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A golden red, wiry haired dog, with little ears that flop down into a v shape, sits happily in a field of long grass and daisies.

Irish Terrier

1 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Irish Terriers: what are they?

  • The Irish Terrier is a lively and spirited breed that hails from Ireland.
  • Known for their distinctive red coat, they were originally bred for hunting and ratting purposes.
  • Irish Terriers were once called the "Daredevil" of the canine world due to their fearless nature and energetic temperament.
  • They are medium-sized dogs with a strong and sturdy build.
  • The average height for males is around 46-48 cm, while females are slightly smaller at 43-46 cm.
  • In terms of weight, they usually range between 11 and 12.5 kg.
  • With proper care and a healthy lifestyle, Irish Terriers typically live for about 12 to 15 years.
Irish Terrier  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Irish Terriers like?

  • Irish Terriers are known for their bold and spirited personalities.
  • They are confident, intelligent, and independent dogs.
  • They are very loyal and make great companions for individuals and families alike.
  • While they can be friendly and sociable, they can also be reserved with strangers, making them good watchdogs.
  • Early socialisation is important to ensure they are comfortable around other animals and new people.
  • They have a strong prey drive and may not get along well with small pets.
  • However, with proper training and socialisation from an early age, it is possible for some of them to learn to coexist peacefully.
Bono, the Irish Terrier

How much exercise do Irish Terriers need?

  • Irish Terriers are an active breed that requires a significant amount of exercise.
  • They thrive with regular physical activity and mental stimulation.
  • Ideally, they should be provided with at least 1 to 1.5 hours of exercise per day.
  • This can include brisk walks, jogging, interactive play sessions, and even agility training.
  • Engaging their minds through puzzle toys and obedience training is also beneficial.
  • For Irish Terrier puppies, exercise needs should be adjusted based on their age and development.
  • It is important to avoid excessive exercise during their growth stages to prevent potential joint and bone issues.
  • Puppies should have controlled play and short walks, gradually increasing the duration as they mature.
  • Around the age of 12 to 18 months, they can handle the exercise levels of adult Irish Terriers.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise requirements of your pooch.
Laika, the Irish Terrier

Do Irish Terriers need a lot of grooming?

  • Irish Terriers have a wiry and dense coat that requires regular maintenance.
  • While they do not shed heavily, their coat needs to be hand-stripped or professionally groomed every few months to maintain its texture and appearance.
  • Hand-stripping involves removing the dead outer hairs by plucking them out. This process helps promote new hair growth and keeps the coat in good condition.
  • In between grooming sessions, regular brushing once or twice a week is recommended to prevent matting and remove loose hairs.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Miki, the Irish Terrier

Are Irish Terriers easy to train?

  • Irish Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them trainable.
  • However, they can also be independent and stubborn at times.
  • Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patient training methods work best with this breed.
  • Early socialisation is essential to help them become well-rounded and adaptable dogs.
  • Start their training as early as possible and focus on basic obedience commands, lead training, and proper social interactions.
  • Engaging their minds through puzzle toys and interactive games can also help keep them mentally stimulated.
Tudor, the Irish Terrier

What do Irish Terriers eat?

  • A balanced and high-quality diet is important for the health and well-being of Irish Terriers.
  • Puppies should be fed a specially formulated puppy food that meets their nutritional needs for growth and development. Consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog nutritionist to determine the appropriate feeding schedule and portion sizes for your Irish Terrier puppy. Most pups should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, then twice daily.
  • As they transition into adulthood, around 12 months, Irish Terriers should be transitioned on to a good quality adult dog food that is appropriate for their size, age, and activity level.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust the portions as Irish Terriers can be prone to weight gain.

Are Irish Terriers healthy?

Irish Terriers are generally a healthy breed, but like any dog, they can be prone to certain health issues. It's important to be aware of these potential concerns and to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to catch any issues early. Some health conditions that may be seen in Irish Terriers include:

Bones and Joints

  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Hyperkeratosis - production of extra keratin leading to thickening of skin mostly on the foot pads and nose


  • Bladder Stones - Stones form in the bladder which can be uncomfortable and cause a blockage

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Irish Terrier or if you want to discuss further if an Irish Terrier is the right breed for you, consult with your veterinarian.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Irish Terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 514 Irish Terriers members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

Terrier Dog Breed Guides

Airedale Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Irish Terrier

Lakeland Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Patterdale Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

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