they were used for] hunting the water-rat in the rivers, drawing badgers in the mountains, and killing rabbits…[and] also used as watch-dogs about the cotter houses of Ireland.” Irish cottiers were tenant farmers, and groups of such families lived in close proximity, each with their own “badly fenced” garden. They needed dogs to guard against goats or pigs wandering in from neighbors’ yards and to control the rats, all constant threats to their food supply and health. Even though they were companions to their families, the dogs had to stay outside at night to protect the home and garden. So while a “pig might be given a corner of the cabin” at night, the family dog needed to fend for itself after dark, sleeping wherever it could find a safe spot. Only the toughest and bravest survived. According to one breed historian, “Generations of this treatment developed them into the ‘pine knots’ they are.”

 

Some theories claim the breed is the result of crossing the Black and Tan Terrier with the Irish Wolfhound. The Irish Terrier is much smaller than the latter, but its wiry coat, racing outline, and head do bear a strong resemblance. Some breed historians suggest the Manchester Terrier was bred in to reduce the size. Mr. W.J. Cotton, early breed historian, was convinced they were crossed with Bull Terriers to improve their fighting prowess and that the disposition still resided in the Irish Terrier of the 1800s. In The American Book of the Dog (1891), Dr. Niven claimed that “the breed had become very much degenerated by the admixture of Scotch Terriers” which he wrote were imported to Ireland as ratters. The need for importing Scotch Terriers, however, seems questionable, considering the abundance of praise and detailed anecdotes of the Irish Terriers long standing prowess at ratting, in and out of the water.

 

One such story, published in The American Book of the Dog, was told by Mr. Aspinall who had purchased an Irish Terrier in Waterford and witnessed his dog “swim a mile in a fast and swollen stream which was thick with floating logs, and as he swam, turning from one and to the other after the rats that shot in and out.” Mr. George R. Krehl was a judge, breeder, exhibitor, expert on and major proponent of the Irish Terrier in the 1800s. He was also editor of the “Stock-Keeper Journal” and Vice President of the ITC in England in the late 1800s. He maintained that Irish Terriers were an original breed, not a “composite” or “mushroom breed”.

 

Even though Irish Terriers had been in Ireland for a long time, when they first began to be shown, there was a lack of uniformity of type. But due to the dedication of a few breeders and promoters of Irish Terriers, within a decade, from the 1870s to the 1880s, great strides were made. Three of the most prominent early breeders were Mr. George Jamison of Belfast (who by 1875 had won fifty-four prizes, more than any other breed exhibitor), Mr. George Krehl, and Dr. R. B. Carey, Secretary of the Irish Terrier Club for more than twenty-seven years. Mr. William Graham, also of Belfast, was an exhibitor who helped promote the Irish Terrier as a show dog to the extent that, in 1901, members of the Irish Terrier Club began offering a trophy in his honor. It was called the “William Graham Memorial Challenge Trophy” and was offered once a year in Ireland, as well as in Great Britain.

 

The first record of an Irish Terrier as a recognized breed in a dog show was in Dublin, Ireland in 1873; a female Irish Terrier named Daisy, owned by Mr. J. O’Connor, won a prize. In England, the first Irish Terriers were exhibited October, 1876, at Brighton. Mr. Jamison’s dogs, Banshee and Spuds, took first and second place. In 1874 at Newtownards Show a class for Irish rough terriers was held. “Fly,” a female owned by Mr. Morton, won first prize. Fly went on to become the first Irish Terrier to earn the title of Champion and enjoyed a successful dog show career.

 

In May of 1875, at the Lisburn dog show, an Irish Terrier named Stinger won, but Mr. George Krehl believed that Stinger was not of the right type and “full of Scotch Blood”, (the latter was anathema to the Irish breeders). Mr. Krehl felt that Mr. George Jamison’s Sport should have won, an opinion shared by many other breeders and later dog historians. An engraving of Jamison’s Sport appeared in the Live Stock Journal, in the August 20th, 1875 edition. Sport was considered to be the “real thing”—a true, well-bred, Irish Terrier. And yet, Sport was shown at numerous dog shows where he was, as Vero Kemball in 1881 in The Illustrated Book of the Dog wrote, “again and again…beaten by curs that had no right to be in the same show with him”.

 

Sport was listed in the 1876 KC Stud Book among the Irish Terriers who for the first time were named as completely distinct from any other breed. Prior to 1876, the Stud Book volumes do not show any special classes for the breed, grouping them with “wire-haired fox terriers”. 1876 marked the first time Irish Terriers had their own division, with nineteen entries.

 

By the latter part of the decade, those deeply involved in breeding and exhibiting Irish Terriers grew increasingly frustrated with the carelessness in screening entries and the whimsical judging. After a Dublin dog show in March, 1876, exhibitors and breeders were in a furor at the total lack of concern for type, pedigree, or age. The Irish Terrier who won first prize, Boxer, was listed with “breeder, owner, pedigree unknown”. Author Vero Shaw takes an ethnic swipe, writing “That is too deliciously Irish, his own breeder not knowing his pedigree”.

 

Even though by 1878 the Irish Terrier dog show world showed some improvement, consistency in judging and uniformity in the breed standard, it still had a ways to go. After a dog show in Newtownards in September of that year, a reporter wrote that it had become “a pleasure to look along the benches at recent shows. The eye has not the same chance it had in former years of being offended, the majority of the weeds having disappeared.” And, indeed, at that particular show Sporter (not to be confused with “Sport”), owned by Mr. William Graham at the time, won the champion cup for the best dog exhibited, which was well deserved. (Besides Mr. Graham, Sporter was owned at different times by Mr. George R. Krehl and Mr. Despard.). Sporter was considered one of the best of his breed and among his achievements were first place at Dublin, first and cup at Newtownards, and first at Londonderry in 1878. But as the year drew to a close, two December shows would bring the situation to a head for the movers and shakers in the Irish Terrier world.

 

In two different dog shows in December 1878, one in Birmingham, the other at Alexandra Place, fine breed specimens, two of whom were Moya Doolan and Spuds, were not even deemed noteworthy by judges, while inferior specimens won awards. Spuds, a cropped eared female owned by Mr. Jamison, later became a champion. Outraged, a group of Irish Terrier breeders submitted a petition to the Kennel Club, asking them to appoint special judges for their breed’s shows or, if that was not possible, use Wire Fox Terrier judges for their competitions.

 

The petition that was circulated at the end of 1878 generated enough momentum to get the first Irish Terrier Club (ITC) off the ground in early 1879, garnering fifty members in two weeks, half of whom were Englishmen. The club was founded in Dublin; the amended and draft rules were sent to the English Section of the Club and approved in London in April, 1879. The formation of the ITC marked the first of two events in 1879 that would make it a pivotal year for the Irish Terrier breed and its fanciers.

 

The other significant event that year was the entry of two particular Irish Terriers into the show ring. These two dogs would become known as the Mother and Father of the Irish Terrier breed. Both were acclaimed excellent breed specimens, winning numerous prizes in the ring. Ch. Erin and Ch. Killney Boy were first exhibited in 1879; the former at Alexandra Palace, the latter at Belfast. Mr. J. Pim, an Irish Terrier fancier, was the judge who awarded Ch. Killney Boy first place. Mr. W. Graham owned Ch. Erin, a female with cropped ears from County Antrim, whom he found in a hamper before a Dublin dog show. (She was later purchased by Mr. Pim, who also bought Ch. Spuds.). Erin was considered by Mr. Graham and Mr. C.J. Barnett, a prominent figure in Irish Terrier circles, to be the best specimen of an Irish Terrier ever. Killney Boy, also crop-eared, was owned by Mr. Waterhouse and bred by Mr. Burke of Dublin.

 

But it was actually their offspring that capped their reputations. These two Champion Irish Terriers were bred and their offspring produced a notable number of champions, which, in their first litter, included Play Boy, Pagan II, and Poppy (who was solid red). Poppy produced red puppies and it has been speculated that resulted in the decision to make red (varying in shade from wheaten to brick red) the only color of Irish Terriers. In the early days of the breed, their colors included black and tan, gray and brindle, and red. Whether or not she was the impetus, by the end of the 1800s, solid red  became the preferred color and black and tan had been bred out completely. Today the Irish Terrier is the only all red Terrier. Erin was mated with Killiney Boy again, a couple of years later, and produced Droleen (female, owned by Mr. E.A. Wiener). Droleen was mated with Michael (whose lineage traced back to Erin and Killiney Boy’s original litter). Droleen and Michael produced Brickbat, a male who won the ITC Challenge Cup twelve times undefeated, and thus won the Cup outright. It is believed that even today it would be hard to find an Irish Terrier without some blood of Ch. Erin or Ch. Killiney Boy in his or her lineage.

 

Irish Terriers had their ears cropped to a point when first shown at dog shows, including Killiney Boy and Erin, as noted earlier. The practice was common for two reasons; one was for organized dog fighting, the other was to supposedly improve the appearance of dogs whose ears may not have had the right show ring look.  The Irish Terrier Club had a formidable impact on not only Irish Terriers, but show dogs in general when they took up the controversial issue of ear cropping.

 

At their first general meeting held in 1880, the members discussed whether Irish Terriers’ ears should be cropped. The eventual result of this initial discussion was that the club became an early leader in the movement to ban ear cropping of all show dog breeds. In 1889, the ITC, which had already been public about its opposition to the practice, forwarded a resolution to the Kennel Club Committee regarding their decision to disallow Irish Terriers with cropped ears to enter the show ring. The KC Committee, at their meeting on October 1st of that same year, decided that “any Irish Terrier whelped after 31st December, 1889, if cropped, will not be eligible to compete at any Kennel Club Show.”

 

A survey of breeders by the KC in 1889 showed the majority of Great Dane, Bull Terrier, Toy Terrier, Black and Tan Terrier, and White English Terrier breeders were for ear cropping; only the Irish Terrier breeders had a majority who were opposed to it. But the questions had been raised and many KC members and associates were opposed to the practice. The debate over whether dogs of any breed should have their ears cropped or not had become a hot topic in KC circles.

 

In 1892 Dr. Carey, Secretary of the ITC, sent a letter to the KC Committee requesting the rule be extended to ban ear cropping in all breeds. Mr. C.J. Barnett attended the KC Committee meeting on March 8th to further the ITC’s case. The matter was discussed and the result was the Committee opted to wait and gather more opinions, and then give the issue further consideration. Questionnaires were sent to all the breed clubs of the KC; the results were different from those three years before. The Irish Kennel Association and the National Bull Terrier Club came out strongly in favor of the abolition of ear cropping, while the Great Dane Club and Black and Tan Terrier breeders wanted no restrictions regarding the practice. The Bull Terrier Club and the Ladies Kennel Association were for banning it; the White English Terrier Club initially submitted a petition to not restrict ear cropping, labeling those against it as “a few faddists”. However at a later meeting, they withdrew their petition because over half their membership wanted the practice banned.

 

Mr. Edgar Farman was given credit in the Kennel Club: a History and Record of its Work, by William Jacquet (1905) with pushing the subject into the public arena. He even wrote, as a Patron of the Kennel Club, to the Prince of Wales regarding the issue. He received a reply, written January 22, 1895, by Sir Francis Knollys on behalf of the Prince, stating emphatically his opposition to the practice of “mutilating” dogs’ ears and his desire that the cruel practice be abolished.

 

At the Annual General Meeting of 1895, held February 27th, KC Rule 22 was amended to include all show dogs under the KC’s auspices. It read as follows: “No dog born after 31st March, 1895, nor Irish Terrier born after 31st December, 1889, can, if cropped, win a prize at any Show held under Kennel Club Rules.” After the motion was seconded, a lively discussion ensued; Mr. Thorpe Hincks, along with others present, pushed for more stringent rules, but the motion was passed as it reads above. The ITC had been the major force in bringing about more humane treatment, not just for Irish Terriers, but for many other dog breeds, as well.

 

The efforts of Irish Terrier fanciers paid off as the breed steadily gained popularity in the late 1800s. By the 1880s, Irish Terriers were the fourth most popular dog breed in England. The 1893 edition of the Stud Book lists 220 Irish Terriers. According to the Earl of Suffolk, writing in 1897, the Irish Terrier was, at that time, second in popularity only to the Fox Terrier.

 

The first Irish Terriers were brought to the United States in the late 1800s, where they quickly gained a moderate level of popularity. Ch. Spuds was the first famous Irish Terrier imported to the United States; Kathleen, owned by James Watson, was the first Irish Terrier to be shown in the U.S. in 1880. She was imported to be bred with Mr. Graham’s Ch. Sporter. In 1881 Westminster held its first class for Irish Terriers. In 1885 the breed attained AKC recognition and by 1889 a good foundation stock existed in the U.S.

 

The parent club, The Irish Terrier Club of America (ITCA) was formed December 18th, 1896, by Samuel D. Parker, O.W. Donner, and H. White. These men opted to use the British breed standard already in existence. Their first meeting was held just before the Westminster Show, February 23rd, 1897. The club got off to a good start when the Irish Terrier Milton Droleen, owned by Mr. Oscar Donner, the ITCA’s first secretary, won her Championship title in 1898. Two years later a founding member of the ITCA, Mr. Marcus Bruckheimer who had bred and exhibited Irish Terriers for forty years, exhibited his American born Ch. Masterpiece in 1900 while still a puppy. One year later, Bruckheimer’s dog became a Champion. Masterpiece remained undefeated for two more years, until he was beaten in a New York show in 1903 by Celtic Badger, owned by Father O’Gorman of Canada.

 

In 1914 when Britain and America entered World War I, life changed for humans and canines. During war time, dog shows were temporarily suspended and dog breeding diminished as resources were scarce, and money and men went to the war effort. But Irish Terriers played an important role in British and American history, serving as combat messengers and sentinels. Their ability to take message through enemy lines and guard campsites earned them the nickname “Daredevils”. Lt. Col. E.H. Richardson of the British War Dog School wrote about their WWI service: “…the Irish Terriers of the service more than did their part. Many a soldier is alive today through the effort of one of these … They are highly sensitive, spirited dogs of fine metal…extraordinarily intelligent, faithful, and honest, and a man who has one of them as a companion will never lack a true friend.”

 

By 1929, Irish Terriers had achieved the AKC popularity ranking of thirteenth out of seventy-nine recognized breeds. In the 1930s Irish Terriers began competing in Obedience Competitions and have continued to do so, winning titles, ever since. In the U.S., Ch. No Retreat was the first of the breed to earn an Obedience title and the first to achieve the Companion Dog Excellent award (CDX), both in 1939. In 1949 Crashmore won Utility Dog (UD), another first for an American Irish Terrier. The first Irish Terrier Tracking title (TD) went to Ch. Greenbriar Fiddler in 1959.

 

By the 1990s, Agility became the fastest growing event in AKC competition; Irish Terriers began to compete in larger numbers, their intelligence, speed, and grace making them strong competitors. Braemoor’s Kylie Thunder won the first Master Agility Champion (MACH) title for Irish Terriers in 2006.

 

Although Irish Terriers have never become a common household breed in North America, they have had a few moments of notoriety. The famous American author Jack London used Irish Terriers as characters in two of his novels, Jerry of the Islands and Michael, Brother of Jerry. Although the books are works of fiction, the bloodlines recorded at the beginning of the stories suggest they may have been about particular real-life Irish Terriers. Former Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who served from 1935 to 1948, brought attention to the breed when he owned a succession of Irish Terriers, all of whom he named Pat. He was so devoted to them, especially the first Pat, that he held séances at which he believed he communicated with his deceased dogs. In 2007, the family film “Firehouse Dog” was released, starring an Irish Terrier playing the lead as “Rex”, a famous Hollywood dog who gets separated from his owner and ends up living at a fire station.
Irish Terriers today excel in a variety of roles. They serve as therapy dogs all over the world; their sensitivity, gentleness, and affection for people make them naturally adept at comforting the elderly, sick children, and terminally ill adults. Their size is an asset in this role, as well, since they are neither too big and intimidating, nor too small and fragile. Irish Terriers are also top performers in hunting, tracking, retrieving and enjoy participating in agility and obedience competitions. Irish Terriers are also used today in police and military work.

 

Even though Irish Terriers are on almost every continent in the world (Irish Terrier breeders are found in South Africa, North America, Northern Europe, and Australia), and the ITCA boasts over 400 members, the breed does not enjoy strong popularity. The Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Dog Breed list identifies breeds native to the United Kingdom and Ireland with 300 or fewer registrations a year; the Irish Terrier is among them, although their registration numbers have increased over the last eight years. In 2002, the KC had 198 registered Irish Terriers; in 2010 the number rose to 357. According to the AKC rankings for 2010, the Irish Terrier is listed 128th, out of 167 breeds, in terms of popularity.

 

Appearance: 

 

Irish Terriers have moderately long bodies (the females may be slightly longer than the males). They are active, lithe, and wiry and at the same time sturdy and substantial. Their overall look should be one of balance and symmetry. The outline of the Irish Terrier should reveal the grace and speed of the breed.

 

Working dogs, such as the Irish Terrier, have weight and height listings as guidelines, rather than rigid rules, for breeders and judges. Male Irish Terriers should weigh 27 pounds; females should weigh 25 pounds. Their height at the shoulder should be about 18 inches. In the show ring, however, weight is not as important as the conformation and general appearance of the dog. 

 

Irish Terriers have wiry, broken coats that lie close to their bodies. Their hair is so dense that when parted with fingers, the skin is barely visible. The coat hair should be short enough to reveal the dog’s outline, including the hindquarters. The hair on the sides of the dog’s body, while still of good texture, is less harsh than the hair on the back and quarters. Irish Terriers are double coated; their undercoats are finer and softer and lighter colored than their outer coats. Irish Terriers have solid colored coats, although a small amount of white on their chests is allowable. Coat colors may be bright red, golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten. (Puppies are often born with black hair, which will be gone by the time the dog is fully grown.)

 

Irish Terriers have long heads, proportionate to their bodies. Their flat skulls are narrow between the ears, and even more so as it tapers down toward the eyes. They have stops so slight as to be barely noticeable, except in profile. The forefaces of Irish Terriers are approximately equal in length to the distance from stop to occiput.  They have small "V" shaped ears of moderate thickness, that fall forward, close to the head and toward the outside corner of their eyes. The ears are set well on their heads, with the top of the ear fold above the line of the skull. The hair on their ears is shorter and darker than it is on their body. Their small, intense eyes are dark brown; their noses are black. Irish Terriers’ lips are almost black and fit tightly over strong, white teeth. They have strong and muscular jaws; hair on the upper and lower jaws is of the same quality and texture as the hair on their bodies. Irish Terrier should have just enough of a beard to give the face a strong, finished appearance.

 

Irish Terriers usually have a slight frill of hair on either side of their necks, which reaches almost to the corner of the ears. The neck widens gradually into long shoulders, which slope well into straight backs. Their ribs are deep, not round, and reach as far down as the elbows. They have muscular, deep chests that are neither full nor wide.

 

The loins and hindquarters are also muscular, with the loins slightly arched. Their hocks are near the ground and the stifles are moderately bent.  They have long, straight legs that, when in motion, move straight forward. The hair on their legs is the same texture as the hair on their bodies. They have round, smallish feet with arched toes, deep pads, and dark toenails. Irish Terriers’ tails are set high and are covered with a generous amount of harsh, rough fur. Their tails do not curl; if the tail is docked it is to remove one quarter of the natural length. (Note: Tail docking is illegal in most of Europe.)

 

Temperament: 

 

Irish Terriers were bred to be family pets and guard dogs, and still excel at both. They are good natured and playful, but retain the ferocious courage expected of a Terrier breed. Irish Terriers are affectionate, loyal, and devoted companions to their people. They enjoy playing with children, but plat with young children should be supervised (as it should be with any dog of any breed). Always ready to guard their own, Irish Terriers make great watch dogs for your family. This trait also means they need to be socialized early with plenty of visitors, so that they do not become too territorial around “outsiders”.

 

Irish Terriers are renowned for their hunting ability as well. Because they retain this instinct, they cannot be trusted with non-canine pets in your household. If outside of an enclosed area, Irish Terriers should be kept leashed as they will "hunt game", that is, chase moving objects and small animals. They do not get along with dogs of the same sex and may get into a fight with little provocation. Socialize your Irish Terrier well with other dogs, beginning when your pet is a puppy; it will require a commitment to monitor your dog, teaching him or her not to dominate or fight other canines.

 

A novice or unenthusiastic dog owner should not choose an Irish Terrier because training them takes commitment and strong leadership. Without a dominant owner and consistent, firm boundaries, your Irish Terrier will take charge. Starting as a puppy you need to set limits and enforce rules in a consistent, stern (never punishing), and calm manner.

 

Irish Terriers are intelligent and can learn new tasks quickly, but they are independent and strong willed. And despite the fact that they are loyal and devoted, they possess less of the need to please than many other dog breeds. This means that you will need to keep your pet motivated to learn by using training rewards such as toys and food and by training in short increments to keep your dog from becoming bored. This breed can be difficult to housebreak.

 

Hardy and adaptable, Irish Terriers can live in the country, suburbs, or an apartment, but they do require vigorous daily exercise.  They love to dig and to explore, so a fenced yard is a great, safe area for them to play. The fence, however, should be tall enough (at least five feet) so they cannot jump over it and below ground level so they do not dig out. Irish Terriers love to work hard and therefore need of a lot of physical and mental activity. In addition to a long, brisk daily walk, they need play time, preferably with their people (such as catching and retrieving); this provides not only exercise, but the needed physical and mental activity, as well as interaction with their family, which they love. When you do walk your dog, always keep him beside or behind you, because whoever is leading, at least in the Irish Terrier’s mind, is the one in charge. Given enough daily exercise, Irish Terriers are well-behaved and quite calm indoors.

 

Grooming Requirements: 

 

Irish Terriers require a moderate amount of grooming care. They are low shedding dogs and brushing your dog regularly with a bristle brush and removing dead hairs with a fine tooth comb will reduce shedding even more, as well as maintain a healthy, attractive coat. Bathe only as needed, otherwise, too much bathing allows the soap to reduce the skin’s natural oils. Normal periodic trimming of nails and checking of teeth is required to keep your Irish Terrier healthy. Their coats should be professionally hand stripped twice a year; if your Irish Terrier is a show dog, more extensive grooming will be required. The coat hair should not be cut; doing so will diminish the color, soften the texture, and reduce the weather-resistant quality.

 

Health Issues: 

 

Irish Terriers are a healthy breed, not prone to suffering any genetic disorders. Their lifespan is approximately twelve to fifteen years. A rarely occurring recessive gene does occasionally cause hyperkeratosis, which causes cracked pads; this condition can be painful and disabling for the dog. The gene cannot be isolated by studying pedigrees, because of its rarity.

 

In France a genetic research program has started to eliminate this condition altogether in all dog breeds. A CNRS-University at Rennes research group and the UK Kennel Club’s approved genetics laboratory are working with Irish Terrier breeders in certain European countries. The research project requires a large DNA database of samples from healthy and hyperkeratosis affected Irish Terriers. Susan Seabridge, the Overseas Secretary for the Irish Terrier Association, is coordinating the effort to garner information and participation from both owners and breeders. Participants are currently being sought; all information is strictly confidential.

 

The following conditions have been found to occur in Irish Terriers at a higher than average frequency:

 

 

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